United Nations


General Assembly

Distr.: General

12 October 2020

Original: English

Human Rights Council

Forty- f if th session

14 September–7 October 2020

Agenda item 3

P romotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 6 October 2020

4 5 / 5. Human rights and unilateral coercive measures

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling also all previous resolutions on human rights and unilateral coercive measures adopted by the Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly,

Reaffirming Human Rights Council resolution 43/15 of 22 June 2020 and General Assembly resolution 74/154 of 18 December 2019,

Stressing that unilateral coercive measures and legislation are contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States, in particular during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic,

Recognizing the universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated character of all human rights, and in this regard reaffirming the right to development as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of all human rights,

Expressing its grave concern at the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights, development, international relations, trade, investment and cooperation,

Reaffirming that no State may use or encourage the use of any type of measure, including but not limited to economic or political measures, to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights and to secure from it advantages of any kind,

Recognizing that unilateral coercive measures in the form of economic sanctions have far-reaching implications for the human rights of the general population of targeted States, disproportionately affecting the poor and the most vulnerable classes,

Alarmed by the fact that most current unilateral coercive measures have been imposed, at great cost, in terms of the human rights of the poorest and of the persons in vulnerable situations, on developing countries by developed countries,

Underlining that under no circumstances should people be deprived of their basic means of survival,

Recognizing that unilateral coercive measures may result in social problems and raise humanitarian concerns in the States targeted,

Highlighting the deep-rooted problems and grievances within the international system and the importance for the United Nations to give a voice to all members of the international community in order to ensure multilateralism, mutual respect and the peaceful settlement of disputes,

Expressing its grave concern that laws and regulations imposing unilateral coercive measures have, in some instances, an extraterritorial effect not only on targeted countries but also on third countries, in contravention of the basic principles of international law, in a manner that will coerce the latter also to apply the unilateral coercive measures,

Welcoming the final document and declaration adopted at the eighteenth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, held in Baku on 25 and 26 October 2019, in which the Movement reaffirmed, among other things, its principled position of condemnation of the promulgation and application of unilateral coercive measures against countries of the Movement, which are in violation of the Charter and international law and undermine, among other things, the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, self-determination and non-interference,

Deeply concerned that, despite the resolutions adopted on this issue by the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, the Commission on Human Rights and at United Nations conferences held in the 1990s and at their five-year reviews, and contrary to norms of international law and the Charter, unilateral coercive measures continue to be promulgated, implemented and enforced by, inter alia, resorting to war and militarism, with all their negative implications for the social-humanitarian activities and economic and social development of developing countries, including their extraterritorial effects, thereby creating additional obstacles to the full enjoyment of all human rights by peoples and individuals under the jurisdiction of other States,

Reaffirming that each State has full sovereignty over the totality of its wealth, natural resources and economic activity, exercising it freely, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 1803 (XVII) of 14 December 1962,

Recalling that the World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna from 14 to 25 June 1993, called upon States to refrain from any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter and that created obstacles to trade relations among States and impeded the full realization of all human rights, and that also severely threatened the freedom of trade,

Recalling also article 1, paragraph 2, common to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which provides, inter alia, that in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence, including but not limited to food and medicines,

Deeply disturbed by the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the right to life, the rights to health and medical care, the right to freedom from hunger, the right to an adequate standard of living, food, education, work and housing and the right to development,

Alarmed by the disproportionate and indiscriminate human costs of unilateral sanctions and their negative effects on the civilian population, in particular women and children, of targeted States,

Reaffirming that unilateral coercive measures are major obstacles to the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development,

Concerned that unilateral coercive measures have prevented humanitarian organizations from making financial transfers to States where they work,

Underlining that, in each situation worldwide, unilateral coercive measures have a negative impact on human rights,

Underlining also the necessity of examining the wide range of impact of unilateral coercive measures on international humanitarian and human rights law and on the economy, peace, security and social fabric of States,

Highlighting the need to monitor human rights violations associated with unilateral coercive measures and to promote accountability,

Recalling Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1, on the institution-building of the Council, and 5/2, on the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate Holders of the Council, of 18 June 2007, and stressing that the mandate holder shall discharge her duties in accordance with those resolutions and the annexes thereto,

1.Welcomes the work of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, including her thematic reports and country visits;

2.Also w elcomes the calls made by the Special Rapporteur to lift unilateral sanctions during the COVID-19 pandemic;

3.Further welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur;

4.Decides to extend for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, as set out in Human Rights Council resolution 27/21 of 26 September 2014;

5.Requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to give high priority to human rights and unilateral coercive measures, to pursue further work in this area in full cooperation with the Special Rapporteur in her various activities, and to continue to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the assistance necessary for the effective fulfilment of the mandate;

6.Calls upon all Governments to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in her tasks, to supply all necessary information requested by the mandate holder, and to respond favourably to her requests to visit their countries to enable her to fulfil her mandate effectively;

7.Invites relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, treaty bodies and civil society actors, including non-governmental organizations, as well as the private sector, to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur in the fulfilment of the mandate;

8.Decides to continue its consideration of the issue of human rights and unilateral coercive measures in accordance with its programme of work.

36th meeting 6 October 2020

[Adopted by a recorded vote of 27 to 15, with 5 abstentions. The voting was as follows:

In favour:

Angola, Argentina, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)


Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine


Afghanistan, Armenia, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay]