The EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime: between Self Help and Global Governance

Nathanael Tilahun

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    184 Downloads (Pure)


    By adopting a Global Human Rights Sanctions regime, the European Union took a new step in leveraging its power to respond to human rights violations globally. The regime has a general scope, and targets both state and non-state actors. This paper shows that this regime occupies a tension zone between two competing approaches or mindsets to sanctions: a self-help approach that perceives sanctions as deriving authority from states’ sovereignty and subservient to their foreign policy, and a global governance approach that views sanctions as deriving authority from and bound by the objectives of specific international legal regimes they enforce. The tension between these approaches comes into stark view when constructing the listing criteria and policy objectives of the sanctions, which determine the scope of targets and duration of measures. Whether and how subsequent practice resolves this tension will be determined by certain legislative and interpretive moves by the EU Council and Court.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-35
    Number of pages33
    JournalInternational Community Law Review
    Issue number1
    Early online date20 Dec 2021
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Dec 2021

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    • EU foreign policy
    • Erga omnes obligations
    • Global governance
    • Human rights
    • Sanctions
    • Self-interest

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations
    • Law


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