Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures to the Human Rights Council: the overwhelming majority of unilateral measures applied today are illegal under international law
The Human Rights Council had an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, who said that the overwhelming majority of unilateral measures applied today were illegal under international law.
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that when sanctions targeted an entire country, or addressed entire economic sectors, it was the most vulnerable people in that country who were likely to be the worst harmed. The High Commissioner called on sanctioning countries to reassess and critically re-evaluate their use of unilateral coercive measures to avoid human rights-adverse impacts.
Pouria Askari, Associate Professor of International Law at Allameh Tabataba’i University and Secretary General of the Iranian Association for United Nations Studies, said that the principle of non-intervention in internal affairs was an extra test for assessing the legitimacy of unilateral sanctions. Over-compliance with secondary sanctions could result in the unlawful intervention in domestic affairs of third States. Most of the current unilateral coercive measures, especially those taken by the United States, were mainly part of the sanctioning State policy to force other States into taking a particular action.
Zhang Wanhong, Professor of Jurisprudence at Wuhan University School of Law, said that the international community generally did not recognise the legitimacy of unilateral coercive measures. Specifying the effect of sanctions by the United States on Venezuela, Iran and Cuba, he said that the United States and other countries had abused their hegemonic power, arbitrarily taken unilateral sanctions as punishment against innocent populations, and particularly devastated vulnerable groups. He called on the Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteur to keep advocating for the lift of all unilateral sanctions.