Government Policy

US sanctions against individuals abroad violate due process rights: UN expert

The US has for years been imposing sanctions on individuals and entities without national criminal jurisdiction and in the absence of universal jurisdiction, a UN independent human rights expert said Thursday.

This is a clear violation of due process rights, including the presumption of innocence and fair trial, she added.

These rights are guaranteed under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which the US ratified and must fully implement, UN Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan said.

The convention is a core international human rights treaty that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966 and entered into force a decade later.

Douhan was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

She said the unilateral sanctions target individuals abroad for alleged activities outside the US, including activities that are legal where they occur.

Secondary sanctions target foreign individuals and companies for alleged interaction with sanctioned parties or for evading sanction regimes.

As the sanctions typically prohibit entry into the US and freeze assets with any connection to the country, they violate the right to freedom of movement, and the right to not be arbitrarily deprived of property.

"Fear of US sanctions has led many foreign companies and financial institutions to over-comply to reduce their risks. This only exacerbates the impact of sanctions on human rights," Douhan said.

Also, human rights are infringed when US trade bans against certain countries penalise foreign companies for conducting business there.

"These policies affect labour rights, freedom of movement, and the rights of foreign individuals who may be associated with these companies," she said, pointing to the harm caused to the human rights of ordinary citizens who rely on the goods or services these companies provide, such as medicines and medical equipment.

In questioning the compatibility of this type of imposition of extraterritorial jurisdiction with international human rights standards, she called for reflecting on how it impacts the international principle of non-interference in domestic affairs.

Source: United News of Bangladesh