What Role Do Sanctions Play in Protecting Human Rights

What Role Do Sanctions Play in Protecting Human Rights

Wide-scale sanctions are used against countries that violate treaty terms, as well as countries that violate recognized human rights violations such as the use of chemical weapons or the use of genocide. Other times sanctions are placed against government officials who have participated in human rights violations or anti-democratic actions. In short, sanctions are used as a form of punishment against countries or government officials who violate human rights agreements and other diplomatic agreements.   In February, the US government under President Biden placed sanctions against seven members of the Russian government in retaliation against Russia’s alleged poisoning of a political rival and his subsequent arrest. The EU also placed sanctions against several members of the Russian government although these sanctions are seen as more symbolic than practical.   What Are Sanctions The European Union’s sanctions against Alexander Batrykin, head of Russia’s Investigative Committee; Viktor Zolotov, head of Russia’s National Guard; Prosecutor Igor Krasnov, and Alexander Kalishnikov who serves as the Director of Russian Federal Penitentiary Service were in response to the alleged assassination attempt of Alexey Navalny and his subsequent arrest. The sanctions against these individuals include freezing assets and travel restrictions throughout the EU. The sanctions are viewed as symbolic since the individuals sanctioned do not have any holding within EU countries. However, sanctions are a political form of punishment and can contribute to an official’s inability to perform their duties.   US Sanctions Against Russian Officials Some might consider sanctions a warning of difficult relationships to come or a sign that relationships between states are strained. The US government has established sanctions against members of the...