Unilateral coercive measures are a foreign policy tool that are thousands of years old and used by states in response to foreign policy concerns. Their use has become more common throughout the 21st Century, and this raises concerns from a human rights perspective. The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate that unilateral coercive measures exacerbate suffering and add additional human rights violations in targeted states. The research challenges the appropriateness of such unilateral measures for the promotion and protection of human rights. An investigation is conducted into the legal relationship between unilateral coercive measures and the ‘Right to Food,’ and whether US unilateral economic sanctions violate this right in Venezuela.
The research is necessary given that universal human rights such as the ‘Right to Food’ are threatened in targeted states during periods of unilateral sanctions. Greater attention is required to show how unilateral coercive measures adversely affect the economic and social rights of civilians. The case study in this research also deals with the ongoing situation of US sanctions against Venezuela.
The research methods used in this study include qualitative and quantitative methods during field research, which took place with Venezuelans who fled their country to Trinidad and Tobago. Desk research methods which are used include legal dogmatics.
The results of this research are that unilateral coercive measures are inappropriate for the promotion and protection of human rights, given that their implementation undermines ‘Rule of Law,’ which is the foundation for human rights guarantees. Unilateral coercive measures are contrary to international obligations to ‘respect, protect, and fulfil’ the ‘Right to Food.’ These obligations extend to extraterritorial settings and are underscored by the international obligation of states to international co-operation for the progressive realisation of economic and social rights. A definitive answer cannot be given about whether US sanctions violate the ‘Right to Food’ in Venezuela, given the economic crisis which predated the sanctions and which contributed to a decline in access to the ‘Right to Food,’ amongst other economic and social rights in Venezuela. However, indications exist that US sanctions likely make it more difficult for Venezuelans to access food.
Document is below