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China and other UN countries call for sanctions lift to tackle virus

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

China and 25 other nations countries have called for the immediate lifting of sanctions by the US and Western countries to ensure an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic.

China and 25 other nations countries have called for the immediate lifting of sanctions by the US and Western countries to ensure an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on behalf of the 26 countries at a meeting of the UN General Assembly's human rights committee today, China's UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said "unilateral coercive measures" violate the UN Charter, multilateralism, and impede human rights by hindering "the well-being of the population in the affected countries" and undermining the right to health.

LIVE UPDATES: All the latest on coronavirus across Australia and the world

"Global solidarity and international cooperation are the most powerful weapons in fighting and overcoming COVID-19," the joint statement said.

"We seize this opportunity to call for the complete and immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures, in order to ensure the full, effective and efficient response of all members of the international community to COVID-19."

Among the countries that backed the statement were half a dozen that face sanctions by the US, European Union or other Western nations including Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Syria and Venezuela.

READ MORE: Trump says world leaders must hold China accountable for coronavirus

The statement notes both UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet have called for the waiving of sanctions that undermine a country's capacity to respond to the pandemic.

There was no immediate response to an email seeking comment from the US Mission to the United Nations.

Germany's UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen addressed the sanctions issue at a Security Council meeting on Syria in May saying EU sanctions "do not affect the delivery of humanitarian aid or medical goods to limit the effects of COVID-19," citing specific EU guidance on ensuring aid gets to the Syrian people.

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The 26 countries also took aim at "chronic and deep-rooted racial discrimination, police brutality and social inequality."

They cited the shooting by police of two Black Americans, George Floyd who died at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis in May, and Jacob Blake, shot by a white police officer in August and left paralysed from the waist down.

"The COVID-19 mortality rate of minorities, in particular people of African descent, is disproportionately high in some countries," their statement said.

You can get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel.

Beyond Blue's Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all Australians. Visit the site here or call 1800512348

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Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-united-nations-countries-call-for-lift-on-us-western-sanctions/dfbaa231-7516-46da-a4a5-a4c306b7e1f0

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