Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Explanation of Vote: United Nations General Assembly: before the vote on an amendment to OP20 (sanctions) of the COVID-19 Omnibus Resolution

New York, 12/09/2020 - 03:28, UNIQUE ID: 200911_17
Statements on behalf of the EU

11 September 2020, New York – Explanation of Vote delivered by Germany on behalf of the European Union and its Member States at the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly before the vote on an amendment to OP20 (sanctions) of the resolution “Comprehensive and coordinated response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic”

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

We will abstain on this amendment for the reasons we explained repeatedly during the negotiations. We have shown extreme flexibility throughout negotiation and were ready to accept various texts proposed by the Coordinators, as well as the one submitted by the President of the General Assembly.

However, we cannot go further and support this amendment in the context of the Omnibus resolution on Covid-19.

Allow me to stress that, in the EU, sanctions are used as part of a comprehensive policy aimed at influencing political and security developments in third countries, such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or repressive policies against the civilian populations, as well as more global issues, such as the fight against terrorism, the proliferation of chemical weapons or the threat of cyber-attacks. EU measures must be in accordance with all obligations under international law, in particular respect for international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law.

EU Sanctions are targeted, aimed at those responsible for the policies or actions, while avoiding as much as possible any adverse humanitarian effects or unintended consequences for persons not targeted, in particular on the civilian population, or on neighbouring countries. This targeted approach is not only a matter of effectiveness, but also reflects key principles guiding the EU in the use of sanctions, in particular compliance with international law and human rights, and proportionality.

In principle, when sanctions include export restrictions, such prohibitions do not cover the export of food, medicines or medical equipment. Moreover, EU sanctions include a system of exceptions. This exception system applies also in the context of a crisis like the current one caused by COVID-19.

Moreover, the EU continues to follow closely the matter and is always open to listen to observations of experts on the ground, also with regard to any need for mitigating measures.

The EU and its Member States are and will continue to be engaged with partners. We issued guidance, organized events and commissioned studies to ensure that sanctions and counter-terrorism measures do not limit the humanitarian space and to ensure people-centered solutions.

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