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UN human rights expert welcomes US decision to lift economic sanctions on Sudan

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GENEVA (19 January 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, welcomed the recent decision of President Barack Obama to lift most sanctions unilaterally imposed by the United States on Sudan.  

“By lifting sanctions on Sudan, after adopting similar decisions on Cuba and Iran, President Obama will be remembered as a leader who listened to the international community and stakeholders, in particular the poor and the wretched who were the unintended main victims of such measures,” said Mr. Jazairy, who has reported extensively on the adverse impact on human rights of these sanctions since his 2015 visit to the country.

The human rights expert noted that President Obama’s decision acknowledged the fact that the Government of Sudan has adopted ‘positives actions’ over the past six months. “I urge the Sudanese authorities to intensify their efforts to enhance peace and stabilization efforts and uphold human rights,” he said.  

“The decision by the Obama administration’s to revoke sanctions, is in line with the recommendation I made in my 2016 report to the Human Rights Council,” the Special Rapporteur said. In his report, Mr. Jazairy warned that imposing unilateral coercive measures (UCMs) on Sudan would “restrict trade and investment in the country, which in turn forces the population to face enormous challenges to their enjoyment of human rights.”  

The expert cautioned that UCMs significantly affected the right to health and an adequate standard of living, the right to food, the right to education and the right to development in the country. He also deplored that exemptions to the sanctions regime were largely ineffective “when financial transactions with the banking system in the Sudan are prohibited.”  

In his report, Mr. Jazairy made a number of recommendations to mitigate the impact of sanctions, including the full activation of exceptions or waivers to the sanctions regime with regard to the trade in agricultural products and certain life-saving drugs.

He also called for the progressive lifting of prohibitions on transfers of remittances from abroad, and for commercial transactions, starting with imports recognized to be crucial to ensure basic human rights.

Finally, the expert noted with satisfaction that his recommendation to establish a mechanism between the UN and the Sudan for the procurement of life-saving medicines had been actually followed up and implemented through its establishment -with the US approval- under the auspices of the UN Office in Khartoum in cooperation with the Sudanese Ministry of Health in March 2016.  

Mr. Idriss Jazairy (Algeria) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as the first Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. He took office on 1 May 2015. Mr. Jazairy has extensive experience in the fields of international relations and human rights with the Algerian Foreign Ministry, the UN human rights system and international NGOs. He holds a M.A. (Oxford) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and an M.P.A. (Harvard). He also graduated from the Ecole nationale d’Administration (France). Mr. Jazairy is the author of books and of a large number of articles in the international press on development, human rights and current affairs.
 
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Sudan  

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For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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