Plaque bearing the United Nations above the podium of the General Assembly Hall (File Photo: Ryan Brown/UN Photo/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Geneva, Aug 8 : A group of UN experts have called for the lifting of all unilateral sanctions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so that people in countries under sanctions can protect themselves against the deadly virus.

"Sanctions should be lifted, or at a minimum eased, so people can get basics like soap and disinfectants to stay healthy, and so that hospitals can get ventilators and other equipment to keep people alive," Xinhua news agency quoted the experts as saying in a joint statement on Friday.

"Sanctions that were imposed in the name of delivering human rights are in fact killing people and depriving them of fundamental rights, including the rights to health, to food and to life itself," they added.

Alena Douhan, a UN Special Rapporteur, said that sanctions were adding to the suffering in countries like Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

The experts also welcomed efforts by many states, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to try to help sanctioned countries fight COVID-19.

"We particularly welcome the willingness of the European Union, the UK, Switzerland, Russia, China, the US and other donors to ship much needed medical supplies," they said in the statement.

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