SECURITY COUNCIL SANCTIONS COMMITTEES: AN OVERVIEW
Under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council can take enforcement measures to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such measures range from economic and/or other sanctions not involving the use of armed force to international military action.
The use of mandatory sanctions is intended to apply pressure on a State or entity to comply with the objectives set by the Security Council without resorting to the use of force. Sanctions thus offer the Security Council an important instrument to enforce its decisions. The universal character of the United Nations makes it an especially appropriate body to establish and monitor such measures.
The Council has resorted to mandatory sanctions as an enforcement tool when peace has been threatened and diplomatic efforts have failed. The range of sanctions has included comprehensive economic and trade sanctions and/or more targeted measures such as arms embargoes, travel bans, financial or diplomatic restrictions.
At the same time, a great number of States and humanitarian organizations have expressed concerns at the possible adverse impact of sanctions on the most vulnerable segments of the population. Concerns have also been expressed at the negative impact sanctions can have on the economy of third countries.
In response to these concerns, relevant Security Council decisions have reflected a more refined approach to the design, application and implementation of mandatory sanctions. These refinements have included measures targeted at specific actors, as well as humanitarian exceptions embodied in Security Council resolutions. Targeted sanctions, for instance, can involve the freezing of assets and blocking the financial transactions of political elites or entities whose behaviour triggered sanctions in the first place. Recently, smart sanctions have been applied to conflict diamonds in African countries, where wars have been funded in part by the trade of illicit diamonds for arms and related materiel.
As part of its commitment to ensure that fair and clear procedures exist for placing individuals and entities on sanctions lists and for removing them, as well as for granting humanitarian exemptions, the Security Council, on 19 December 2006, adopted resolution 1730 (2006) by which the Council requested the Secretary-General to establish within the Secretariat (Security Council Subsidiary Organs Branch), a focal point to receive de-listing requests and perform the tasks described in the annex to that resolution. The Security Council took another significant step in this regard by establishing, by its resolution 1904 (2009) the Office of the Ombudsperson.
On 17 April 2000, the members of the Security Council established, on a temporary basis, the Informal Working Group on General Issues of Sanctions to develop general recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of United Nations sanctions. In 2006 the Working Group submitted its report to the Security Council (S/2006/997), which contained recommendations and best practices on how to improve sanctions.
Detailed information on each sanctions committee, including relevant measures, lists, Committee Guidelines and comprehensive documentation, including official documents and Press Releases, is available on webpages that can be accessed through the links in the column on the left.
Working Groups and terminated Sanctions Committees
Active Working Groups
Terminated Sanctions Committees
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1132 (1997) concerning Sierra Leone (Terminated pursuant to resolution 1940 (2010) of 29 September 2010)
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994) concerning Rwanda (Terminated pursuant to resolution 1823 (2008) of 10 July 2008)
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1343 (2001) concerning Liberia (Terminated pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003) of 22 December 2003, see 1521 Committee link in the column on the left)
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1298 (2000) concerning the situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia (Terminated in pursuance of Presidential Statement S/PRST/2001/14 of 15 May 2001)
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1160 (1998) (Terminated pursuant to resolution 1367 (2001) of 10 September 2001)
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 985 (1995) concerning Liberia (Terminated pursuant to resolution 1343 (2001) of 7 March 2001, see 1521 Committee link in the column on the left)
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993) concerning the situation in Angola (Monitoring Mechanism on Sanctions against UNITA)(Terminated pursuant to resolution 1448 (2002) of 9 December 2002)
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 841 (1993) concerning Haiti (terminated pursuant to resolution 944 of 29 September 1994)
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 724 (1991) concerning Yugoslavia (terminated pursuant to resolution 1074 of 1 October 1996)
Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 748 (1992) concerning the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Terminated pursuant to resolution 1506 (2003) of 12 September 2003)
Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) concerning the situation between Iraq and Kuwait (Terminated pursuant to resolution 1483 (2003) of 22 May 2003 - see 1518 Committee link in the column on the left)
Security Council Committee established by resolution 421 (1977) concerning the question of South Africa (terminated pursuant to resolution 919 of 26 May 1994)
Security Council Committee established in pursuance of resolution 253 (1968) (terminated pursuant to resolution 460 of 21 December 1979)
Useful LinksReport of the Symposium on Enhancing the Implementation of the United Nations Security Council Sanctions (S/2007/734)