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Human Rights Council holds biennial panel discussion on unilateral coercive measures and human rights

Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON  

14 September 2017

The Human Rights Council this afternoon held its biennial panel discussion on unilateral coercive measures and human rights, focusing on the resources and compensation necessary to promote accountability and reparations for such measures.

Peggy Hicks, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in an opening statement, hoped the panel would focus on some of the highly relevant questions: how could sanctions be designed so they did not negatively impact vulnerable populations, what safeguards could be put in place once coercive measures had been imposed, what monitoring mechanisms could assess the impact of measures on human rights and what remedial measures could be provided, as well as how could accountability and reparation be provided for.

The moderator of the panel was Jorge Valero, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Office at Geneva.  The panellists were Idriss Jazairy, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights; Alena Douhan, Vice-Rector and Head of the International Law Department, International University “MITSO”, Minsk, Belarus; Jean Ziegler, Member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee; and Alfred De Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

Jorge Valero, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reminded that Non-Aligned Movement countries condemned the imposition of unilateral coercive measures against developing countries because they violated the universal principles of non-intervention and State sovereignty and independence, and because they undermined human rights and prevented the people of the south from achieving economic and social development.

Idriss Jazairy, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, said that the panel was an opportunity to identify possible further action to be taken on the issue of unilateral sanctions.  Remedy should be available to all at the national, regional and international levels.  The unavailability of such mechanisms would contravene some of the basic obligations enshrined in most human rights treaties.  Mr. Jazairy then highlighted some of the main existing mechanisms, some of which were only available to States, including the International Court of Justice and the World Trade Organization.

Alena Douhan, Vice-Rector and Head of the International Law Department at the International University “MITSO” in Minsk, Belarus, noted that the Human Rights Council had called for all States to stop implementing unilateral coercive measures not in accordance with international law, but had never defined them.  The international community needed to focus on long-term solutions.  It was necessary to use peaceful settlements of international disputes.  The international community needed to discuss what exactly unilateral coercive measures were, as a starting point she proposed a definition.

Jean Ziegler, Member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, said universal coercive measures violated constantly economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to autonomous development.  In a report, the Advisory Committee said that unilateral coercive sanctions, on whichever country they were imposed on, acted on three levels: first, there was an assault on the foreign relations of the country that was the victim.  Second, there was interference on the part of the country using such sanctions in all policies of the country that was the victim.  Third, a press campaign accompanied the imposition of the sanctions, justified them and stripped the victim country of legitimacy.

Alfred-Maurice De Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, said that due to the fact that unilateral measures often inflicted harm on historically marginalized groups, the majority of States condemned them.  Noting that the accountability framework for harms caused by unilateral coercive measures was underdeveloped due to the lacking political will, Mr. De Zayas called upon Member States to collaborate in developing mechanisms which would guarantee reparations.  Otherwise, the unchecked coercive measures would leave countless “collateral” victims.

During the ensuing discussion, speakers shared the view that unilateral coercive measures harmed common citizens’ rights and infringed on human rights instruments, affecting above all vulnerable groups.  Some delegations noted that unilateral coercive sanctions often amounted to a demonstration of force that could only be applied by some countries with great military, political and economic power against weaker States.  Delegations agreed that there was a need for an independent mechanism of the United Nations so accountability and reparations could be addressed.

Speaking were Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Tunisia on behalf of the African Group, Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group, Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Cuba on behalf of a Like-Minded Group, China, Bolivia, Iran, Egypt, Russian Federation, Ecuador, Qatar, Sudan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Fiji, Algeria, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Nicaragua.

The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: National Human Rights Committee of Qatar, Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, United Nations Watch, Iraqi Development Organization, Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development (in a joint statement with Eastern Sudan Women Development Organization)  and Conseil International pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l'Homme.

On Friday, 16 September at 10 a.m., the Council will hold its annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and that of its mechanisms. 

Opening Remarks

AMR AHMED RAMADAN, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, opened the biennial annual panel discussion on unilateral coercive measures and human rights, which had been convened pursuant to the Council resolution 34/13.  He explained that the panel would focus on the theme “resources and compensation necessary to promote accountability and reparations.” 

Opening Statement

PEGGY HICKS, Director, Thematic Engagement, Special Procedure and Right to Development Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, reminded that 25 years ago, 171 nations had gathered in Vienna for the World Conference on Human Rights, resulting in the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action which called upon States to refrain from any unilateral measure which were not in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter.  Thirty years later, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights had identified the human rights challenges associated with economic sanctions which often included disruptions in the distribution of food, pharmaceuticals, and sanitation supplies for the most vulnerable persons.  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in a 2012 thematic study called on all Member States to refrain from any coercive measures, emphasising that even carefully targeted sanctions had negative effects and had to be subject to stringent conditions.  Coercive measures should not be imposed for longer than necessary; they had to be proportional and had to be subject to appropriate human rights safeguards, including human rights impact assessments and monitoring.  In spite of these recommendations, unilateral coercive measures were frequently imposed without any human rights considerations.  For example, sanctions on Sudan had allowed for the purchase of medical supplies but failed to allow for their payment, though the situation had later been resolved thanks to the assistance of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. 

In closing, Ms. Hicks expressed her hope that the panel would focus on some of the highly relevant questions: how could sanctions be designed so they did not negatively impact vulnerable populations, what safeguards could be put in place once coercive measures had been imposed, what monitoring mechanisms could assess the impact of measures on human rights and what remedial measures could be provided, as well as how could accountability and reparation be provided for.

Statements by the Moderator and the Panellists

JORGE VALERO, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Panel Moderator, reminded that at the Non-Aligned Movement countries condemned the imposition of unilateral coercive measures against developing countries because they violated the universal principles of non-intervention and State sovereignty and independence, and because they undermined human rights and prevented the people of the south from achieving economic and social development.  The panel discussion would focus on necessary resources and the promotion of reparations and accountability in that context.  He expressed hope that there would be a fruitful dialogue on that topic that discussed the impact on international relations, trade and economy, and the disproportionate effect on people in developing countries.

IDRISS JAZAIRY, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, said that the panel was an opportunity to identify possible further action to be taken on the issue of unilateral sanctions.  Remedy should be available to all at the national, regional and international levels.  The unavailability of such mechanisms would contravene some of the basic obligations enshrined in most human rights treaties.  Mr. Jazairy highlighted a few of the main existing mechanisms, some of which were only available to States.  Two institutions that stood out were the International Court of Justice, and the World Trade Organization.  The Court’s rulings had suggested that the freedom to impose measures restricting trade with a targeted State was circumscribed to situations where such measures would not involve a violation of existing treaty obligations.  The Court could be requested to provide an advisory opinion on the legality or otherwise of universal coercive measures.  As for domestic remedies, they depended on the country considered.  In most jurisdictions, domestic courts were unlikely to grant remedies to targets of unilateral coercive measures.  When it came to sanctions applied by the European Union, they were subject to full judicial review before the European Union courts in Luxembourg.  What remained unsettled was whether individuals or entities found to have been unlawfully targeted could be awarded damages by the courts.  The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg under the Council of Europe was also competent to adjudicate on cases brought by individuals or legal entities for violations of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. 

Since there was limited availability of domestic remedies and of remedies available at the regional level in the European Union and Council of Europe contexts, that made international mechanisms all the more relevant, Mr. Jazairy noted.  However, such mechanisms were unavailable when States imposing unilateral coercive measures had failed to ratify the relevant international treaties or protocols.  It remained a moot point whether individuals affected by sanctions who resided in the target States were subject to the jurisdiction of the source State.  Human rights treaties could in principle impose on States obligations not only when they adopted measures applicable on their own territory, but also extraterritorial obligations insofar as the State could influence situations located abroad.  Thus, a State imposing them should incur liability for resulting human rights violations.  Complaints based on violations of human rights through the imposition of unilateral coercive measures could arguably be submitted to the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and the Council’s complaint procedure, Mr. Jazairy concluded.

JORGE VALERO, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Panel Moderator, reviewed some issues the panellists had been invited to reflect on, and handed the floor to the next speaker.

ALENA DOUHAN, Vice-Rector and Head of the International Law Department, International University "MITSO", Minsk, Belarus, said that the Human Rights Council had called on all States to stop implementing unilateral coercive measures not in accordance with international law, but had never defined them.  A number of mechanisms had been proposed, but it was not just necessary to pay attention to measures, but to consequences and the purposes of such activities.  Taking into account that many kinds of pressure came from cases where States could not agree on the fact, it was necessary to utilize the United Nations’ fact-finding mechanisms.  The international community needed to focus on long-term solutions.  If the means of pressure applied by a State were legal under international law, they were not unilateral coercive measures.  It was necessary to use peaceful settlements of international disputes.  The international community needed to discuss what exactly unilateral coercive measures were, as a starting point she proposed a definition.  Targeted sanctions should be lifted immediately if a person was recognized as not guilty.

JEAN ZIEGLER, Member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, said universal coercive measures violated constantly economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to autonomous development.  In the report, the Advisory Committee said that unilateral coercive sanctions, on whichever country they were imposed on, acted on three levels: first, there was an assault on the foreign relations of the country that was the victim.  Second, there was interference on the part of the country using such sanctions in all policies of the country that was the victim.  Third, each time this happened, there was a press campaign that accompanied the imposition of the sanctions and justified them and stripped the victim country of legitimacy.  These were the three elements identified in the cases studied by the Advisory Council.  In Venezuela, United States President Donald Trump had adopted an executive order excluding Venezuela from the international capital markets and forbade United States or international financial institutions acting on American territory to accept to buy bonds from the Government of Venezuela or oil companies and prevented the oil companies from repatriating to Venezuela their deposits.  This order was a harsh blow vis-a-vis Venezuela which was a country crippled by debt.  Mr. Ziegler outlined that the Permanent Mission of Venezuela in Geneva had sent a detailed report to the Panel describing the worrisome actions taken by foreign actors in the internal conflict.  The country was going through a human tragedy that had be stopped immediately.  The mission had notified that 80 per cent of the domestic trade in goods and services was in the hands of private entities which were organizing deficits and creating artificial shortages.  Some of them were supported financially by a foreign force, notably the United States. 

Mr. Ziegler expressed his surprise at reading in the Swiss press that there was no democracy left in Venezuela.  This amounted to a mass slanderous attack against Venezuela where President Maduro had been elected legitimately.  This slanderous campaign was extraordinary and was only meant to legitimize the use of unilateral coercive measures and to delegitimise a sovereign State.  Mr. Ziegler recalled that the same kind of campaign had been launched 50 years ago in September 1973 before the coup that had led to the death of Salvador Allende and the ascension of Pinochet to power in Chile.  Mr. Ziegler finally reiterated his support to the Human Rights Council’s efforts to establish a commission which would provide redress and compensation measures for victims and put an end once and for all to unilateral coercive sanctions.  

JORGE VALERO, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Panel Moderator, thanked Mr. Zigler for referring to the case of Venezuela and illustrating the damaging consequences that unilateral measures could produce.

ALFRED-MAURICE DE ZAYAS, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, said that in his 2013 report to the General Assembly, he had noted that the imposition of universal coercive measures threatened the realization of a democratic and equitable international order since they caused immense harm to the world’s most vulnerable populations, while granting disproportionate leverage to the powerful.  Due to the fact that unilateral measures often inflicted harm on historically marginalized groups, the majority of States had condemned them.  The General Assembly had denounced as illegal the unilateral United States embargo against Cuba in 23 resolutions.  Other unilateral coercive measures, such as those related to the supply of weapons to armed groups, the blockage of Gaza and the targeted killings of non-State actors, had violated the fundamental United Nations pillar of international peace and security and ran contrary to foundational General Assembly resolutions, most notably resolution 2625 regarding friendly relations between States.

International law clearly stated under Article 41 of the United Nations Charter that the singular authority authorized to impose sanctions was the Security Council and only based on the findings under the Article 39 of the Charter that international peace had been jeopardized.  Acknowledging that multi-lateral sanctions were implemented successfully in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, Mr. De Zayas emphasized that coercive measures had to be limited in time, should not affect innocent populations, and should not aggravate imbalances in income distribution, nor generate illegal and unethical business practices, as noted in the report of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.  Commending the work of the Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Mr. De Zayas suggested that further work on assessing the human rights harms caused by coercive measures should be taken through the dialogue of the Special Procedures with States, raised in the treaty bodies individual complaints mechanisms, debated within the Universal Period Review and discussed within the inter-State complaints procedure of the treaty bodies. 

Noting that the accountability framework for harms caused by unilateral coercive measures was underdeveloped due to the lacking political will, Mr. De Zayas called upon Member States to collaborate in developing mechanisms which would guarantee reparations. Otherwise, the unchecked coercive measures would leave countless “collateral” victims, as shown in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and report of the Committee of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

JORGE VALERO, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Panel Moderator, expressed his gratitude to Mr. De Zayas for providing an overview on unilateral coercive measures which had been condemned and rejected by the United Nations Member States particularly in cases of Gaza and Cuba.

Discussion

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, expressed concern about the effect of sanctions on civilian populations of targeted States.  Remedies, compensation and redress should be provided to those who had been affected by unilateral measures, and the panellists were asked to elaborate on the possible mechanisms to allow redress.  Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the imposition of unilateral coercive measures against developing countries had negative effects on human rights, and the panellists were asked to elaborate on effective measures to promote accountability.  Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said unilateral coercive measures harmed people’s right to health and infringed on human rights instruments, affecting above all vulnerable groups such as women and children.  The members of the Human Rights Council should make a commitment to prevent unilateral coercive measures from causing harm.  Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the poorest were disproportionately affected by unilateral coercive measures, and despite resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, and contrary to international law and the Charter, unilateral coercive measures continued to be promulgated.  There was a need for an independent mechanism of the United Nations so accountability and reparations could be addressed.

Cuba, speaking on behalf of a Like-Minded Group, stated that they were unequivocally against the imposition of unilateral coercive measures, which produced an adverse impact on vital sectors and services, a situation that had direct negative consequences on the enjoyment of human rights.  China noted that it was timely to discuss the negative consequences of the imposition of sanctions on developing countries, and urged States to stop using unilateral coercive measures.  Bolivia stressed the unlawful nature of unilateral coercive measures, which were particularly damaging to developing countries.  The international community should pay close attention to the issue of reparations for victims.

Iran noted that it was up to the international community to consider unilateral coercive measures as a violation of human rights, and to ensure accountability of those responsible for human rights violations.  Iran was particularly concerned about the extraterritorial aspect of sanctions.  Egypt stated that unilateral coercive measures contravened the United Nations Charter.  There was a need for assembling a register of the effects of unilateral coercive measures in affected countries.  Russian Federation stressed that sanctions were an effective tool for resolving international disputes and the United Nations Security Council had the sole prerogative to introduce such measures.  However, such measures should not be used as a form of collective punishment.       

Ecuador underscored that the use of unilateral coercive measures was a breach of international law.  They were a demonstration of force that could only be applied by countries with great military, political and economic power.  This was an abuse of power by stronger States against weaker States.  Qatar said that it was subjected to unilateral coercive measures that contravened human rights and international law.  They amounted to an illegal behaviour and impeded any social or international cooperation.  All international mechanisms should be used to combat them.  Qatar highly valued the idea of creating an ad hoc mechanism to document the adverse effect of these measures. 

National Human Rights Committee of Qatar said that as affirmed in the Special Rapporteur’s reports to the General Assembly, unilateral coercive measures included economic and political measures aiming to change State policies.  The people of Qatar had been affected, and compensation was requested for all those affected.  Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik detailed the situation in Iran during the peak of sanctions, and said that then-President Ahmadinejad was part and parcel of the corruption web in the country.  The source of the widespread corruption could be traced to Khomeini, who controlled the Revolutionary Guards.  United Nations Watch said that while all the panellists agreed that it was controversial whether unilateral coercive measures were a violation of human rights, the panel lacked any member who held the opinion that they were not a violation of human rights.  The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights was asked how the panel had been put together. 

Remarks by the Panellists

IDRISS JAZAIRY, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, said there was a series of resolutions, the last of which was adopted by the Council itself, saying unilateral coercive measures were contrary to international law.  Developed countries and developing countries interpreted the text of the resolutions differently.  European Union guidelines said the same thing, noting that the European Union would not apply restrictive measures contrary to international law.  In a future context, the Human Rights Council could try to have a dialogue, as it was a pity there was no voice from any of the targeting countries.  Extraterritoriality was against international law, therefore there was a possibility to engage in trying to define with other countries a convergence in the field.

ALENA DOUHAN, Vice-Rector and Head of the International Law Department, International University "MITSO", Minsk, Belarus, pointed out that the usual discussion about universal coercive measures had been revolving around policy, whereas the core of the problem had been reflected in the absence of the rule of law principle.  For the last 10 years, new mechanisms had been discussed, although the old mechanisms existed and could be triggered.  International law defined legal and illegal activities long time ago, and it was clear that targeted sanctions were illegal and against procedural guarantees.  Moreover, the obligation of States to resolve disputes through peaceful settlements was outlined already in the 1907 Hague Convention.  Not only had the use of force been outlawed but the use of pressure had also been banned by numerous conventions.  Illegal activities such as unilateral coercive measures not only affected human rights, they also infringed on the democratic legal order and undermined international peace and security.

JEAN ZIEGLER, Member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, said concerning the unilateral sanctions taken by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, as a first producer of natural gas globally, Qatar had been dramatically affected and all possibilities for transport had been cut off.  The unilateral sanctions and blockade were completely unlawful.  Although Russia, Iran and Turkey had been trying to provide food and medicine, this did not change the fact that the blockade was unlawful.  As concerned the potential dispute settlement mechanism, the report mentioned by Mr. De Zayas had stated that the International Court of Justice in The Hague should look at issues of compensation.  Referring to the question from a non-governmental organization, Mr. Ziegler reaffirmed that no one was justifying sanctions.  No sovereign country could be forced to trade with another.  The Trump executive order was not just refusal to cooperate economically, it was a declaration of economic war on Venezuela intended to bring the Government to its knees.  Mr. Ziegler reiterated that such actions had been condemned in the Council’s resolution 1932 from 2012.
 
ALFRED-MAURICE  DE ZAYAS, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, said that from the perspective of the mandate, an equitable international order was based on the United Nations Charter, multilateralism and sovereignty of States.  The international order was sabotaged when States unilaterally imposed sanctions or blockades without the Security Council’s approval, which led to grave violations of human rights.  In order to correct the negative impact, there was a need to immediately cancel sanctions and provide reparations to all affected people.  He confirmed the adverse effect of sanctions on the sovereignty of Qatar, which were incompatible with the United Nations Charter.  He proposed that the General Assembly should request the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the consequences of unilateral coercive measures.

Discussion

Sudan reaffirmed the need to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures as these measures ran counter to all the principles of international law.  The international community should build a system to ensure the non-repetition of such measures.  Venezuela underlined that for some States imposing unilateral coercive measures was a way to exercise political and economic pressure.  The United States had recently tried to exert such measures against Venezuela, thus jeopardising regional peace and security.  Zimbabwe reminded that the Council had previously noted that unilateral coercive measures were in breach of international law and that they undermined international cooperation.  It welcomed the proposal for the development of remedies for victims of unilateral coercive measures. 

Pakistan emphasized that every exercise of political and economic power which affected people’s lives had to be subjected to democratic controls and had to be compatible with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.  Fiji underscored that unilateral coercive measures hindered the ability of targeted States to promote, protect and preserve various human rights, such as the rights to life, health, food, education and development.  Algeria highlighted the internal aspect in countries that were under unilateral coercive measures, noting that the lack of remedies only made the suffering worse.  It was high time to set up effective mechanisms to counteract the negative effects of unilateral coercive measures. 

Iraq reminded the Council that Iraq supported resolution 34/13 on human rights and unilateral coercive measures.  As a country that had experienced sanctions in the 1990s, Iraq was well aware of how such measures could cause a great deal of harm to  society.  United Arab Emirates, in a statement on behalf of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, welcomed the holding of this panel discussion and condemned unilateral coercive measures.  However, the measures taken by the four countries against Qatar were not a blockade but a boycott due to the irresponsible behaviour of Qatar that was hosting terrorists.  Nicaragua condemned unilateral coercive measures because they undermined international human rights law and international humanitarian law.  If unilateral coercive measures had extraterritorial scope and affect, then the extraterritoriality of human rights should also be recognized and victims should claim reparations. 

Iraqi Development Organization shared the concern on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures, illustrated most clearly in the case of Yemen by the Saudi led-coalition through a total land, air and sea blockade.  The blockade had had a drastic impact on the right to health and the right to life.  The Council was asked when the accountability mechanisms would deal with the human rights abuses in Yemen as a result of these measures.  Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development, in a joint statement with Eastern Sudan Women Development Organization, called upon the Council to start developing an international treaty banning unilateral coercive measures, with a permanent committee that would assess the situation and be authorized to provide compensation and repatriation. Conseil International pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l'Homme shared the concern raised about the use of coercive measures and denounced the coercive measures of Saudi Arabia taken against Qatar and the blockade of Yemen. The Council was called to pay special attention and urge action against Morocco’s actions against Sahrawi people and the genocide of the Rohingya population.

Concluding Remarks

IDRISS JAZAIRY, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, noted that international human rights law should protect people in peace time just as humanitarian law should protect people in war time.   Unfortunately that was not the case.  Only recently in the adoption of the Sustainable Developing Goals Declaration, all countries had committed to respect the rule of law both nationally and internationally.  Responding to a remark by Algeria, Mr. Jazairy said that the present mechanisms for redress and compensation were not effective enough.  There was a need to adopt a declaration establishing rules of behaviour on this subject.  It was important to prevent situations where unilateral coercive measures could occur.

ALENA DOUHAN, Vice-Rector and Head of the International Law Department, International University "MITSO", Minsk, Belarus, said some means had been mentioned, such as severing diplomatic relations or lack of cooperation with a State.  If violations were taking place, there was counter-measures that could be taken.  States could put pressure on each other without violating human rights.  Before applying unilateral coercive measures, it was necessary to assess whether the measures fell within those categories.  As for the Algerian remark, she said there were mechanisms but they did not function as intended, because of a lack of dialogue.  Mostly, in the discussion this afternoon, the voices of those targeted were heard, and not the voices of those targeting. 

JEAN ZIEGLER, Member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, said it was clear that Cuba had heroically resisted the American blockade for 57 years, and he hoped Venezuela would not face the same terrible fate.  Kofi Annan had said that human conscience had evolved but too many other things had not moved.  As far as the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council was concerned, they would be faithful to their duties.

ALFRED-MAURICE DE ZAYAS, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, said that one of the points he had wanted to make was that it was not just international law being violated by the blockades and embargoes and unilateral sanctions, but also a whole series of principles of international law.  Such principles constituted the spirit of the law.  Sanctions and embargoes violated the law of “pacta sunt servanda.”  He said he was amused by the lack of good faith by many corporations.  Investors needed protection, yes, but States also needed protection from investors.  Businesses impacted by unilateral coercive measures suffered considerable losses.

JORGE VALERO, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Panel Moderator, thanked all the panellists who had made valuable contributions on the topic helping to lead to international solutions.  He regretted that those countries who had applied unilateral coercive measures had not participated in the discussion and that no dissenting voices had been heard.  He was pleased to notice that non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions supported the establishment of measures of compensation for victims.

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