Christian Solidarity International urges United Nations to end economic sanctions currently impacting more than 800 million people

Christian Solidarity International (CSI), a Christian human rights organization, has called on United Nations (UN) member states to stop the use of economic sanctions that harm civilian populations. CSI’s Joel Veldkamp addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 15. Veldkamp pointed out that the use of economic sanctions, sometimes called “unilateral coercive measures,” was increasing in spite of a decade-old resolution by the Council expressing its “alarm” at the “indiscriminate human costs of unilateral sanctions” and calling upon “all States to stop adopting, maintaining or implementing unilateral coercive measures not in accordance with international law.”

“Sadly, the Council’s words were not heeded,” Veldkamp said. “Today, more than 800 million people live in countries under sanctions, around 10 percent of the world population. We urge all member states to discontinue the use of any unilateral coercive measures which cause suffering to the civilian populations of targeted states.” 

Veldkamp noted that unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria by the United States and its allies are having a devastating effect on the civilian population, where 90 percent are now living below the poverty line.

From 2018 on, economic sanctions against Syria have been increased, even as violence has subsided. 

“As a result, the humanitarian situation in Syria today is worse than at any time since the beginning of the conflict,” said Veldkamp. “Many ordinary people fondly recall the so-called war years, because at least back then they had enough food to eat.”

CSI also expressed support for the work of Professor Alena Douhan, the UN’s special rapporteur for unilateral coercive measures, and urged all states to fully cooperate with her office. The United States has not responded to a formal communication from the special rapporteur for over six years.