Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

No more arbitrary sanctions violating human rights against any country: UN adopts new principles 

28 Oktober 2011 08:46:25

No more arbitrary sanctions violating human rights against any country: UN adopts new principles


FIAN Pakistan welcomes protection of rights of people as global responsibility


Protection of human rights of people in and outside territorial boundaries is a global responsibility of states, both individually and jointly, and limits imposition of sanctions against any country which may result in nullifying or impairing the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights of that country.

The Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations (ETOs) adopted at the United Nations says where sanctions are undertaken to fulfill any other international legal obligations, states must ensure that human rights obligations are respected in design, implementation and termination of any sanctions regime. ETOs refrain states from imposing any embargoes and equivalent measures on goods and services essential to meet core obligations.

“This is a welcome sign as now any world power cannot push for economic or political sanctions against any country arbitrarily and they have to first prove that any such sanctions would not harm economic, political and cultural rights of the people in the country. Similarly, other global institutions and corporate sector have also to observe the global principles of protecting people’s rights,” said Shafqat Munir, Policy Analyst and Convener of FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) International Pakistan Group.

He said FIAN, a human rights organization advocating for the right to food, welcomes the adoption of the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations (ETOs) of States as a crucial addition to the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and a key tool for the right to food and food sovereignty movements.

ETOs refer to human rights obligations of States - individually and jointly - towards persons outside their territories. ETOs have often gone unrecognized in law, policy and practice of many states. States have tended to limit obligations to their own territory, which does justice neither to the regulatory needs of the international community nor to upholding the principle of universality of human rights.

This reductionism to territorial obligations has led to a vacuum of human rights protection in a number of international political processes and a lack of regulations based on human rights in order to promote their protection. The situation is particularly challenging in the field of economic, social and cultural rights.

"The gaps in human rights protection have become more severe in the context of globalisation during the past 20 years, said Rolf Künnemann, Human Rights Director at FIAN. "The recent food crises have resulted largely from the policies of international actors.  Areas of concern include the human rights regulation of transnational corporations, the accountability of intergovernmental organizations, rights-based development and the implementation of human rights law in the face of investment and trade law, constructed over the past 20 years."

"The Maastricht ETO Principles are an important step towards closing these gaps. They provide a much needed instrument for human rights organisations like FIAN International and for social movements that have to face extraterritorial violations of human rights."- INFN

The ETO Principles were written by a group of 40 distinguished experts in international law and human rights from around the world assembled by the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights of Maastricht University and the International Commission of Jurists.  Members of the group include present and former members of international human rights treaty bodies, present and former special procedures mandate holders of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and leading academic and civil society legal experts.