Panel discussion on unilateral coercive measures and human rights (Geneva, 17 September 2015)

The Human Rights Council decided in its resolution 27/21 and Corr.1 to hold a biennial panel discussion on the issue of unilateral coercive measures and human rights, starting at its twenty-ninth session; and requested the OHCHR to prepare and submit a report on the panel discussion. The activity had initially been scheduled for the June session of the Council but has been postponed by request of the sponsor States of the Non-Aligned Movement until the 30th session, in accordance with the Human Rights Council’s programme of work.

Objectives

The objective of the panel discussion was to increase awareness among all stakeholders, including United Nations Human Rights mechanisms, of the negative impact that unilateral coercive measures have on the enjoyment of human rights in the targeted and non-targeted countries. The panel discussion aimed to ensure:

  • A platform for the continuing exchange of views and exchange of experiences among member states, academic and civil society experts, civil society organizations, human rights mechanisms and other relevant stakeholders, in relation to the impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights, especially of groups in a situation of vulnerability;
  • Follow up on and update of the recommendations of the previous workshops held in 2013 and 2014 and the research-based report of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (A/HRC/28/74);
  • Consensus-building for the development of basic principles and guidelines as well as the identification of mechanisms to assess and mitigate the adverse impact of unilateral coercive measures and ensure accountability.

Format

The panel discussion was led by an expert moderator with presentations from invited experts, followed by an interactive discussion between the experts and participants: After the opening statement, the moderator introduced the topic and defined the scope of the discussion. The panellists were given five to seven minutes each to make their initial statements, answering specific questions and/or comments by the moderator.

The ensuing interactive discussion, chaired by the President of the Council, comprised two rounds of interventions (45 minutes per round) by States and observers with comments and questions from the floor (two minutes per intervention), followed by 15 minutes for comments and replies by panellists. The debate was followed by responses from the panellists and concluding remarks by the expert moderator.

The concept note of the panel discussion is available here.

Participants

Representatives of Member States, UN agencies, academia and civil society and other relevant stakeholders, were invited to the workshop.

Moderator

Mr. Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour (Islamic Republic of Iran). Former Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative for the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva. Former Director of the Institute for Political and International Studies. Ph.D. in political science from George Washington University and post–doctoral fellow at Harvard University. Mr. Sajjadpour taught at the College of International Relations of Tehran University, as well as at Azad University. Mr. Sajjadjour is a regular contributor to online journals. His area of specialty is globalization.

Panellists

Mr. Aslan Abashidze (Russian Federation). Vice-Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Professor at the International Law Department, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia; Professor at the International Law Department, Law Faculty, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia; and Director of the Center for Innovations in Education and Legal Research. Mr. Abashidze is a former member of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and assistant to the member of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Mr. Mohamed Ezzeldine Abdel Moneim (Egypt). Member of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Associate Professor of International Law and Organization at Suez Canal and Al-Azhar Universities; former lecturer on International Human Rights Law at the Programme for Capacity-Building on Human Rights, UNDP, Egypt; and member of the former Joint Expert Group of UNCESCR and UNESCO on the Right to Education. Mr. Abdel Moneim has been Alternate Representative to United Nations Office at Vienna, on matters related to refugees, women, the elderly and crime prevention. He is the author of article on "The International environment and the use of economic sanctions" (South African Institute of International Affairs, 2003).

Mr. Idriss Jazairy (Algeria). Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. Mr. Jazairy, a former Algerian ambassador was until recently Secretary General of the Geneva Centre for the Advancement of Human Rights and Global dialogue. He was previously Deputy Foreign Secretary and Presidential adviser in Algeria. Among other high-level positions, he has been President of IFAD, a United Nations specialized agency, and later Chief Executive of ACORD. Mr. Jazairy was also a member of the Board of CARE/USA. He chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards to the CERD and participated actively in other normative activities of the Council. Mr. Jazairy chaired the 2013 OHCHR Workshop on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

Presentations and statements received by the Secretariat

Opening remarks

Panelists

Council Members, Observer States and other Observers

Non-Governmental Organizations

Council Members, Observer States and other Observers

Non-Governmental Organizations