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Unilateral coercive measures could impact nearly all human rights, warns UN expert
September 27,2020   By:Xinhua
GENEVA, Sept.27,2020 -- Unilateral coercive measures could impact nearly all human rights, notably in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a UN expert said Tuesday at the on-going 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
 
Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, said at the session that the role of the United Nations must not be undermined by unilateral coercive measures.
 
Presenting a report on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures to the UN rights agency, Douhan said that one of the main challenges faced today by the world community was the absence of consensus about nearly everything that related to unilateral sanctions, including their notion, characteristics, legal grounds and humanitarian impact.
 
"Unilateral sanctions had changed today so much that many existing forms had not been envisaged even five years ago, such as so-called 'sectoral' sanctions, which applied non-selectively to individuals and organizations acting in a particular sphere of the economy without any identifiable reason or violation from their side," she said.
 
Moreover, the UN expert added, unilateral sanctions had started to be applied to international civil servants for doing their job, inter alia, in the sphere of human rights.
 
She stressed that no pursuit of "common good" could justify the violation of fundamental human rights, including the right to life, the right to health and the right to food, especially in respect of those whose rights unilateral sanctions sought to promote.
 
Representatives of Burkina Faso, Syria, China, Namibia, Botswana, Iran and a number of countries also spoke on unilateral coercive measures Tuesday at the session.
 
Speakers said that under no circumstances should access to humanitarian commodities be blocked due to unilateral coercive measures, and deplored that calls to lift such sanctions to facilitate the response to the COVID-19 pandemic had been unheeded. 
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