A Look at international documents related to...
The term “unilateral coercive measures” usually refers to economic measures taken by one State to compel a change in the policy of another State. Examples of such measures include trade sanctions in the form of embargoes and the interruption of financial and investment flows between sender and target countries. The continuing practice of imposing various forms of unilateral coercive measures and the potential impact of such measures on human rights, has drawn the attention of a large number of Member States. Furthermore, United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms including Special Procedures have considered this issue.
Several discussions, resolutions and reports presented to the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and the former Commission on Human Rights have addressed the issue of the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the full enjoyment of human rights.
Numerous United Nations studies have also been carried out on unilateral coercive measures and human rights including the issue of legality of such measures. All these studies have analysed the legitimacy of unilateral coercive measures from a human rights perspective and the complex and divergent views around this topic. They have also stressed the need to further examine the linkages between unilateral coercive measures and human rights. In this article we numerate this reports and studies:
- Working Paper “The Adverse consequences of economic sanctions on the enjoyment of human rights” (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/33)
- Thematic study of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, including recommendations on actions aimed at ending such measures. (A/HRC/19/33)
- Proceedings of the workshop on the various aspects relating to the impact of the application of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by the affected populations in the States targeted. Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (A/HRC/24/20) Here is the detail of the workshop.
- Proceedings of the workshop on the impact of the application of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by the affected populations, in particular their socioeconomic impact on women and children, in the States targeted. Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (A/HRC/27/32) Here is the detail of the presentations and statements of the workshop.
- Research-based progress report of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee containing recommendations on mechanisms to assess the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights and to promote accountability. (A/HRC/28/74) The questionnaires were prepared and disseminated by the Committee in March 2014 to Governments, special procedures of the Human Rights Council, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations.
- Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, general comment No. 8 of 1997 on the relationship between economic sanctions and respect for economic, social and cultural rights. (E/C.12/1997/8)
- A panel discussion on unilateral coercive measures and human rights. (Geneva, 17 September 2015)
- There are seven statements and a letter on the UCMs and their impacts. See here.
It must be said that there is only one report submitted to the Commission on Human Rights in 2006 by the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and unilateral coercive measures. (E/CN.4/2006/37)
For OHCHR news on the unilateral coercive measures and human rights see here.