UN HR Impact of Unilateral Sanctions
On Sep. 16, UN HR called for re-evaluation of human rights impact.
- UN HR called for critical re-evaluation of human rights impact of unilateral sanctions.
- Noting consequences of extraterritorial application, over-compliance with sanctions.
- Impact on Most Vulnerable
- Increasing number of States, individually and collectively, have resorted to sanctions, which can align, or depart from, the values promoted and protected by the UN Charter.
- Sanctions can create severe and undue suffering for individuals who have neither perpetrated crimes nor otherwise bear responsibility for improper conduct.
- When target entire country, or economic sectors, it is the most vulnerable people in that country, those who are least protected, who are likely to be worst harmed.
- Those sought to be targeted can perversely benefit through gaming sanctions regimes.
- And profiteering from the economic distortions and incentives introduced by them.
- Punitive restrictions on banks and financial institutions, including those based in third countries, routinely leads to over-compliance out of abundance of institutional caution.
- In some cases, it becomes difficult to import basic food items, health-care equipment and other forms of humanitarian aid, despite the existence of applicable exemptions.
- Third-country banks refuse to transfer funds, require oft-onerous certification for each transfer, create additional costs/delays that impede assistance, reduce effectiveness.
- Obstacles to import of vital medical supplies, including over-compliance with sanctions by financial institutions, create long-lasting harm to vulnerable communities.
- Lack of Due Process
- Sanctions that constrain actions of third parties are also problematic when overbroad, impacting people other than those directly responsible for human rights violations.
- Those affected often have scant legal process prior to being brought under regimes.
- Frequently have little recourse to any mechanism to appeal liabilities or penalties.
- These procedures may violate a number of fundamental due process principles.
- UN Counter-Terrorism Sanctions
- Challenges also persist in the context of United Nations counter-terrorism sanctions.
- Despite significant reforms, these can often generate negative human rights impacts.
- Including disruption of humanitarian action, infringement of rights of those affected by travel bans, asset freezing or confiscation without sufficient basis or options for review.
- To mitigate their impact on principled humanitarian work, some States have excluded activities of impartial humanitarian organizations from scope of anti-terrorism laws.
- And have provided humanitarian exemptions to otherwise prohibited travel to areas.
- Such flexibility is important to facilitate reconciliation of competing policy objectives.
- Need for Critical Re-Evaluation
- Growing number of countries are applying sanctions to increasing range of targets for expanding number of reasons, including to bolster human rights, foster accountability.
- But human rights cannot be adequately protected, indeed they are profoundly undermined, if sanctions and the means of enforcement themselves violate them.
- Human rights should be taken fully into account when designing sanctions regimes.
- Effective monitoring should be undertaken throughout period sanctions are in force.
- Entity imposing sanctions has an obligation to take steps to respond to any disproportionate suffering experienced by vulnerable groups within targeted country.
- There is a place for asset bans, visa restrictions and other measures against individuals who are credibly accused of perpetrating severe human rights violations.
- Targeting entire countries or sectors of economic activity should be avoided.
- Called on sanctioning countries to reassess and critically re-evaluate their use of unilateral coercive measures to avoid human rights-adverse impacts.
- Also called on countries subjected to sanctions to provide transparent information, accept offers of humanitarian assistance, prioritize needs/rights of vulnerable people.
- Should adopt measures to guarantee organizations can carry out humanitarian work.
||B/D; Bank; BS; Ins; Inv Co; MSB
||PR, Sp 9/16/2021
||AML; Anti-Bribery; Compliance; Financial; Human Rights; Legal; Operations
||Banking; Clearing; Deposits; Loan
|Reg. Last Update
||AML & Enforcement
Last substantive update on 09/17/2021