Coronavirus: UN Calls for Lifting Sanctions, Tokyo Postpones Olympics

  • “It is vital to avoid the collapse of any country’s medical system – given the explosive impact that will have on death, suffering and wider contagion,” Bachelet said.
  • Apart from China and Italy, the countries most affected by the COVID-19 epidemic are Spain, Iran, France, and the United States.
  • Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach decided Tuesday to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for one year.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday called for a “relaxation or suspension” of international sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and other countries facing the coronavirus pandemic. Michelle Bachelet called it a “crucial time,” marked by the COVID-pandemic. 

Michelle Bachelet (born 29 September 1951) is a Chilean politician who served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018, the first woman to occupy the position. After leaving the presidency in 2010 and while not immediately reelectable, she was appointed the first executive director of the newly created United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

“It is vital to avoid the collapse of any country’s medical system – given the explosive impact that will have on death, suffering and wider contagion,” Bachelet said. “At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions should be eased or suspended. In a context of global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us.”

“Humanitarian exemptions to sanctions measures should be given broad and practical effect, with prompt, flexible authorization for essential medical equipment and supplies,” Bachelet added in the statement. Bachelet especially mentioned the situation in Iran, one of the countries most affected by the new coronavirus, along with China, Italy and Spain.

To date, more than 50 Iranian medical staff have lost their lives since the first cases of infection with the new coronavirus in Iran, five weeks ago. The UN representative was concerned about the possibility of spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus from Iran to neighboring countries, which would put the health systems of countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan in great danger.

Apart from China and Italy, the countries most affected by the COVID-19 epidemic are Spain (2,800 deaths and 39,676 cases of infection), Iran (1,934 deaths and 24,811 cases of infection), France (1,100 deaths and 22,304 cases of infection ) and the USA (667 deaths and 51,768 cases of infection).

 Tokyo Olympics Postponed

The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, and commonly known as Tokyo 2020, are an upcoming international multi-sport event to be held in 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympics were originally scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020, with preliminary events beginning on 22 July.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach decided Tuesday to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for one year. The Olympics were scheduled to begin on July 24. Abe’s Tuesday proposal for a one-year postponement to IOC leadership, including President Bach has quickly been accepted. The Games would now be held about one year after the previously scheduled start date.

“I have made a proposal of about a year,” Abe said. “President Bach said he agreed 100 percent, and we agreed to hold the Olympics by summer 2021.” Abe said he and Bach agreed “to cooperate in order to hold the Olympics in the complete form, as a testament to victory over the infection.”

In a joint statement, the IOC and Japan’s Olympic organizing committee said they made the decision “to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.” Athletes and national olympic committees across the world had been calling for the Olympics to be postponed, saying the lack of a decision forced them to continue training at risk to their physical and mental well-being.

The Olympics will still be held in Japan, and they still will be labeled Tokyo 2020, despite the fact that they will take place in 2021. “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the statement said.
On Monday, Abe stressed the impossibility of the Olympic competitions taking place in the current situation. By Tuesday morning, it was announced that the issue would be looked into by the head of the Japanese government with the president of the IOC.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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