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Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures
September 14, 2017

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Human Rights Council 36th Session

Geneva, September 14, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President,

The United States once again categorically rejects the entire premise that underlies the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on UCMs.  The imposition of targeted sanctions does not violate human rights.  In fact, targeted sanctions can be a powerful tool to promote human rights and hold accountable those who violate or abuse human rights.

We reiterate our concerns over the claims made in the Special Rapporteur’s report on his visit to Russia.  The United States, the European Union, and a broad coalition of other nations applied sanctions in response to Russia’s occupation and purported annexation of Crimea and Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine.  As has been extensively documented by OHCHR and other major international expert bodies, the parts of Ukrainian territory currently under the control of Russia-led forces have experienced an appalling deterioration in human rights conditions.

The United States introduced sanctions on Russia under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, which provides authorities to sanction persons responsible for the detention, abuse, or death of Sergei Magnitsky; participated in efforts to conceal the legal liability for or financially benefited from his detention, abuse, or death; or were involved in the underlying criminal conspiracy he uncovered, as well as to sanction persons responsible for certain gross violations of human rights in Russia.  Under this authority, we have publicly listed and sanctioned 44 individuals for their significant roles in the repressive machinery of Russia’s law enforcement systems, as well as individuals involved in notorious human rights violations.

Similarly, we reject outright the Special Rapporteur’s recent claims regarding sanctions imposed against the Maduro regime in Venezuela.  The Maduro regime has undermined democracy and the rule of law and deliberately and repeatedly violated human rights and fundamental freedoms, including through the use of violence, repression, and criminalization of demonstrations.

Our sanctions efforts are targeted to avoid negative unintended consequences and include options to license actions consistent with our policy goals, including to facilitate humanitarian objectives.

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.