About the mandate
On 26 September 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 27/21 and Corr.1
on human rights and unilateral coercive measures. The resolution stresses that unilateral coercive measures and legislation are contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States, and highlights that on long-term, these measures may result in social problems and raise humanitarian concerns in the States targeted.
Highlighting the deep-rooted problems and grievances within the international system and in order to ensure multilateralism, mutual respect and the peaceful settlement of disputes, the Human Rights Council decided to create the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.
Learn more about the mandate of the Special Rapporteur
Current mandate holder
Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Ms. Alena Douhan.
Professor Alena Douhan (Belarus) took up her functions on 25 March 2020. She is a professor of International Law, the Director of the Peace Research Center at the Belarusian State University (Belarus) and Associated member of the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict at Ruhr University Bochum. Her teaching and research interests are in the fields of international law, sanctions and human rights law, international security law, law of international organizations, international dispute settlement, and international environmental law. She has authored over 150 books and articles on various aspects of international law.
Read Prof. Alena Douhan’s full biography
Notion, types and qualification: this report, submitted at the 48th session (September 2021) of the Human Rights Council, provides an overview and assessment of the notion, characteristics and legal status of unilateral sanctions.. She addresses the issue of terminology pertinent to the mandate and the legality of various forms of sanctions imposed by States and international organizations without or beyond the authorization of the Security Council, as concerns, inter alia, general international law, international economic law, human rights law and international humanitarian law. The report further covers the legal grounds, the particularities and the legality of sanctions imposed on individuals and non-State entities. The report also contains a discussion of the extraterritorial effects of unilateral sanctions, which raise particular concerns for the Special Rapporteur owing to the increasing number of reported cases of human rights violations. View report page | View documents A/HRC/48/59 and A/HRC/48/59/CORR.1
Targets of unilateral coercive measures: this report, submitted at the 2021 76th session (October 2021) of the General Assembly, provides an overview and assessment of the notion and categories of targets of unilateral coercive measures (direct or indirect, primary or secondary, intended or unintended or specific or non-selective, among other categories). In her report, she addresses the issue of the human rights impact that unilateral coercive measures have on those targets. She also discusses those targets in connection with the extraterritorial effects of unilateral coercive measures, which raise special concerns for the Special Rapporteur owing to the increasing number of reported cases of human rights violations. provides an overview and assessment of the notion and categories of targets of unilateral coercive measures (direct or indirect, primary or secondary, intended or unintended or specific or non-selective, among other categories). View report page | View document A/76/174/REV.1
Latest country reports
Mission to the Bolivar Republic of Venezuela (1-12 February 2021)
View document A/HRC/48/59/Add.2
Mission to Qatar (1-12 November 2020)
View document A/HRC/48/59/Add.1