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UN rights expert to assess impact of unilateral sanctions on Qatar

30 October 2020

GENEVA (30 October 2020) – The UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights, Alena Douhan, plans to visit Qatar at the end of this week to assess the impact of unilateral sanctions on the enjoyment of human rights.

She will be in Qatar from 1 to 12 November at the invitation of the Government.

“I want to examine, in the spirit of co-operation and dialogue, whether and to what extent the adoption, maintenance or implementation of sanctions hinders the full realization of the human rights of individuals,” said Douhan.

“I will focus in particular on any negative impact that sanctions may have on the enjoyment of all human rights in Qatar,” she said, “and I will also make recommendations on how any negative effects can be mitigated or eliminated.” 

Douhan plans to meet senior government officials, members of parliament and of the judiciary, representatives of international organizations, diplomatic community, civil society and national human rights mechanisms, lawyers, academics, activists, and victims and their families.

The UN Human Rights Council established the Special Rapporteur’s mandate in September 2014, following concern by the UN human rights system and the international community about the negative impact of unilateral sanctions on the human rights of the civilian population. This has become even more relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Douhan will share her preliminary observations at a press conference on 12 November 2020, at 13:30 local time, at the hotel The Ritz-Carlton, West Bay, in Doha. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present her final report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2021.


Ms Alena Douhan (Belarus) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by the Human Rights Council in 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 (Minsk). 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.

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 please contact Sharof Azizov (+41 22 917 9748 in Geneva and +41 76 691 0826 in Qatar / [email protected]).

For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Renato de Souza (+41 22 928 9855 / [email protected] and Kitty McKinsey ([email protected]).

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter@UN_SPExperts.

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