Restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses

Decision (CFSP) 2020/1999 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses

Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses

They establish a global European Union (EU) sanctions regime for serious human rights violations and abuses.
Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 applied automatically and uniformly to all of the EU Member States as soon as it entered into force, without needing to be transposed into national law. It has been amended by Implementing Regulations (EU) 2021/371 of 2 March 2021 and (EU) 2021/478 of 22 March 2021.

The EU global human rights sanctions Regime (EUGHRSR) provides a legal base for the EU to target individuals, companies and bodies — including those who are and those who are not associated with national governments (state and non-state actors) — that are responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred.


The EUGHRSR covers a number of human rights abuses including:

crimes against humanity;
torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings;
the enforced disappearance of persons and arbitrary arrests or detentions.

The sanctions regime also covers acts which are widespread, systematic or of serious concern in relation to the goals of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), as set out in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union. These include:

trafficking in human beings;
abuses of human rights by migrant smugglers;
sexual violence and gender-based violence;
violations or abuses of the freedoms:
of peaceful assembly and of association,
of opinion and expression,
of religion or belief.

Sanctions and exceptions

Restrictive measures will include a travel ban for individuals and the freezing of funds for both individuals and entities. In addition, persons and entities in the EU will be forbidden from making funds available to those who are listed, either directly or indirectly.

Member States may grant exceptions from the measures when travel is justified due to:

urgent humanitarian need;
attendance at intergovernmental meetings or meetings promoted or hosted by the EU;
situations where entry or transit is necessary to participate in a judicial process.

Amending the list

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Member States can propose amendments to the list.

Amendments are decided upon by the Council of the European Union and are announced publicly.

Application & Background

They entered into force on 8 December 2020.

The EUGHRSR was part of the commitments to tackle serious human rights violations and abuses set out in the 2020–2024 EU action plan on human rights and democracy.


Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/1999 of 7 December 2020 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses (OJ L 410I, 7.12.2020, pp. 13–19).

Successive amendments to Decision (CFSP) 2020/1999 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 of 7 December 2020 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses (OJ L 410I, 7.12.2020, pp. 1–12).

See consolidated version.

Joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council — EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020–2024 (JOIN(2020) 5 final, 25.3.2020).

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title IV — Restrictive measures — Article 215 (ex Article 301 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 144).



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