Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights


Ms. Alena Douhan, Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures
Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Ms. Alena Douhan.

In several resolutions and declarations adopted by United Nations entities, human rights bodies, including the Commission on Human Rights, increasing concerns were expressed about the negative impact of sanction, including unilateral coercive measures, on the enjoyment of human rights, particularly their negative impact on the human rights of the civilian population of targeted. The Human Rights Council has followed this trend.

On 26 September 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 27/21 and Corr.1 on human rights and unilateral coercive measures. The resolution stresses that unilateral coercive measures and legislation are contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States, and highlights that on long-term, these measures may result in social problems and raise humanitarian concerns in the States targeted. Highlighting the deep-rooted problems and grievances within the international system and in order to ensure multilateralism, mutual respect and the peaceful settlement of disputes, the Human Rights Council decided to create the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

More information about mandate

In March 2020, the Human Rights Council appointed Ms. Alena Douhan as the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights pursuant to resolutions 27/21 and 36/10. She took office on 25 March 2020.

Ms. Douhan has extensive experience in the fields of international law and human rights as a Professor of international law at the Belarusian State University (Minsk), a visiting Professor at the the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed conflict, (Bochum, Germany) and the Director of the Peace Research Centre. She received her PhD at the Belarusian State University in 2005 and obtained Dr. hab. in International Law and European Law in 2015 (Belarus). Ms. Douhan’s academic and research interests are in the fields of international law, sanctions and human rights law, international security law, law of international organizations, international dispute settlement, and international environmental law.

More information about Ms. Douhan

Working methods

In the discharge of the mandate, the Special Rapporteur:

a) Transmits urgent appeals and letters of allegation to Member States or non-state actors on alleged violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms while imposing unilateral sanctions or other measures of foreign policy against another country or targeted individuals or entities connected to that country in the absence or beyond the UN Security Council resolution (See submitting information to the special procedures).

b) Undertakes fact-finding country visits.

c) Submits annual reports to the Human Rights Council and General Assembly.

Latest News

More press releases and statements

Call for input

UCM visit to Venezuela: Call for submissions by 18 January 2021

UPDATE: the deadline for this call has been extended until 31 March 2021
Call for submissions: UCM-Study on the notion, characteristics, legal status and targets of unilateral sanctions

UCM visit to Qatar: Call for submissions by 30 September 2020

UCM-Study on impact of unilateral sanctions on human rights during the state of emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic
Closed. Submissions now online


Qualification of unilateral sanctions from the point of international law and politics took place at the academic conference organized by the Government of Venezuela and Geneva School of diplomacy and international affairs

Webinar on “The impact of unilateral coercive measures on national health systems of targeted developing countries, in particular on health and well-being of women, children, persons with disabilities and other people in vulnerable situations” (PDF)
Watch the webinar on UN Web TV

Expert Consultation on “The Notion, Characteristics, Legal Status and Targets of Unilateral Sanctions,” convened on 26 April 2021 by the Special Rapporteur (PDF)

On 30 November, the Special Rapporteur participated as a keynote speaker, at the Virtual Seminar on unilateral coercive measures and their Impacts in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was held jointly by the Permanent Missions, based in Vienna, of the Republic of Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The event was attended by 60 participants from 37 countries.

On 25 November, the Special Rapporteur briefed the UN Security Council at the Virtual Arria meeting on “End Unilateral Coercive Measures Now”

On 28 October, the Special Rapporteur was interviewed by Afshin Rattansi for the Going Underground, Russia Today’s TV show

More Highlights

Special Rapporteur

Ms. Alena Douhan (Belarus)
25 March 2020 - present

Former Special Rapporteur

Mr. Idriss Jazairy (Algeria)
1 May 2015 - 9 December 2019

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Related Links

Ms. Alena Douhan
Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights
Palais des Nations CH-1211 Geneva 10
Email : ucm@ohchr.org

Christophe Peschoux
Human Rights Officer
Office 5-05, Avenue Giuseppe Motta 48, 1202 Genève, Switzerland
Email : cpeschoux@ohchr.org