Democratic rights

Application for delay in Assange extradition hearing as COVID-19 sweeps through UK prisons

By Alice Summers, 27 April 2020

The vindictive suspension of the COVID-19 prisoner release programme demonstrates the criminal disregard of the British ruling class for the lives of prisoners.

Sri Lankan president says military to impose “discipline” when lockdown ends

By K. Ratnayake, 25 April 2020

Rajapakse’s threats have nothing to do with enforcing “social distancing” and the spread of COVID-19 but are in preparation to suppress mass unrest in the working class.

Hong Kong arrests prominent pan-democrat activists

By Ben McGrath, 25 April 2020

Washington is attempting to exploit the arrests to further whip up tensions with Beijing and paint China as a threat.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro escalates coup threats as ruling class pushes “back-to-work” orders

By Miguel Andrade, 22 April 2020

As COVID-19 spread uncontrolled across the country, Bolsonaro delivered a fascist rant in front of hundreds of supporters gathered at Brazil’s Army headquarters.

Trump threatens to adjourn Congress

By Tom Carter, 21 April 2020

As strikes and walkouts break out with increasing frequency, the political establishments around the world stumble further and further to the right.

Australian journalist still faces prosecution despite illegal police raid

By Mike Head, 21 April 2020

The High Court ruled the raid’s search warrant “invalid” but allowed the federal police to keep the seized material for use to lay criminal charges.

Australian governments refuse to assist international students amid pandemic

By John Harris, 20 April 2020

Thousands of international students are on the precipice of homelessness and abject poverty after state and federal governments refused to provide them with any assistance.

Intensive CIA spying on Assange targeted his infant child

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 April 2020

As the US government finalised its bogus charges against Assange, it oversaw dirty tricks operations targeting his partner and their infant child.

TNA offers a “democratic” veneer to Sri Lankan president’s coronavirus emergency powers

By S. Jayanth, 17 April 2020

The Tamil National Alliance is providing political cover for Rajapakse’s rapid moves towards a presidential dictatorship.

“Production costs do not equal the cost of a human life”

Outrage grows as Amazon workers die for Bezos’ profits

By Nick Barrickman, 16 April 2020

Workers across the US denounced Bezos’ fortune and the company’s unsafe practices, which are leading to increasing sickness and death in its facilities.

Julian Assange’s partner Stella Morris speaks out: “His life is on the brink”

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 April 2020

Morris’s comments are a moving refutation of the media smears directed against Assange and underscore the urgency of the fight for his immediate freedom.

Grand jury records in notorious 1946 US lynching case to remain sealed

By Fred Mazelis, 10 April 2020

The heinous crime near the Moore’s Ford Bridge in Georgia sparked wide outrage which contributed to the emergence of the civil rights movement.

Vindictive court rulings prove British state wants Assange dead

By Thomas Scripps, 8 April 2020

Judge Vanessa Baraitser has decreed that Assange will remain behind bars and that his extradition show-trial will proceed in May, even as the coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly in British prisons.

As it releases thousands of prisoners, UK government keeps Julian Assange locked-up in danger

By Thomas Scripps, 6 April 2020

The WikiLeaks founder is currently held on remand pending extradition to the US, not charged with any crime or serving any sentence, in Belmarsh maximum security prison.

Julian Assange still held on remand as coronavirus spreads through UK prisons

By Thomas Scripps, 3 April 2020

The WikiLeaks founder, held in Belmarsh prison and facing extradition to the US for exposing war crimes, has a chronic lung condition and has had his health destroyed by a decade of mistreatment by the British state

Germany marked an increase in violent attacks on refugees in 2019

By Isabel Roy, 3 April 2020

The Left Party has been instrumental, along with the country’s other political parties, in creating a hostile climate and the corresponding explosion of violence against refugees and immigrants.

Why is the World Socialist Web Site banned from the subreddit r/coronavirus?

By Kevin Reed, 3 April 2020

The subreddit r/coronavirus has banned content from the World Socialist Web Site from being shared among its 1.8 million reader-members. We are demanding that the moderators explain why this decision has been made and immediately reverse this act of political censorship.

Peruvian president authorizes military to use lethal force to enforce the national quarantine

By Cesar Uco and Don Knowland, 1 April 2020

A new law shows that Peru’s ruling oligarchy, in anticipation of widespread unrest, is preparing the army to carry out repression with absolute impunity.

Unprecedented police and military powers implemented in Australian pandemic response

By Mike Head, 1 April 2020

Lockdown measures that have become necessary to try to contain the coronavirus are being enforced in the most heavy-handed manner.

The significance of Hungarian Prime Minister Orban’s enabling act

By Peter Schwarz, 1 April 2020

Hungary’s parliament passed an emergency law on Monday that grants Orban unrestricted dictatorial powers.

Ohio, Texas and Mississippi ban abortion under guise of fighting coronavirus

By Isaac Finn, 28 March 2020

Over the last two weeks Ohio, Texas and Mississippi have effectively banned abortion, claiming that personal protective equipment is needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Julian Assange’s bail request denied despite coronavirus risk

By Thomas Scripps, 26 March 2020

Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s refusal came amid mounting calls for the release of vulnerable, low-risk prisoners from the UK’s overcrowded and woefully unprepared prison systems during the coronavirus crisis.

Johnson’s “herd immunity” strategy and the London Conference on Intelligence whitewash: Britain’s ruling class and eugenics

By Thomas Scripps, 26 March 2020

Innumerable posts on social media have drawn the connection between the reactionary ideology of eugenics and the British government’s criminally delayed and negligent response to the pandemic.

Attorney general requests suspension of habeas corpus

Military, Trump administration ready plans for domestic crackdown as virus spreads across US

By Eric London, 24 March 2020

The Justice Department has asked Congress to suspend habeas corpus and due process, even as the military develops plans to deploy troops on US soil to suppress “riots” and “civil disobedience.”

German government prepares for internet censorship and deployment of the armed forces

By Ulrich Rippert, 23 March 2020

The social democratic state premier of Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius, has called for a clamp-down against those contradicting official government propaganda about the coronavirus epidemic.

UK: Johnson government uses coronavirus crisis to seize dictatorial powers

By Robert Stevens, 20 March 2020

Britain’s ruling elite is using the enormous danger to public health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to implement a raft of anti-democratic measures they have long planned to impose.

Syriza leader Tsipras offers collaboration with New Democracy against refugees and Turkey

By John Vassilopoulos and Chris Marsden, 20 March 2020

Tsipras is signing off on a policy of brutal repression of refugees waged jointly by the government, fascist thugs who have benefited most from the stoking up of chauvinism and xenophobia, and the European Union.

Qantas spearheads mass layoffs in Australia as pandemic worsens

By Mike Head, 20 March 2020

The federal and state governments are handing billions of dollars to the banks and corporate elite as they unleash massive job losses.

Australian government continues to imprison Tamil refugee family

By Max Newman, 20 March 2020

Despite legal challenges and widespread opposition, the government remains determined to deport the family to Sri Lanka.

Life for immigrants in the US during COVID-19 pandemic

ICE raids continue, asylum seekers turned away, and detention facilities remain potential hotbeds for coronavirus

By Genevieve Leigh, 19 March 2020

“We do not have access to hand sanitizer or masks, or anything else that could protect as we are all stuck together in close quarters.”

As coronavirus pandemic grows, anger rises against German companies

By Marianne Arens, 19 March 2020

While the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced that the health risk posed by COVID-19 is “high”, VW announced its production lines would operate until Friday.

Hungarian government uses coronavirus epidemic to promote racism

By Markus Salzmann, 19 March 2020

As throughout Europe, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Hungary.

Australian doctors condemn government response to COVID-19 “disaster”

By Mike Head, 19 March 2020

Letters, signed by thousands of doctors, warn that a catastrophe “worse” than Italy’s can only be averted by a lockdown and the urgent pouring of resources into hospitals.

Doctors condemn Australian government’s refusal to defend Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 March 2020

Doctors4Assange has restated its demand that the Australian government immediately fulfil its obligations to Assange, under conditions in which his life is imperilled by the coronavirus pandemic.

University of Michigan terminates provost amid unspecified sexual misconduct allegations

By James Brookfield, 18 March 2020

Statements from the university and reports in the press amalgamated Martin Philbert’s case with that of a university physician alleged to have committed multiple acts of sexual assault against athletes over the course of decades at UM.

Australian government to use “foreign interference” laws against China-linked targets

By Mike Head, 18 March 2020

Under US pressure, the Morrison government is making Chinese people the initial victims of the legislation, to help create the conditions to more broadly outlaw anti-war and anti-government political activity.

UK: NHS anticipates year-long coronavirus crisis and 8 million hospitalised

By Thomas Scripps, 17 March 2020

The UK, along with much of the rest of the world, faces a prolonged social emergency which will affect the lives of millions.

Fund drive to pay Chelsea Manning’s court fines raises $267,000 in two days

By Kevin Reed, 16 March 2020

Within two days of Manning’s release from jail, a GoFundMe campaign organized by her supporters raised more than enough to pay the punitive fines imposed on her for refusing to testify against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Chelsea Manning released from jail after grand jury is dismissed by US federal court

By Kevin Reed, 13 March 2020

Manning, who had been in prison for a year for refusing to testify before a secret grand jury empaneled as part of the conspiracy against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, was released following her attempted suicide on Wednesday.

French female lawyers publish open letter defending filmmaker Roman Polanski and the presumption of innocence

By Will Morrow, 13 March 2020

In its defense of democratic rights, the letter is an indictment not only of the anti-Polanski witch-hunt, but the entire #MeToo campaign that began in the US two years ago.

Italy’s coronavirus epidemic surges as mass layoffs announced

By Allison Smith, 12 March 2020

Not a single European Union country has responded to Italy’s appeal for desperately-needed emergency medical supplies.

Riot police fire “pepper balls” at University of Dayton students ordered to evacuate campus housing within 24 hours

By Genevieve Leigh, 12 March 2020

Students have taken to social media to voice their outrage over the police crackdown after the university ordered an evacuation of student housing due to the coronavirus.

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison: “Obscene” culmination to a travesty of a trial

By David Walsh, 12 March 2020

Judge Burke handed out nearly the maximum possible sentence. Weinstein was found guilty February 24 on charges of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree.

House Democrats work overtime to renew US government surveillance law

By Kevin Reed, 12 March 2020

Leading Democrats forced a bipartisan bill onto the House floor that approves the continued spying on US citizens in violation of fundamental democratic rights.

International Bar Association condemns British attacks on Assange’s legal rights

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 March 2020

Michael Kirby, the co-chair of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute, branded Assange’s treatment as “shocking and excessive” and likened it to the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib.

As oil prices plunge and coronavirus spreads, Russian oligarchy seeks to keep Putin in power indefinitely

By Clara Weiss, 12 March 2020

The Russian ruling class is trying to prepare for massive social and political unrest.

Trump’s coronavirus address: Ignorance, xenophobia and helplessness

By James Cogan and Andre Damon, 12 March 2020

In remarks consisting largely of self-praise, Trump proposed no measures that would slow the spread of the disease and mitigate its effects.

Julian Assange’s mother, doctors warn he is at heightened risk due to coronavirus

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 March 2020

In comments to the WSWS, Dr Stephen Frost warned that “the UK government is effectively playing Russian roulette with Julian Assange’s life” and demanded that he be released from Belmarsh Prison immediately.

Australian government moves to boost data-swapping with US spy network

By Mike Head, 9 March 2020

These developments underscore the fear in ruling circles that working people worldwide use encrypted messages to discuss and organise free of government eaves-dropping.

Greek police shoot at refugees using live ammunition

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 9 March 2020

More than 10,000 people are trapped in the Greek-Turkey border area, unable to move backward or forward.

Spain’s PSOE-Podemos government sends police to Greece to attack migrants

By Alejandro López, 9 March 2020

The pseudo-left is complicit in the dispatching of police to Greece, where far right thugs are attacking refugees with the complicity of the government.

#MeToo campaign shows its ultra-right colors: Hachette Book Group suppresses Woody Allen’s memoir

By David Walsh, 9 March 2020

Hachette announced Friday it would not publish filmmaker-comic Woody Allen’s memoir at the behest of journalist Ronan Farrow and in the face of protests by its own employees.

German government incites racism with commemoration of right-wing terrorist attack in Hanau, refugee policy

By Peter Schwarz, 9 March 2020

The state has not “underestimated” the danger posed by the far-right, but rather systematically incited and encouraged it.

Australian Labor MP feigns concern over US extradition of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 March 2020

Penny Wong did not differ with government representatives, who explicitly endorsed the British judiciary’s brutal attacks on Assange’s legal and democratic rights.

As anger mounts over Assange’s persecution, former foreign minister Carr calls for moral appeals to Australian government

By Richard Phillips, 6 March 2020

Veteran Labor leader Bob Carr is attempting to divert the growing movement for the release of Assange into dead-end appeals to the Australian parliament.

Australian parliamentary parties endorse British show trial of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 March 2020

As Assange faced a legal travesty, government ministers declared their faith in British “due process,” while the Labor Party maintained its silence.

Defender 2020: Largest mobilisation of NATO troops against Russia in 25 years

By Markus Salzmann, 4 March 2020

Seventy-five years after the end of World War II, the scale of NATO's provocative military exercise underscores how far advanced the preparations for war are.

Australian government revives plan for internal electronic surveillance

By Mike Head, 4 March 2020

Under the guise of combatting on-line paedophilia, the Australian Signals Directorate is to be handed domestic spying powers.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Anatomy of a cover-up—Part 1

By Alice Summers, 3 March 2020

The 900-page report largely ignores or minimises the criminality of cost-cutting companies and a complicit Conservative Party-run local authority.

Jeremy Corbyn’s criminal silence during Julian Assange’s extradition hearing

By Chris Marsden, 2 March 2020

Corbyn said nothing when he could have raised Assange’s fate in Parliament every single day, informing millions of the fundamental violation of his democratic rights.

Rally in defence of Julian Assange held in Zurich

By our correspondents, 2 March 2020

In Zurich, Marianne Arens spoke on behalf of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party—SGP) and called for the mobilisation of the working class in Assange’s defence.

Brisbane rally calls for freedom for Assange and Manning

By our correspondent, 2 March 2020

Participants applauded and cheered the speakers as they denounced the Australian government’s complicity in the abuses of Assange’s basic legal rights.

Judge rules Assange cannot sit with lawyers during extradition hearing

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 28 February 2020

The first week of the extradition hearing in USA v Julian Assange ended yesterday at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court with Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejecting a submission from Assange’s lawyers that he be allowed to sit with them in court.

ABC News suspends veteran reporter who called himself a socialist, criticized network in secret recording

By Matthew Taylor, 28 February 2020

In the video ABC News reporter David Wright criticized the network for abandoning serious reporting in favor of sensationalism.

Australian spy chief reveals fascistic networks, but minister attacks “left-wing lunatics”

By Mike Head, 28 February 2020

Dutton’s response shows that the real target of the government and the state apparatus is left-wing and socialist organisations, not violent, far-right groups.

Interviews from SEP (UK) public rally

“The working class needs to demand that Assange is released, not that the ruling class do it on their behalf”

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to some of those attending the public rally held by the Socialist Equality Party (UK) in defence of Julian Assange on Sunday in London.

Julian Assange’s father demands immediate bail for imprisoned son

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

John Shipton outlined his son’s decade-long history of arbitrary detention in the UK.

Julian Assange condemns court for preventing him from speaking to lawyers

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 27 February 2020

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange issued a defiant protest in court yesterday, opposing the flagrant abuse of his legal rights in extradition proceedings brought against him by the United States government.

“The fight for Assange’s freedom requires the political mobilisation of the working class”

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 February 2020

This speech was delivered by Oscar Grenfell, a leading member of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) to a public rally in defence of Julian Assange, held in London on Sunday.

Persecuted journalist Assange handcuffed, stripped naked on first day of extradition trial

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 26 February 2020

As proceedings were due to begin, a court official told WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson that he was barred from the public gallery.

EU police departments preparing massive international facial recognition database

By Kevin Reed, 25 February 2020

Leaked internal documents reveal that the EU and police organizations within its member nations are developing the technology and legislative framework for integrating facial recognition profiles into a massive biometric database to be shared between countries and with the US.

The show trial of Julian Assange begins

By James Cogan, 25 February 2020

The first day of the British court hearing yesterday to determine if WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange will be extradited to the United States left no doubt that what is taking place is a legal travesty that threatens both Assange’s life and fundamental democratic rights.

Assange extradition trial opens in London

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 25 February 2020

Amid growing popular outrage over the railroading of Assange to a US prison, lawyers for the Department of Justice sought to reframe the charges against him.

Hundreds protest outside Woolwich Crown Court to demand Assange’s freedom

By our reporters, 25 February 2020

Protesters were not allowed anywhere near the building, kept behind barricades and an imposing steel fence by security and police.

Socialist Equality Party (UK) holds London rally in defence of Assange and Manning

By our reporter, 24 February 2020

The meeting was attended by more than 130 workers, youth and students who came from all over the UK.

Don’t Extradite Assange campaign calls on Boris Johnson to intervene

By Robert Stevens, 24 February 2020

The struggle to free Julian Assange requires an implacable struggle by the working class against the Johnson and Trump governments now conspiring to silence him forever.

“The release of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning is up to us”

Australian and New Zealand demonstrations demand freedom for WikiLeaks founder and US whistleblower

By our reporters, 24 February 2020

The weekend rallies point to growing international support for Assange and Manning and a deeper political understanding and determination to fight by important layers of students, workers and youth.

New conflict of interest evidence against UK judge in charge of Assange extradition process

By Kevin Reed, 22 February 2020

Fresh evidence has emerged that the chief magistrate overseeing the extradition trial of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has received financial benefits from organizations connected to the UK Foreign Office.

“This is the Dreyfus case of our age”

UK Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visits Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 February 2020

McDonnell described the Assange case as “one of the most important and significant political trials of this generation,” but made clear that his party will do nothing to mobilise the immense popular support that exists for the WikiLeaks publisher.

Veteran “Four Corners” journalist Andrew Fowler denounces Australian government’s refusal to defend Assange

By Richard Phillips and James Cogan, 21 February 2020

“The persecution of Assange is an attack on anyone who speaks out against the power and authority of the United States. It is a warning to every journalist: ‘Pull your head in. Shut up. Don’t question.’”

Lawyers file new motion demanding release of Chelsea Manning

By Kevin Reed, 20 February 2020

Lawyers for Manning, the courageous whistleblower who has been in prison for eleven months for refusing to testify before a secret grand jury in the case of Julian Assange, have filed a new motion in federal court demanding her release.

Growing support for Julian Assange on eve of extradition hearings

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 February 2020

The fight for Assange’s freedom requires the mobilisation of the working class, not moral appeals to capitalist politicians.

FBI and Department of Justice reject Freedom of Information Act document request by SEP National Chairman David North

the WSWS Editorial Board, 20 February 2020

The US government declares that the Socialist Equality Party and World Socialist Web Site chairman’s request for documents obtained through surveillance of his political activities threatens “national security and foreign intelligence.”

Assange defence team: “The empire calls it espionage. We call it journalism”

By Thomas Scripps, 19 February 2020

A packed press conference was addressed by WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Australian MPs Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen.

Australian MPs visit Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 February 2020

Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen said they agreed with UN official Nils Melzer’s assessment that Assange is the victim of psychological torture.

German politicians and cultural professionals demand release of Julian Assange

By Peter Schwarz, 19 February 2020

Some 130 prominent initial signatories, including nine former federal ministers, are demanding the “immediate release of Julian Assange, on medical grounds as well on the basis of the rule of law.”

Labour Party leadership candidates profess Zionism at Jewish Labour Movement hustings

By Robert Stevens, 18 February 2020

After Corbyn’s four years in office, the Blairites are on the verge of winning back the leadership amid the threat of mass expulsions of Corbyn supporters.

Australian media maintains an unconscionable blackout on the case of Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 17 February 2020

Meetings should be convened by the staff of every media organisation and resolutions adopted opposing Assange’s extradition and insisting that his case is accurately and honestly reported.

Alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Joshua Schulte on trial in New York

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 February 2020

The court hearings, over the Vault 7 leaks exposing mass CIA spying and hacking operations, have been subjected to a near total media blackout.

Chicago high school students hold sit-in in defense of students who refused to stand for national anthem

By Andy Thompson, 15 February 2020

The sit-in is an example of young peoples’ complete rejection of nationalism and racism promoted by the ruling class.

#MeToo collaborates with fascistic forces to block showing of Polanski’s film J’Accuse

By Alex Lantier, 15 February 2020

Allied with the reactionary Macron government, #MeToo demands the censorship of Polanski’s brilliant account of the anti-Semitic frame-up of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, which was a seminal event in modern French history.

UK government spearheads anti-migrant crackdown with deportation of Jamaican nationals

By Thomas Scripps, 14 February 2020

Under Britain’s deeply reactionary UK Borders Act 2007, any offence can serve as a pretext for deportation.

Spectre of the 1930s

Sound the alarm! Political conspiracy and the resurgence of fascism in Germany

By David North and Johannes Stern, 14 February 2020

Last week’s decision by the Christian Democratic Union in the federal state of Thuringia to elect a state premier together with the right-wing extremist Alternative for Germany exposes the filthy state of German politics.

US spied on governments for decades through secret ownership of Swiss encryption firm

By Kevin Reed, 13 February 2020

The revelations that the CIA and NSA have been spying on the diplomatic cables of governments around the world for the past five decades demonstrates that the American imperialism has long operated as a law unto itself in world affairs.

Petition for Assange’s freedom tabled again in Australian parliament

By Mike Head, 13 February 2020

Despite the powerful public support and strongly expressed sentiments of the petition, its tabling received virtually no coverage in the corporate media.

Woman who killed UK teenager Harry Dunn was a CIA spy

By Thomas Scripps, 11 February 2020

The Dunn family’s legal spokesman, Radd Seiger, explained it is “high time that the nation can see with full transparency whether or not the government prioritised protecting the identity of the Sacoolas family over the welfare and rights of Harry’s family.”

“I fear for the future of democracy in Britain”

Protesters speak out at demonstration against Tory government deportation plans

By our reporters, 11 February 2020

WSWS reporters spoke with those attending Monday night’s demonstration outside Downing Street in London demanding an immediate halt to all deportation flights.

UK government carries out deportation of around 20 Jamaican nationals

By Robert Stevens, 11 February 2020

The men on board were among 700 immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers being held at two immigration detention removal centres near Heathrow Airport—Colnbrook and Harmondsworth.

Dr. Lissa Johnson calls for workers and young people to rally in defence of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

11 February 2020

“Everyone who recognises the need, before it is too late, to take a stand against gross injustice and for fundamental democratic rights should attend the rallies.”

UK: Vigil remembers Errol Graham, pays tribute to family’s fight for justice

By our reporters, 10 February 2020

At the vigil, friends, family and local community members held placards bearing Errol’s photograph and condemning the Department for Work and Pensions welfare sanctions that have claimed hundreds of lives.