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UN expert: US sanctions against Syria hinder the restoration of civilian infrastructure

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UN Independent Human Rights Defender Elena Dovgan called on the United States to lift unilateral sanctions against Syria. In her opinion, the sanctions may prevent the restoration of civilian infrastructure destroyed during the conflict.

UN expert: US sanctions against Syria hinder the restoration of civilian infrastructure

“The sanctions are a violation of the rights of the Syrian people, whose country has been devastated by 10 years of conflict,” said Dovgan, UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

She stressed that the protracted armed conflict had an extremely negative impact on the situation of the Syrians. Many homes, hospitals and schools have been damaged or destroyed, depriving Syrians of basic rights such as the right to decent housing, the right to health care, and the right to education.

The sanctions, which came into force in June this year, cover all foreign persons who help in the reconstruction of the country after the conflict, including employees of humanitarian organizations. "Caesar's Law", notes Elena Dovgan, is the most extensive package of sanctions ever imposed against Syria.

“I am concerned that the sanctions established under the“ Caesar's Law ”could aggravate the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria, especially now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dovgan said.

The Special Rapporteur recalled: when the US authorities first announced the new sanctions, they said they did not want to harm the Syrian civilian population. However, Dovgan stressed, the sanctions will inevitably harm him, since they will prevent the restoration of basic civil infrastructure.

“Restricting access to materials needed to repair infrastructure damaged by the conflict will negatively affect the rights of Syrians,” the expert says.

She added that the unhindered import of the necessary humanitarian aid and construction materials will allow starting to rebuild the infrastructure, which means that many IDPs will be able to return home.

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