Statement of High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation

11 April 2017

According to media reports, at a G7 Foreign Ministers meeting (April 11, 2017), the question of the possible adoption of new sanctions against Russia in connection with its position on Syria was raised again. However, this initiative of the British Foreign Minister was not supported by a number of foreign ministers, which indicates the desire of most states to solve the problems through diplomatic negotiations, and not through unilateral sanctions.

At the same time, it is disappointing that, in violation of the norms of international law, certain states persistently try not only to maintain the already imposed sanctions, but also to untwist a new round of additional ones.

As it is known, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, signed among others by the United Kingdom and the United States, explicitly states that the participating States undertake to refrain from "economic or other coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by another participating State of the rights inherent in its sovereignty".

Recall that the only legitimate unilateral enforcement measures are sanctions approved by the UN Security Council, since they alone correspond to the spirit and letter of the UN Charter.
I believe that sanctions imposed in violation of the international order, inflict harm, above all, on the population of states, on human and civil rights and liberties.

I presume that imposing one’s position by putting pressure on other countries, regardless of their opinion, overturns the whole system of values in the field of human rights developed by the world community, and devalues the very idea of ensuring human rights, because the cornerstone is made of the profit and prosperity of individual states that remain indifferent and insensitive to the needs and rights of ordinary people.

As the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, I cannot stand aside and I call on my counterpart ombudsmen to condemn the use of sanctions as an instrument of political pressure on the will and freedom of people.

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