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Source: “Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization, Supplement to an Agenda for Peace: Position Paper of the Secretary-General on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations”, A/50/60 and S/1995/1, 25 January 1995, http://www.un.org/Depts/dda/CAB/rep5060.pdf and E. Sanctions 66. Under Article 41 of the Charter, the Security Council may call upon Member States to apply measures not involving the use of armed force in order to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such measures are commonly referred to as sanctions. This legal basis is recalled in order to underline that the purpose of sanctions is to modify the behaviour of a party that is threatening international peace and security and not to punish or otherwise exact retribution. 67. The Security Council’s greatly increased use of this instrument has brought to light a number of difficulties, relating especially to the objectives of sanctions, the monitoring of their application and impact, and their unintended effects. 68. The objectives for which specific sanctions regimes were imposed have not always been clearly defined. Indeed they sometimes seem to change over time. This combination of imprecision and mutability makes it difficult for the Security Council to agree on when the objectives can be considered to have been achieved and sanctions can be lifted. While recognizing that the Council is a political body rather than a judicial organ, it is of great importance that when it decides to impose sanctions it should at the same time define objective criteria for determining that their purpose has been achieved. If general support for the use of sanctions as an effective instrument is to be maintained, care should be taken to avoid giving the impression that the purpose of imposing sanctions is punishment rather than the modification of political behaviour or that criteria are being changed in order to serve purposes other than those which motivated the original decision to impose sanctions. 69. Experience has been gained by the United Nations of how to monitor the application of sanctions and of the part regional organizations can in some cases play in this respect. However, the task is complicated by the reluctance of Governments, for reasons of sovereignty or economic self-interest, to accept the deployment of international monitors or the international investigation of alleged violations by themselves or their nationals. Measuring the impact of sanctions is even more difficult because of the inherent complexity of such measurement and because of restrictions on access to the target country. 70. Sanctions, as is generally recognized, are a blunt instrument. They raise the ethical question of whether suffering inflicted on vulnerable groups in the target country is a legitimate means of exerting pressure on political leaders whose behaviour is unlikely to be affected by the plight of their subjects. Sanctions also always have unintended or unwanted effects. They can complicate the work of humanitarian agencies by denying them certain categories of supplies and by obliging them to go through arduous procedures to obtain the necessary exemptions. They can conflict with the development objectives of the Organization and do long-term damage to the productive capacity of the target country. They can have a severe effect on other countries that are neighbours or major economic partners of the target country. They can also defeat their own purpose by provoking a patriotic response against the international community, symbolized by the United Nations, and by rallying the population behind the leaders whose behaviour the sanctions are intended to modify. 71. To state these ethical and practical considerations is not to call in question the need for sanctions in certain cases, but it illustrates the need to consider ways of alleviating the effects described. Two possibilities are proposed for Member States’ consideration. 72. The first is to ensure that, whenever sanctions are imposed, provision is made to facilitate the work of humanitarian agencies, work that will be all the more needed as a result of the impact of sanctions on vulnerable groups. It is necessary, for instance, to avoid banning imports that are required by local health industries and to devise a fast track for the processing of applications for exemptions for humanitarian activities. 73. Secondly, there is an urgent need for action to respond to the expectations raised by Article 50 of the Charter. Sanctions are a measure taken collectively by the United Nations to maintain or restore international peace and security. The costs involved in their application, like other such costs (e.g. for peacemaking and peace-keeping activities), should be borne equitably by all Member States and not exclusively by the few who have the misfortune to be neighbours or major economic partners of the target country. 74. In "An Agenda for Peace" I proposed that States suffering collateral damage from the sanctions regimes should be entitled not only to consult the Security Council but also to have a realistic possibility of having their difficulties addressed. For that purpose I recommended that the Security Council devise a set of measures involving the international financial institutions and other components of the United Nations system that could be put in place to address the problem. In response, the Council asked me to seek the views of the heads of the international financial institutions. In their replies, the latter acknowledged the collateral effects of sanctions and expressed the desire to help countries in such situations, but they proposed that this should be done under existing mandates for the support of countries facing negative external shocks and consequent balance-of-payment difficulties. They did not agree that special provisions should be made. 75. In order to address all the above problems, I should like to go beyond the recommendation I made in 1992 and suggest the establishment of a mechanism to carry out the following five functions: (a) To assess, at the request of the Security Council, and before sanctions are imposed, their potential impact on the target country and on third countries; (b) To monitor application of the sanctions; (c) To measure their effects in order to enable the Security Council to fine tune them with a view to maximizing their political impact and minimizing collateral damage; (d) To ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable groups; (e) To explore ways of assisting Member States that are suffering collateral damage and to evaluate claims submitted by such States under Article 50. 76. Since the purpose of this mechanism would be to assist the Security Council, it would have to be located in the United Nations Secretariat. However, it should be empowered to utilize the expertise available throughout the United Nations system, in particular that of the Bretton Woods institutions. Member States will have to give the proposal their political support both at the United Nations and in the intergovernmental bodies of the agencies concerned if it is to be implemented effectively. Nathaniel Hurd 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: 718-504-4224 E-mail: email@example.com Website: http://www.cesr.org/ *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 firstname.lastname@example.org CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.