TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club(YJC)_Jan Egeland, a former UN aid chief who now heads the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), said that despite sanctions exemptions for medical and food supplies, aid groups still face hurdles to help vulnerable people during the health crisis.
"My main message is that the abject poverty and hunger tsunami that comes in the wake of the pandemic is in many poor places going to be worse I think, I fear, than the virus may be," Egeland told a virtual news briefing in Geneva.
After battering China, Western Europe and the United States, infections and deaths from COVID-19 are now rising in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and some Asian countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
"What we are asking for is the lifting of economic sanctions on entire peoples, nations really," Egeland said, in reference to the largely US- and European Union-led punitive sanctions generally aimed at squeezing trade or freezing assets.
"I am not talking about targeted sanctions against elites, or leaders or military sanctions, or sanctions on atomic energy or whatever," he added.
"Sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, Syria and elsewhere … is undeniably making it more difficult for us to work, to serve ordinary people in this age of the coronavirus."