COVID-19 Human Rights Guidance Note - Humanitarian Concerns and Negative Impacts of Unilateral Sanctions and Their Exemptions

Douhan, A.
Publication language
Date published
10 Dec 2020
Multi-sector/cross-sector, Development & humanitarian aid, COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Human Rights, humanitarian action, Humanitarian Principles, Protection, human rights & security
United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR), Office of the UN High Commissoner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

A UN human rights expert today released a series of guidelines to ensure that humanitarian assistance - including medicine, medical equipment, food and other essential goods - reaches countries affected by unilateral sanctions during COVID-19.

Unilateral sanctions are currently imposed against about 20 percent of UN Member States, whose populations are generally more vulnerable to the disease than in other countries.

The guidance issued the set of 16 guidelines following a two-day expert consultation with the world leading humanitarian groups in October. The participants examined the multiple forms of humanitarian exemptions and practical impediments they create for delivery of aid to the most vulnerable people, including in the context of COVID-19.

The guidance urged States to prioritise saving lives during the pandemic over their political or other interests. The guidance urges States to refrain from expanding sanctions, to make humanitarian exemptions clearer and simpler to speed up humanitarian aid to sanctioned countries, and to ensure that the exemptions cover all possible goods that may be essential for fighting COVID-19.

Douhan, A.