How sanctions violate human rights and promote unfair competition

In September 2020, at the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Report on the negative impact of unilateral sanctions on the realization of citizens' rights was presented.

Professor of the Belarusian State University Elena Dovgan noted that “countries that apply targeted sanctions, as a rule, do so without any judicial procedure to establish that the persons or organizations subjected to the sanctions actually committed the crimes for which they were punished. In addition to the violation of their human rights because of the imposition of sanctions, the very decision to impose sanctions violates their rights to “due process”, such as the right to a fair trial, the right to a defence and the right to be presumed innocent until guilt proven."
This is very important. We will return to it later. After all, this is an act of blatant injustice, which the United States - a seemingly quite normal state - is allowing in the 21st century, when authorities are so fond of talking about human rights and adherence to democratic values!

We hear about "sanctions" every day and are already beginning to perceive them as commonplace. Few people think that sanctions, at times, become a very convenient tool for unfair competition, revenge and banal punishments of organizations or specific people.

Targeted (personal) sanctions are usually imposed out of court. That is, the guilt of the people against whom restrictions are imposed has not been established. Elena Dovgan quite rightly said that the application of such sanctions violates human rights to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. It should be noted that such "sanctions", without trial and investigation, have an impact on the entire spectrum of human rights, starting with the right to life and ending with economic and social rights.
For clarity, you can refer to a fact. For example, consider the story of the personal sanctions introduced by the US Treasury Department against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
On November 25, 2015, Ilyumzhinov, then the acting President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), was sanctioned by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It should be noted that there were no official accusations against Ilyumzhinov. He learned about the sanctions only from press and at first considered it just a provocation, especially since just literally in the near future he had planned another visit to the United States, where he planned to carry on negotiations and sign a contract for the holding of the World Chess Championship in New York in November 2016. Ilyumzhinov, of course, immediately changed his working schedule in order to meet with representatives of the American Ministry of Finance and clarify the claims made against him.
However, contrary to common sense, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was simply not allowed on the plane. By the way, they interfered not only with his personal plans, but also the work of the largest International Organization, representing 191 countries.
A little later, answering the questions of the correspondent of the Chess Federation of Russia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov noted the lack of substantiation of the sanctions imposed against him, and made an interesting remark about the possible true reasons for their appearance. "One gets the impression that they are caused by the active international policy that I conduct as FIDE President." Let us recall that the mission of FIDE, the largest international organization founded in Paris in July 1924, is connected with the popularization of chess, the organization of world tournaments and Olympiads. FIDE's motto is "Gens Una Sumus", "We are one family" and expresses the main principles on which all the work of the organization is based: chess brings people of all continents together, serves the cause of peace and friendship, and helps to establish friendly contacts between countries with different economic systems.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was first elected President of FIDE in 1995, and was re-elected six times as FIDE President (in 1996, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). When Ilyumzhinov was asked what the International Chess Organization was for him, he always answered shortly and, at the same time, as succinctly and correctly as possible: "This is life."
The announcement of sanctions by the US Treasury Department against Ilyumzhinov seemed to be (coincidence? I don’t think so) concurred with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of his first election to the post of FIDE head. The US Treasury blamed Ilyumzhinov for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This is a strange accusation, given the international status of the FIDE organization and the direct responsibilities of its head, which include working meetings with the heads of various countries to discuss and prepare certain international events. Ilyumzhinov himself never hid the fact that, starting in 2011, he visited Syria several times and met with President Bashar al-Assad on several occasions.
“Together with the country's leadership, we opened a sports chess centre in Syria that had a swimming pool and chess halls. I presented over a thousand chessboards, chess textbooks translated into Arabic to Syrian chess players. And we also held tournaments there,” Ilyumzhinov said and at the same time sadly joked that the US Treasury had apparently equated chessboards with weapons.
Many were interested to learn the fact that a little earlier President of the US Chess Federation (US Chess) Gary Walters said that the federation would like to see another person as the head of FIDE. “There are people who want my resignation. After I was included in the US sanctions list, some FIDE members are constantly demanding my resignation,” Ilyumzhinov said.
I would not go into the jungle of conspiracy ideas and reflections, but it makes sense to once again recall that personal sanctions may well be used as a means of unfair competition. Actually, this was also mentioned in the UN special report: "States that introduce restrictive measures use their influence in international organizations, thereby enhancing the effect of sanctions."
The inclusion of Ilyumzhinov in the list of sanctioned persons immediately had a negative impact on the activities of the International Chess Federation. Ilyumzhinov was barred from entering the United States, despite the previously planned international events. Therefore, he was forced to transfer part of the functions such as signing of treaties and other documents in the United States to his vice president. It can be said that the “personal” sanctions against Ilyumzhinov untied the hands of those who did not like Ilyumzhinov as FIDE President. A discrediting campaign was immediately launched against Ilyumzhinov, because of which he decided not to nominate himself for the next re-election. Sanctions based on several newspaper articles, without proceedings, without evidence, played negative role in the life of sixth FIDE President. FIDE, the development of which he devoted more than 20 years of his life, resignedly accepted the lawlessness directed against the head of the federation, which, from the point of view of moral and ethical values, significantly shaken our belief that this is "one family."
Regretfully, sanctions are increasingly reminiscent of an instrument of extrajudicial reprisals for political or personal reasons in the modern world. More and more experts agree that sanctions are becoming, in dishonest hands, a very effective instrument of revenge and discrediting "inconvenient" persons and organizations in the absence of real evidence of guilt, well-grounded suspicions, convictions and any court decisions.
A person who has fallen under the “pressure of sanctions” is deprived of the right to be informed of the essence of the claims brought against him in the course of an open trial. He remains without the right to defence. All this, in turn, unties the hands of his opponents and leads to unfair competition.
For example, the right to information. Often, a person who has fallen under the sanctions can only guess what he was accused of, and how legitimate the charges brought against him are. Unlike many who do not even try to defend their rights when faced with the American bureaucratic machine, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was the first who demanded a fair and open trial.
They say that Ilyumzhinov's lawyers were simply taken aback when they received "40 pages of copies of orders of the US presidents, some departmental instructions and ... two vague articles from the Guardian." That is, the serious accusation was based on newspaper publications and this, if one may say so, "strong evidence" was also hidden from the accused. What is this if not a direct violation of human rights?
As Elena Dovgan emphasized, speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, the number of situations requiring a legal assessment in connection with the introduction of new unilateral sanctions is growing every day.
States and international organizations are increasingly imposing sanctions against more and more wide range of individuals. It is necessary to create a comprehensive protection mechanism. According to Dovgan, to prevent the violation of human rights the UN should take control of the practice of unilateral sanctions in order to restore the rights violated by the introduction of unilateral restrictive measures.
While reports are being prepared and heard, while international experts are discussing common truths about the importance of protecting human rights, it is for these basic democratic values ​​that politician and diplomat Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been fighting for almost five years. And he is leading this battle almost alone. But he will definitely win, because he is fighting not only for himself and his own reputation, but for the priority of international law and human rights.

Purvia Mendiaev