Saturday, 3 December 2016

Peace and Security

SANCTIONS

Under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations “The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations”.

The Security Council has indeed used this option on various issues it has dealt with. However, in early cases the implementation of sanctions bore a detrimental effect on weaker parts of the populations involved, which the SC was trying to protect. 

The Council, assisted by other members of the UN and Civil Society commenced a wide discussion on the consequences of sanctions in an effort to render them more efficient and less harmful to weak groups of the population.  

One of the first steps taken to improve the function of such measures was the formation of independent expert panels and monitoring mechanisms to overview implementation of sanctions. In 2000, Lloyd Axworthy, the then Foreign Minister of Canada, called the SC to a special session where the establishment of the “Informal Working Group on General Issues on Sanctions” was decided, with a mandate to make recommendations for the improvement of sanctions’ effectiveness.

The WG’s mandate was recently renewed. Debate within this framework has contributed fundamentally to the mechanism’s improvement so that the latest resolutions establishing sanctions are growingly making use of the so-called “smart sanctions”, which aim at putting pressure on regimes rather than peoples. Discussions are still underway on important issues such as humanitarian impact of sanctions, their effectiveness in political terms, their timeframe and the establishment of standards for lifting them.

Greece joins those sensitive to the humanitarian impact of sanctions, while recognizing their value for accomplishing political goals without resorting to the use of force. She believes that more discussion within the Working Group will bring convergence of views in the Council and better results on the ground.



Last Updated Thursday, 17 January 2013

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