The UN's special rapporteur urges the global community to review the sanctions against Madagascar. "The situation is extremely alarming and should be a wake-up call for the international community because one of the reasons this country is on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis is the sanctions that have slowed the country's economic life," Olivier de Schutter said.
Presenting his findings on the situation in the country, he said a quicker resolution of the political problems had been anticipated when sanctions were first imposed in March 2009.
"Given the lack of progress and that we don't see a solution on the political horizon, we need to reexamine the impact of these sanctions on the civil population," De Schutter said.
"It is not acceptable to take them (civilians) hostage under the pretext of wanting to influence the behaviour of the country's leaders."
He cited UN figures showing that 76.5 percent of the population lived under the poverty line and 35 percent of the rural population were hungry.
"Taking into account the rhythm with which extreme poverty progresses, with the consequences this holds for food insecurity and malnutrition, we are on the brink of a crisis," De Schutter said.
Most international organisations have suspended aid to Madagascar since elected president Marc Ravalomanana was toppled in a coup in March 2009. International aid had accounted for half the country's budget and funded many development programmes.