Whereas the imposition of sanctions cannot be an end in itself, such measures can play a vital role in helping to restore peace and stability if Member States implement them in full, the outgoing chairs of Security Council subsidiary bodies told members today.
The chairs of five subsidiary bodies were briefing the 15‑member Council on the implementation and effects of sanctions imposed on military officers, officials as well as other individuals and entities in seven countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Kacou Houadja Léon Adom (Côte d’Ivoire), Chair of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations and the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic, said that as his delegation winds up its two‑year term as a non‑permanent Council member, it is more convinced than ever of the need to target individuals and groups jeopardizing peace processes. In the case of the Central African Republic, the Council must build on its past efforts and punish those deliberately violating the 6 February peace agreement signed in Bangui by the Government and 14 non‑State armed groups. Failure to do so will be interpreted as evidence of a weakened international focus on the country, he warned.
Luis Ugarelli (Peru), Chair of the 1373 Counter‑Terrorism Committee, 1566 Working Group on Counter‑Terrorism, Informal Working Group on International Tribunals and the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee, said the latter is focused on sending a clear message to all that there is no military solution to the conflict in that country and that international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be respected. He also emphasized the importance of communicating with Member States to ensure that counter‑terrorism efforts are consistent with international human rights law and international humanitarian law, while also highlighting the Committee’s work on the issue of foreign terrorist fighters.
Joanna Wronecka (Poland), Chair of the Committees established pursuant to resolution 1518 (2003) concerning Iraq and Kuwait, resolution 1591 (2005) concerning Sudan and resolution 2206 (2015) concerning South Sudan, reported incremental progress in the delisting of entities on the Iraq Committee’s sanctions list, noting that the number of those remaining has been reduced to 76. As for South Sudan, she said the arms embargo that the Council imposed in 2018 has helped to ease civilian suffering. Concerning Sudan, she said the situation in Darfur — which is closely linked to the political process currently under way in Khartoum — has improved greatly since sanctions were imposed, adding that political change presents a real opportunity for a comprehensive and inclusive peace agreement in that country’s western region.
Mansour Ayyad Sh. A. Alotaibi (Kuwait), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said positive developments in that country emphasize the need to continue the fight against rampant impunity by armed groups and to send a clear message to those intent on undermining peace and security. Emphasizing that sanctions cannot succeed unless Member States implement them properly, he also highlighted the great lengths to which the Committee’s Group of Experts has gone to obtain credible information with a view to identifying spoilers.
Anatolio Ndong Mba (Equatorial Guinea), Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2048 (2012) concerning Guinea‑Bissau, stressed that sanctions are not an end in themselves, but a means to a goal. The time has come for the Council to lift the sanctions imposed on the country’s military, if not the entire regime of coercive measures, once elections are held on 28 December and a transfer of power has taken place. In the interim, it is vital for Guinea‑Bissau’s political leaders to ensure the country enjoys substantial progress to match the international support it enjoys.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 11:11 a.m.
KACOU HOUADJA LÉON ADOM (Côte d’Ivoire), Chair of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations and the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic, reported that during his two visits to the latter country, in 2018 and 2019 — and during meetings in New York — he encountered a lack of understanding of the nature and objectives of sanctions. The arms embargo, freezing of assets and ban on travel are intended to encourage peace and development, not to punish the population, he explained, emphasizing the need to avert the misunderstanding that sanctions have nefarious consequences for the people. He recalled that the Council’s imposition of sanctions on his own country as well as Sierra Leone and Liberia played a positive role in their respective peace processes and in preventing their relapse into conflict. As Côte d’Ivoire prepares to exit the Council, he said, it is more convinced than ever of the need for the Council and its subsidiary bodies to adopt targeted sanctions that isolate those who jeopardize peace processes, target women and children, commit sexual violence, obstruct humanitarian operations and attack schools, places of worship and even peacekeepers. Impunity for such individuals and entities must end and civilians must see that the international community is watching, he stressed. Moreover, armed actors must be aware that they will be held accountable if they see their names on an Expert Panel’s list.
He went on to note that that they will also be concerned about their bank accounts being frozen, that they will face deportation if they travel, and that the international community has an eye on them when considering proceedings in The Hague. He emphasized that one of his priorities as Chair of the 2127 Committee is to foster dialogue between the Committee and Member States in the region, in addition to ensuring collaboration with the national authorities in Bangui. Greater political will and State capacity will help to combat trafficking in arms, ammunition and natural resources while curbing the movements of armed fighters in the region, he said, adding that his visits to the Central African Republic revealed a country weakened by impunity, in which armed groups breach the peace agreement and commit atrocities, particularly against women and children. The Council must build on its past efforts and punish those deliberately violating the peace agreement to which they adhered freely, he said, underlining that it behoves the Committee to consider sanctioning new individuals and entities. Otherwise, the absence of new names on the sanctions list since May 2017 will be interpreted as evidence of a weakened international focus on the Central African Republic, he warned.
Regarding the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, he said that a report on its work in 2019 has not been adopted to date due to differences between some Council members, mainly owing to issues relating to intelligence within peacekeeping operations. He urged those concerned to make concessions so that a high‑quality report can be published, pointing out that the delegation of Côte d’Ivoire reserves the right to release the report in its national capacity.
LUIS UGARELLI (Peru), Chair of the 1373 Counter‑Terrorism Committee, 1566 Working Group on Counter‑Terrorism, Informal Working Group on International Tribunals and the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee, reported that the focus of the Group on Tribunals was on combating impunity and defending multilateralism in the context of strengthening international law. It also focused on keeping Council members informed so that they can remain unified in support of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, he said, emphasizing its importance of that entity completing its work and maintaining its legacy in order to prevent future atrocity crimes.
Turning to the Counter‑Terrorism Committee, he affirmed the critical importance of the fight against violent extremism, as well as the importance of the Committee’s visits to Member States in order to learn about new trends in terrorist methods and best practices in fighting them, as well as the special challenges of each region. He said the Committee made some 31 country visits during his term and the success of each depended on the participation of the Member State concerned. Other concerns included strengthening relations with the United Nations Office of Counter‑Terrorism as well as other United Nations entities, and cooperation with regional organizations, all of which were helpful in providing technical cooperation and helping to build the capacity of Member States.
In coordination with partner entities, he continued, the Committee also conducted 22 briefings on special topics concerning the fight against terrorism, including new technologies, emerging threats and countering the terrorist narrative. He went on to emphasize the importance of communicating with Member States to ensure that counter‑terrorism efforts are consistent with international human rights and international humanitarian law, while also highlighting the Committee’s work on the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, including implementation of the Madrid document.
Regarding the Sanctions Committee on Yemen, he emphasized the priority of its activities given the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe in that country. The focus there is on sending a clear message to all stakeholders that there is no military solution to the conflict and that all must respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, he said. Stressing the importance of field visits in Yemen’s case, he said it is extremely helpful to remain apprised of political and humanitarian developments in the country, adding that field visits also have the effect of bringing stakeholders in the region together in constructive dialogue. Applauding the work of the Panel of Experts, he underlined the importance of maintaining the impartiality of its work, saying that, for that purpose, it must be shielded from pressures.
JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland), Chair of the Committees established pursuant to resolution 1518 (2003) concerning Iraq and Kuwait, resolution 1591 (2005) concerning Sudan and resolution 2206 (2015) concerning South Sudan, noted the incremental progress made over the past two years in delisting entities on the Iraq Committee’s sanctions list. As of December 2019, she added, 76 entities remain on the list, compared to 169 in the Committee’s 2017 report. That drop by more than half the number of entities over the course of 2018 and 2019 was due to the efforts of the Committee and the Permanent Mission of Iraq, which submitted several delisting requests, she recalled, noting that Committee members agreed to all of them. She encouraged Iraq to continue to submit delisting requests so that the remaining 76 entities can be delisted as soon as possible.
Regarding South Sudan, she said full implementation of the 2206 sanctions regime can protect the country’s peace process and target potential spoilers threatening implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan and formation of the Transitional Government. Moreover, the arms embargo, introduced by the Council in 2018, has played an important role in reducing the suffering of civilians in South Sudan, she reported. As for Sudan, she said that the situation in Darfur — which is closely linked to the political process currently under way in that country — has improved greatly since the imposition of sanctions. Political changes present a real opportunity for a comprehensive and inclusive peace agreement in Darfur, she added.
She went on to point out that the Chair often has limited autonomy and freedom of action because certain Council members openly reject sanctions as a tool, she said, explaining that political divisions within the Council have made agreement on even quite minor actions difficult in many cases since the Committee reaches all its decisions by consensus. Also, despite Council resolutions calling for full implementation of sanctions, some delegations do not reinforce those messages within the Committee and are not fully supportive of the Experts Panel’s work, she reported.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said positive developments in that country emphasize the need to continue combating the rampant impunity of armed groups and to send a clear message to those intent on undermining peace and security. However, some sanctioned individuals continue to abuse civilians and to benefit from illegal taxation of the population and exploitation of natural resources, he added, pointing out that they are able to circumvent sanctions since they neither travel nor use banks.
He went on to remind Member States that their obligation to notify the Committee before providing military support to the Congolese authorities would enable effective traceability and better monitoring by the Committee and its Group of Experts. Without such visibility, weapons and military equipment can end up in the hands of armed groups, which use them to attack civilians, humanitarian workers and peacekeepers in the east, he cautioned. Sanctions cannot succeed unless properly implemented by Member States, he said, emphasizing the importance of supporting the work of the Group of Experts. He went on to highlight the great lengths to which the experts went to obtain credible information with a view towards identifying spoilers, stressing that he places great value on maintaining the Group’s independence and security.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea), Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2048 (2012) concerning Guinea‑Bissau, reported that key provisions of the Conakry Agreement on the Implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Road Map for the Resolution of the Political Crisis in Guinea-Bissau are being implemented thanks to pressure from the Council and others, he added. The international community will continue to draw on dialogue, good offices, special political missions and sanctions to forge ahead, but ultimately, the solution is in the hands of Guinea‑Bissau’s leaders, he emphasized, expressing hope that elections to be held on 28 December will end the political uncertainty and result in a peaceful transfer of power.
Recalling his visits to Guinea-Bissau, he stressed that the lack of political will among the leadership is due to personal ambition and interests, not religious, ideological, ethnic or philosophical differences. Moreover, members of the military subjected to sanctions since 2012 have maintained respect for the constitutional order and abstained from interfering in political life. He reported that in his meetings with civil society and religious communities, he found broad support for lifting the sanctions imposed on military officers since political leaders are the ones causing instability.
He went on to underline that sanctions are not an end in themselves, but a means towards a goal, adding that the time has come for the Council to consider lifting the measures imposed on the military, if not the entire sanctions regime, once the electoral cycle and transfer of power are complete. Recalling the Council’s visit to Guinea‑Bissau in February, and his own long experience with the country, he said that he ultimately hopes to see it off the Council’s agenda altogether. In the meantime, it is vital for Guinea‑Bissau’s political leaders to ensure substantial progress to match the international support the country enjoys, he stressed.