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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL BEGINS INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE ON THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT AND ON UNILATERAL COERCIVE MEASURES

12 September 2018

The Human Rights Council this afternoon began a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to development, Saad Alfarargi, and with the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Idriss Jazairy.

Mr. Alfarargi recalled that in September 2017, the Council had adopted a resolution requesting the Special Rapporteur to hold regional consultations on the implementation of the right to development.  The consultations were focused on identifying and promoting good practices in the practical implementation of the right to development.  The expected outcome, Mr. Alfarargi said, was the development of a set of practical guidelines and recommendations.  His thematic report explored the connection between the right to development and equality, and examined the consequences of inequalities for the enjoyment of the right to development, which threatened long-term social and economic development and impeded poverty reduction.

Mr. Jazairy said that his fourth annual report to the Council provided an overview of the activities on the mandate, discussed recent developments regarding the use of unilateral coercive measures, and presented issues of outstanding concern.  One of the objectives of his mandate, he recalled, was to promote the rule of law in the field of human rights and humanitarian affairs.  In doing so, the Special Rapporteur avoided systematic “naming and shaming”, as experience showed that scoring media points had not improved the mandate’s capacity to engage in quiet diplomacy and dialogue to advance the cause of the actual victims on the ground.    Preferring a constructive engagement with a source, a target country, or both, and the promotion of consensus, Mr. Jazairy said that he saw his mission as being different from an advocacy non-governmental organization.  He spoke of his visits to the European Union and Syria.

European Union and Syria spoke as concerned countries.

In the ensuing discussion on the right to development, speakers reaffirmed that the realization of the right to development was the responsibility of each country, but it had to be accompanied by international efforts.  The right to development required the realization of civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights, and its realization was important for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  International cooperation and global partnership had to be recognized as essential elements to fight inequality and ensure that the right to development was turned into a reality. 

On unilateral coercive measures, speakers said that a mechanism to compensate victims of unilateral coercive measures had to be created.  Several States voiced concerns that universal coercive measures were politicized and used as means of exerting political pressure.  Moreover, they paralyzed the development of developing countries and were a flagrant violation of their human rights.  Experiences and history had shown that sanctions imposed on nations negatively affected the lives of ordinary people. 

Speaking in the discussion were Tunisia on behalf of the Arab Group, European Union, Indonesia on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, United Arab Emirates on behalf of a Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, Togo on behalf of the African Group, Qatar, Holy See, Palestine, Brazil, Pakistan, Togo, Egypt, Tunisia, India, Russia, Philippines, Viet Nam, Syria, Bahamas, Fiji, China, Cuba, Sudan, Benin, Venezuela, El Salvador, Iraq, Bangladesh, Angola, Kuwait, Ethiopia, Algeria and Bahrain.

India, Indonesia, Armenia, Pakistan and Azerbaijan spoke in a right of reply.


The Council will resume its work at 9 a.m. on Thursday, 13 September, when it will hold a high-level panel on the seventieth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  It will then continue the clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to development and with the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.  In the afternoon, the Council will hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on truth, justice and reparation, and with the Special Rapporteur on the prevention of genocide.


Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to development (A/HRC/39/51).

The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights (A/HRC/39/54).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights – mission to the European Union (A/HRC/39/54/Add.1).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights – mission to the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/39/54/Add.2).

Presentation of Reports by the Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Development and on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures

SAAD ALFARARGI, Special Rapporteur on the right to development, recalled that in September 2017, the Council had adopted a resolution requesting the Special Rapporteur to hold regional consultations on the implementation of the right to development.  The aim of the consultations was to identify good practices in designing, implementing, monitoring and assessing policies and programmes that contributed to the realization of the right to development in various regions.  Accordingly, the first consultation for the States from the African Group had been held in Addis Ababa in March 2018, while the second consultation, for the Western European and other States, and the Eastern European Group, had taken place in June 2018 in Geneva.  He was planning to hold subsequent consultations for the Latin American and Caribbean Group in October 2018, and for the Asia-Pacific Group in December 2018.  The consultations, continued the Special Rapporteur, were focused on identifying and promoting good practices in the practical implementation of the right to development.  In this context, it was especially important to consider how local-level human development initiatives and experiences could bring light on context-specific indicators and monitoring methodologies.  The expected outcome, Mr. Alfarargi said, was the development of a set of practical guidelines and recommendations.

Among the key issues raised during the consultations was the difficulty to ensure an effective participation and inclusion of all stakeholders in the development process at all levels.  Access to reliable, timely and easy to comprehend information on the development policies represented an important obstacle.  It was of particular concern that excluded, marginalized and discriminated individuals and communities were often not in a position to mobilize around their interests.  The absence of adequate means of implementation remained a major obstacle too.  Too often, resources were mismanaged and pledges from development cooperation actors were slow to trickle down to intended beneficiaries.  There were calls for strengthened South-South cooperation and for better integration of development in regional initiatives, particularly in Africa. 

His thematic report, the Special Rapporteur said, explored the connection between the right to development and equality, and examined the consequences of inequalities for the enjoyment of the right to development, which threatened long-term social and economic development and impeded poverty reduction.  The report, he continued, focused on inequality between countries and noted that the widening disparities of today’s world required the adoption of sound policies to empower the bottom percentile of income earners and promote inclusion of all.  The report identified some areas of action to effectively reduce those inequalities and provided recommendations geared towards the fulfilment of the right to development in the context of the implementation of the equality-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

IDRISS JAZAIRY, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, said that his fourth annual report to the Council provided an overview of the activities on the mandate, discussed recent developments regarding the use of unilateral coercive measures, and presented issues of outstanding concern.  One of the objectives of his mandate, he recalled, was to promote the rule of law in the field of human rights and humanitarian affairs.  In doing so, the Special Rapporteur avoided systematic “naming and shaming”, as experience showed that scoring media points had not improved the mandate’s capacity to engage in quiet diplomacy and dialogue to advance the cause of the actual victims on the ground.  Preferring a constructive engagement with a source, a target country, or both and the promotion of consensus, Mr. Jazairy said that he saw his mission as being different from an advocacy non-governmental organization.

On his visit to the European Union, the Special Rapporteur appreciated legal protections on restrictive measures, including due process measures for targeted persons and availability of remedies, and also noted that sanctions on main partner advanced countries might turn out to be as damaging to the economy of the European Union as they were to targeted countries, and that such measures only served to impoverish everyone.  It was hoped that the concern of the European Union officials for human rights, along with the progressive protective measures already in place, would encourage the European Union to support the Special Rapporteur’s effort to develop a declaration on unilateral sanctions.

Turning to his visit to Syria, the Special Rapporteur said that the current, multiple unilateral coercive measure regimes in force had blocked almost all trade with Syria and harmed the ability of humanitarian non-governmental organizations to carry out their work.  Legal humanitarian exemptions, especially for medicines, food needs and basic infrastructure, should be made effective, and serious discussions were needed on how to address the “chilling effect” of sanctions on humanitarian activities in Syria, particularly those related to financial transfers, without which humanitarian exemptions were impossible to use.  Mr. Jazairy said he had proposed the creation of a United Nations-led procurement office to coordinate compliance with all sanctioning countries.  In conclusion, the Special Rapporteur said that he had discerned tentative openness on all sides in Syria on how humanitarian exceptions could be made more effective.

Statements by Concerned Countries

European Union, speaking as concerned country, underlined that the key principles guiding the European Union’s coercive measures were compliance with international law and human rights, proportionality and their targeted nature.  Coercive measures must always be in accordance with international law and should respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.  The European Union had particular regard for the due process rights of listed persons and entities, and it was its principled approach that restrictive measures should always be proportionate to the objectives they sought to achieve and that they should be targeted in a way that had maximum impact on those whose behaviour was to be influenced by the measures.  The European Union agreed that awareness raising and outreach towards economic operators were crucial for the effective implementation of sanctions.  It regretted that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur had not allowed him to consider the fact that the European Union frequently adopted coercive measures to respond to and prevent serious human rights abuses. 

Syria, speaking as a concerned country, professed its satisfaction with the conclusions of the Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures.  It stressed the negative impact that the sanctions had on its citizens, the Syrian people who were already affected by terrorism.  Syria stated that the adoption of such measures went against the United Nations' principles and were not in keeping with the international commitment to the preservation of human rights.  It called for the lifting of the sanctions against Syria so that its citizens should enjoy their more fundamental human rights.  The responsibility of some States was stressed, whose actions towards Syria were a crime against humanity.  The aims of these countries could not go hand in hand with humanitarian goals and international solidarity because their actions prevented humanitarian aid from reaching Syria.  A solution to ensure monetary transfers was called for.  Syria criticized the fact that the report was not distributed in all the official languages of the United Nations.

Interactive Dialogue

Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said that the right to development faced many challenges but it had to be enforced for all people.  The enjoyment of the right to development was the responsibility of each country, but it had to be accompanied by international efforts.  European Union reiterated its support to the right to development, as it required the realization of civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights.  The European Union was not in favour of an international legally binding document as it was not the appropriate mechanism for realizing the right to development.  Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, firmly believed that the realization of the right to development was important for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  International cooperation and global partnership had to be recognized as essential elements to fight inequality and ensure that the right to development was turned into a reality.

United Arab Emirates, speaking on behalf of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, said they had assisted in establishing the mandate on unilateral coercive measures.  The countries had decided to break off ties with Qatar, but this did not fall under the definition of universal coercive measures.  It was more of a sovereign decision to boycott Qatar.  Qatar was hardly a poor country that would suffer from the consequences of such a move.  Togo, speaking on behalf of the African Group, noted that the right to development was interdependent on other human rights, as confirmed by numerous documents, including the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  The adverse economic environment was still impeding the realization of the right to development.  Qatar reminded all about the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the case relating to discriminatory measures taken by the United Arab Emirates and other countries.  Still, the situation was ongoing and the suffering continued so the Council and Special Procedures had to react.

Holy See said the inherent dignity of the human person would remain an empty slogan if it did not translate into inclusive, human rights centred development policies that were able to reach all segments of society, especially those marginalized and in need.  It agreed with the call in the report on the right to development to take advantage of modern tools of social and economic analysis to uncover the root causes of inequality and discrimination.  The Catholic Church was active in building resilient communities that fostered social and economic development.  State of Palestine said that Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestinian territories denied the State of Palestine its right to development with rising poverty, unemployment and food insecurity levels.  The ongoing blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip by Israel had entered its eleventh year and had severely damaged the economy, reducing it to a fraction of its potential.  Brazil highlighted the importance of implementing Sustainable Development Goal 17, stating that the promise of leaving no one behind could only be fulfilled if cooperation, capacity-building and technical assistance were provided in mutually agreed terms. They added that there was great need to address current systematic inequalities based on income, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, race, religion and other criteria.

Pakistan asked the Special Rapporteur on the right to development to elaborate on his recommendation on the steps necessary to reduce inequalities within and among countries.  Pakistan believed that a mechanism to compensate victims of unilateral coercive measures needed to be created.  Togo said that its Government was engaged in establishing participatory development models to better tackle inequalities, discrimination and social exclusion through development programs.  The Government recognised that human dignity was at the heart of development, but that the next great challenge would be to bolster social services for its citizens. 

Egypt shared the view that the promotion of the right to development required the collaboration of all social sectors.  It supported the fact that the Sustainable Development Goals mentioned the questions of income, inequality, and the sharing of resources.  Tunisia called upon everyone to make efforts to promote the right to development, including developed countries which had a major role to play on that respect.  It stressed the importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and stated that the establishment of partnerships between countries was essential.  India stressed the lack of understanding about the true essence of the right to development, which was not a request for charity but a well-founded desire for an international order.  India said that the right to development could provide a balanced, comprehensive and enabling framework to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in a sustainable manner for all.

Russia recalled the interconnection between discrimination and inequality and stressed that a dignified level of development was necessary to ensure other human rights.  It added that the use of sanctions was both a dead-end and counter-productive because it further isolated already vulnerable countries.  Philippines recommended that victims of income inequality should be identified through proper data collection aside from addressing root causes of inequality.  It stated that States had the responsibility to set both national and international conditions to facilitate the realization of the right to development.   Viet Nam shared the view that measures of assessments, judicial review, remedies and redress of the impact on human rights must be in place to mitigate the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights.  Viet Nam voiced the opinion that the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals would help in realizing all human rights, including the right to development.

Syria reiterated support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on universal coercive measures and regretted that some developed countries were selective in the way they dealt with human rights.  Universal coercive measures were politicized and paralyzed the development of developing countries, which were trying to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.  Fiji pointed out that the intertwined relationship between development and growing inequality was a dilemma.  It stressed that climate change would continue to cause inequalities, especially among women and girls.  China said that it actively championed the right to development, improving living standards, and the right to subsistence.  It warned that some countries adopted unilateral coercive measures to exert political pressure on other countries, especially developing countries.  

Cuba reminded that in 2017 only 1 per cent of the world’s rich had owned 85 per cent of global wealth, which testified that there was a lack of political will to overcome development barriers.  It denounced the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba by the United States for more than 60 years as a flagrant violation of the human rights of the Cuban people.  Sudan noted that the right to development was a basic human right.  Experiences and history had shown that sanctions imposed on nations negatively affected the lives of ordinary people.  Sudan called for the adoption of an international independent mechanism to assess the impact of such measures.  Benin underlined that the right to development was a fundamental and inalienable right, which required the promotion of social inclusion and equality.  What innovative approaches should the international community adopt to properly implement the right to development?

Venezuela said that bearing in mind the growing inequalities, the consequences of climate change, and the inefficiency of development aid, the approval of a legally binding instrument would be a step in the right direction for the right to development.  The imposition of unilateral coercive measures by some States violated human rights, including the right to development, and the Council must condemn such measures.  El Salvador recognized that the right to development was a condition, which had to prevail in day-to-day life.  The 2030 Agenda had a realistic and holistic approach and it recognized the right to development as a human right.

Interim Remarks

SAAD ALFARARGI, Special Rapporteur on the right to development, in his response to questions and comments raised in the interactive dialogue, said that the report was clearly focused on inequalities between countries, and noted that the “package dealing with development” comprised of the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, and many others, and clearly dealt with both with the international and the national aspects, the cooperation and the “spill-over” effects.  As for the suggestion to focus on more research on how international cooperation could help ease inequalities, the Special Rapporteur said that he was not focusing only on one Sustainable Development Goal, but on the 2030 Agenda as a whole, whose inter-related goals and targets were relevant for the approach dealing with the right to development. 

Turning to the practical ways of reducing inequalities and promoting the right to development, the Special Rapporteur stressed the importance of identifying those left behind, noting that his report offered a “very detailed, scientific, and neutral” plan on doing so.  Secondly, there must be a participatory process in developing approaches to reducing inequalities, with equal participation of all.  And finally, there must be an accountability mechanism to ensure that law was applied to everyone.

IDRISS JAZAIRY, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, spoke of recent developments regarding the use of unilateral sanctions, noting in particular the potential socio-economic consequences of the recent measures that were likely to threaten the feasibility of Nord Stream 2, the €9.5 billion gas pipeline project from Russia to Germany.  New sanctions also targeted the Russia aluminium producer Rusal, which could adversely affect the daily life of nearly 100,000 people and tens of thousands who depended on that job. 

The Special Rapporteur also questioned the legitimacy of the blacklisting of State officials when they had done nothing bad but were found “guilty by association”, and then raised concern about the worrying developments related to unilateral sanctions on Iran, further to the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and its claims that they would “apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime”.  The monitoring of the impact of the restrictive measures initiated in June 2017 by a group of countries targeting Qatar continued, and a concern remained about their overly broad scope and implementation.  Mr. Jazairy also mentioned the situation in Zimbabwe, hoping that progress could be achieved regarding the renewed sanctions by the United States and the European Union.

On issues of outstanding concern, Mr. Jazairy highlighted the extension of comprehensive measures as opposed to the earlier pledge, made in the wake of Iraq, to only apply “smart” measures; they were now getting worse and were mutating, like cancer, into blockades, raising questions of civilian protection in such situations in a peace time.  The issue of sanctions needed to be reviewed in a broader context, including an internal political one, he said, proposing that the United Nations Secretary-General appoint Special Representatives to deal with the issue, “through accommodation and quiet diplomacy and, by having all cards in hand, to help diffuse this explosive problem.”

Interactive Dialogue

Iraq stated that it had adopted a vision for sustainable development with goals related to equality, as well as a reconstruction plan for the next 10 years in order to lessen the effect of terrorist activities by Da’esh.  Universal coercive measures had an impact on the poorest and would not bring about positive change.  Bangladesh reminded that target 10.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals called on States to reduce inequalities by eliminating discriminatory laws and practices. However, the world was experiencing an increasing level of discriminatory practices often sponsored by States and resulting in complete denial of the right to life, let alone the right to development. Angola pointed out the dual dimension of the right to development, national and collective; national because each State was responsible for the welfare of its people and collective because the current global problems referred to the shared responsibility of all States.

Kuwait concurred with the Special Rapporteur that the principle of equality and lack of discrimination was the core of the right to development.  Conscious of the importance of the right to development, Kuwait had come up with a national action plan to reform administrative practices, develop a diversified economy and infrastructure, and create innovative human capital.  Ethiopia noted that the lack of peace and the recent migration challenge were partly due to the lack of development. It suggested that the Special Rapporteur conduct a further study on inequalities between countries, and their causes, and come up with possible recommendations. 

Algeria said sanctions should not exist except in extreme cases and under the mechanisms or competent organs of the United Nations.  They asked what the Special Rapporteur thought of the combination of national politics and civil society to contribute to the adoption of an international instrument geared toward development.  Bahrain firmly agreed that sustainable development could not be achieved without the full inclusion and equal participation of women, which began in Bahrain nearly 100 years ago with the political participation of women in the first municipal council.  Bahrain’s commitment to gender equality had also been strengthened in the Constitution.

Right of Reply

India, speaking in a right of reply in response to Pakistan, rejected all references to the fallacious and politically motivated report on Kashmir.  Various international organizations had repeated that enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings continued in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and they expressed specific concern about enforced disappearances in Pakistan.  Pakistan should better reflect on its own human rights record instead of misleading the international community.

Indonesia, speaking in a right of reply, categorically rejected Vanuatu’s statement.  It was inconceivable that Vanuatu had used all of its available time to meddle in Indonesia’ internal affairs.  Vanuatu supported a separatist movement.  The Human Rights Council was established to uphold the sovereignty of all countries, big and small.  Vanuatu was working to disintegrate a United Nations Member State.  It could not take the liberty to say it represented Pacific island countries.  The Government of Indonesia was working to organize a visit by the United Nations to Papua.  Those who had visited Papua could witness the development of that region, while Vanuatu could not even support infrastructure projects in its own rural areas.

Armenia, speaking in a right of reply, said they were responding to false accusations by Azerbaijan concerning the power plant.  Armenia was cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the power plant had been reviewed for safety practices.  The power plant had even been recommended for best practices.  Armenia was always being commended for openness to submit its plans towards international community.

Pakistan, speaking in a right of reply in response to India, said it was amazed at India’s ability to use diversionary tactics and lies.  Pakistan highlighted issues of concern to the international community, such as those raised by the Office of the High Commissioner.  The number of enforced disappearances in Kashmir was alarming and they were not isolated incidents.  Rather, they represented India’s complete disregard for human rights.  There were freedom movements in 12 Indian states and everyone could all imagine what the causes were.

Azerbaijan, speaking in a right of reply, stressed that the Armenian delegate had tried to present an outdated plan as a best practice.  A number of international experts and organizations were voicing their concerns about the outdated power plant, urging Armenia to shut it down.


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC18/127E