UN human rights expert urges to lift unilateral sanctions against China


Unilateral sanctions against China do not conform with a broad number of international legal norms and cannot be justified as countermeasures under the law of international responsibility, a United Nations (UN) expert said on May 17.

Alena Douhan, UN special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights, said the unilateral sanctions against China can be qualified as unilateral coercive measures at a press conference in Beijing following her 12-day visit to the country.

Unilateral sanctions have been imposed against China since 2017 with mounting U.S. pressure on Chinese technological companies and the imposition of export controls, designation of companies’officials and the launch of administrative and civil charges. These have been followed by further sanctions and restrictions related to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Hong Kong SAR, by expanding the list of targets to include key sectors of economic activity, including in agriculture, construction, trade, new and green technologies, energy, finance, telecommunications and others.

“During my visit I received numerous reports on the unilateral sanctions’ adverse impact and the consequent socio-economic implications affecting peoples’ lives,” Douhan said.

Douhan also called on sanctioning parties to lift and suspend all unilateral sanctions applied to China, Chinese nationals and companies without authorization from the UN Security Council. 

“I wish to reiterate the illegality of extraterritorial application of unilateral sanctions and I call on states, in particular sanctioning states, to effectively address over-compliance of businesses and other entities under their jurisdiction in order to mitigate or completely eliminate any adverse humanitarian impact,” said the expert.

During her trip, she visited Beijing, Shenzhen, and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, where she talked with government officials and representatives from non-government organizations, businesses, academic institutions and other sectors.

Douhan will present a report based on her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in September. 


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