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Excerpt: ...Sanctions must and will remain an important instrument for compelling compliance with the will of the international community. But, they could be a blunt instrument, which hurts large numbers of people who are not its primary target. The record of what one recent study called the “sanctions decade” of the 1990s has raised serious doubts not only about the effectiveness of sanctions, but also about their scope and severity. Too often, innocent civilians have become victims not only of the abuses of their own government, but also of the measures taken against it by the international community. They are, thus, doubly victimized. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2000/20001115.sgsm7625.doc.html 15 November 2000 Press Release SG/SM/7625 Full Text: [begin] Following is the text of an address by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the dinner of the International Rescue Committee honouring John Whitehead, in New York on 15 November: I am delighted to join you this evening to pay tribute to my friend and ally John Whitehead, a true internationalist, who has served his country by serving the world, and served the world by serving his country. Throughout his life, as this audience knows well, John has been a humanitarian of great distinction -- as a 45-year veteran of the International Rescue Committee board, as a diplomat, and as a citizen of the world. He is a most deserving and distinguished winner of the International Rescue Committee Freedom Award, and I warmly congratulate him on receiving it. I am also especially pleased to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude and admiration for Mrs. Ogata’s decade-long service as High Commissioner for Refugees. Under her leadership, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) faced unprecedented challenges and demands, and under her leadership, it met them successfully. The next High Commissioner, Ruud Lubbers, will certainly have a hard act to follow, but I am counting on the support of organizations, such as the International Rescue Committee, to help him to do so effectively and imaginatively. Indeed, as UNHCR’s largest implementing partner, the International Rescue Committee is a vital ally for the United Nations, and I trust it will continue to be so. I wish to thank every member of the International Rescue Committee for your devoted service to the world’s most vulnerable people Tonight, I would like to share with you some thoughts on one aspect of the humanitarian challenge that is often a consequence of conflict. It is an aspect which will, I believe, prove more and more difficult for the international community to handle in the years ahead. I refer to the humanitarian impact of economic sanctions. One of the great tasks facing the United Nations today is to broaden and deepen adherence to the norms and values of the United Nations Charter, and to make the international community live up to its name. It must be truly a community of peoples, dedicated to upholding common standards of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. One test of this global community is how we respond to States that transgress the accepted rules and norms, and how we obtain compliance with the will of the international community. Tonight, I wish to explore the use of sanctions as a means of achieving compliance. More generally, I should like to reflect with you on how we move from defiance to compliance, and break what I have called the “sanctions cycle.” The international community has at its disposal a variety of instruments which it uses to bring recalcitrant States into compliance. There is a continuum beginning with quiet diplomacy –- ranging through public pressure, or “naming and shaming”, to the imposition of arms embargoes and economic sanctions –- and ending with the use of military force. As you would expect, the record of success is mixed. In some cases, discreet pressure behind the scenes has worked. In others, not even the most comprehensive sanctions have brought about compliance. Increasingly, however, the use of sanctions has given rise to concerns. These concerns relate, of course, to Iraq, but also to the many other States that are the subject of sanctions today. What is clear is that we need to improve the effectiveness of sanctions regimes if we want this instrument to remain available in the future. After verbal condemnation, sanctions may often be the first and easiest response employed by the Security Council to a State in violation of international law. Undoubtedly, sanctions have sometimes been effective -- and may be so again in the future -- in bringing a State back to internationally accepted rules of behavior. Usually, the objective has been to change the behaviour of a government or regime which posed a threat to international peace and security, and, in a conflict situation, to diminish the capacity of the protagonists to sustain a prolonged fight. Last year’s hand-over of the Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing was a case of effective sanctions, although it took a long time to achieve this result, and until the trial is over we shall not know whether the suspects are indeed the authors of that terrible crime. However, in too many instances, we are witnessing a tragic and unintended cycle of events, in which sanctions inadvertently strengthen the hold on power of governments or groups whose illegal behavior triggered them in the first place. In turn, the international community reacts by prolonging sanctions, and thereby may even be postponing the moment when the changes sought will actually come about. It is this “sanctions cycle” that must be broken. Sanctions must and will remain an important instrument for compelling compliance with the will of the international community. But, they could be a blunt instrument, which hurts large numbers of people who are not its primary target. The record of what one recent study called the “sanctions decade” of the 1990s has raised serious doubts not only about the effectiveness of sanctions, but also about their scope and severity. Too often, innocent civilians have become victims not only of the abuses of their own government, but also of the measures taken against it by the international community. They are, thus, doubly victimized. [end] Nathaniel Hurd Iraq Sanctions Project (ISP) Associate Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) 162 Montague Street, 2nd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA Tel.: 718-237-9145, x 21 Fax: 718-237-9147 Mobile: 917-407-3389 Personal E-Fax: 707-221-7449 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.cesr.org/isp *The contents of this message may contain personal views which are not the views of ISP, unless specifically stated* -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.