Briefing Paper: Nine Points on Designing UN Sanctions to Better Protect Humanitarian Activities

Testimony & Briefings | July 2, 2020 |

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UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

On 1 July, Dr Rebecca Brubaker briefed the 37th Annual International Committee of the Red Cross-New York University Seminar on International Humanitarian Law. These remarks built off an earlier presentation in March at the High-Level Retreat on International Humanitarian Law, UN Sanctions and Counter-Terrorism held at Greentree Estate and hosted by the Spanish Mission to the United Nations.

In these briefings, Dr Brubaker outlines nine specific areas in which Member States can build upon existing language in order to ensure that the design of UN sanctions measures are less likely to unduly hamper humanitarian activities and access or negatively impact the broader civilian population.

Each of these provisions are either based on current language or on recommendations issued in processes mandated by the Security Council, requested by the Secretary-General, or reviewed by wider coalitions of Member States and sanctions experts.

If the design of the current measures is not revisited, current practice is likely to contribute to the growing crisis of legitimacy around sanctions measures. In turn, this crisis of legitimacy may hamper UN sanctions effectiveness and the credibility of the Council implementing them. Drafters can pre-empt this brewing crisis by continuing to take proactive measures to tweak the design, as they have quite effectively done twice before by moving from comprehensive to more targeted sanctions and through the establishment of the office of the Ombudsperson.

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