Safeguarding humanitarian action in sanctions regimes

Debarre, A.
Publication language
Date published
01 Jun 2019
Factsheets and summaries
Development & humanitarian aid
International Peace Institute

In recent decades, sanctions have increasingly been used as a foreign policy tool. They are imposed for a variety of reasons, including to push for political change, for nonproliferation, and as a counterterrorism measure. Following the devastating impact of sanctions in Iraq on the civilian population, they are now, for the most part, meant to be targeted or “smart.” This means that sanctions measures such as travel bans, embargoes, or assets freezes are imposed only on specific individuals and entities. There are currently fourteen sanctions regimes imposed by the UN Security Council through Chapter VII resolutions, which member states are legally required to implement.

The implementation of UN sanctions regimes is monitored by sanctions committees composed of the fifteen members of the Security Council and supported by independent panels or groups of experts. Member states, as well as regional organizations, have also instituted their own sanctions regimes, which are separate from but sometimes influenced by the UN’s.