The first UN rapporte
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Former UN special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in "economic warfare" against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas is an American lawyer, writer, historian, expert in the field of human rights and international law and retired high-ranking United Nations official. Since 2012, he has been the UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order. Education: Harvard Law School.
Mr. De Zayas's findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government minsters, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.
The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13692 declaring the country a threat to national security.
The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup.
"Sanctions kill," De Zayas told The Independent, adding that they fall most heavily on the poorest people in society, demonstrably cause death through food and medicine shortages,
On his fact-finding mission to the country in late 2017, he found internal overdependence on oil, poor governance and corruption had hit the Venezuelan economy hard, but said "economic warfare" practiced by the US, EU and Canada are significant factors in the economic crisis.
Crimes Against Humanity
In the report, Mr de Zayas recommended, among other actions, that the International Criminal Court investigate economic sanctions against Venezuela as possible crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute.
The US sanctions are illegal under international law because they were not endorsed by the UN Security Council, Mr de Zayas, an expert on international law and a former senior lawyer with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.
"Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns.
The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas's allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.
United Nations 3 August 2018
Human Rights Council
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