RNA - Many participating countries and NGOs condemned the US unilateral coercive sanctions and considered it as a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and in the meantime damaged international equality and justice. These illegal sanctions have become a kind of collective punishment towards the people of sanctioned countries like Iran.
There is no doubt this discussion is very important. But except for the unilateral coercive measures, we should also pay attention to the new development in the human rights sanction field. This refers to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act which came into force in December 2016 in the United States. It began to directly sanction individuals on different issues.
This shows the US human rights sanction has changed greatly in terms of targets and methods. It has made great impacts on international society and facilitated the birth of its "European version" and "Canada version", thus forming a multilateral-participating sanction system in the world. This new Act allows the US evade moral consequences which have been blamed before, such as the "collective punishment" towards the people of sanctioned countries.
This kind of new development should not come as a surprise to the world though. The United States always acts in its own way in dealing with human rights issues. When the UN Human Rights Council was established in 2006, the Bush administration refused to join as a member state. It was only until 2009 the US joined the council, but the Trump administration declared to exit the Human Rights Council in 2018, because of the so-called council’s prejudice against Israel and failure to effectively protecting human rights.
To some extent, this action has marked the US exiting from the current global human rights governance framework. The US regards itself as the defender of human rights all the time and sees itself standing on the commanding heights of international morality, assuming the responsibility to supervise and criticize the human rights situation of other countries.
The United States publishes a human rights report evaluating the situation in other countries annually. An important characteristic of American human rights policy and practice is its double standard. The US believes that it owns the highest human rights standard and best human rights protection practice, so it should be the example for other countries. But in fact, America has very serious human rights problems.
According to Fars News Agancy, there are many human rights problems in the United States, such as civil rights violations, income inequality and racial and gender discrimination, but the US has turned a deaf ear to all of them while focusing on the human rights problems of other countries. Besides, the United States often uses double standards to treat other countries differently based on strategic considerations.
The strategic importance of a country often influences American human rights policy towards the country. This means the US treats traditional allies and other countries differently. A case in point could be Saudi Arabia committing war crimes in Yemen using American weaponry to kill innocent civilians.
In fact, the reason why the US refused to join the Human Rights Council in 2006 is also "the council’s hostility to Israel," itself one of the biggest violators of human rights in the world. But for those countries which the United States regards as potential competitors, the US usually uses the magnifying lens to find their human rights problems and derogate their international image in order to contain their rise. Iran is a case in point. It is important for the US to face up to its own human rights issues first.