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UN rights expert calls for dialogue, not sanctions

GENEVA (14 September 2017) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy has called on the international community to phase out resorting to unilateral sanctions. 

“I hope we are moving towards an international order based on the rule of law, which seeks dialogue over duress,” Mr. Jazairy told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, presenting in his report a series of proposed new measures to introduce greater transparency and rules of behaviour aimed at minimizing the adverse human rights impacts of sanctions.

His proposals include the creation of a register of sanctions - formally known as unilateral coercive measures - to ensure that States, citizens and civil society are fully aware of measures which are in place.

“The register would ensure that sanctions are announced, with information on how they are applied and what humanitarian exemptions exist,” the expert said.

Mr. Jazairy’s report also calls for States to adopt a declaration on sanctions and the rule of law.

“Pending the ultimate elimination of sanctions, all States must commit to human rights assessments of their sanctions, to effective human rights and humanitarian exemptions, and to guarantees of due process when applying them,” Mr. Jazairy noted.

The expert urged States to avoid extraterritorial enforcement of their domestic policies with respect to sanctions. “Such claim to extraterritorial enforcement is widely recognized as illegal, and should be immediately ceased,” he added.

The Rapporteur also called on States to establish an effective remedy for victims of sanctions, including appropriate and effective financial compensation.

“When sanctions are used, the country imposing them takes responsibility for any violations of the human rights of people in the targeted country. The principles underlying the rule of law demand there be a way for wronged people to seek redress,” Mr. Jazairy said.

“I urge States to support me in making these proposals a reality,” he added.

Mr. Idriss Jazairy 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 in 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 was formerly the head of a UN specialized agency, IFAD. 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.

For more information and media requests, please contact Stee Asbjornsen (+41 22 917 9827 / sasbjornsen@ohchr.org ) or write to ucm@ohchr.org

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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