Non-military measures aimed at ensuring international peace and security
What are international sanctions?
International sanctions are non-military measures aimed at ensuring international peace and security, and respect for human rights. They may include the partial termination of economic relations, restrictions on communications and diplomatic relations, and other measures.
What is the legal basis of international sanctions?
The possibility of international sanctions, a legitimate instrument of international policy, is enshrined in the United Nations (UN) Charter, which is the founding international agreement of the UN. The UN is an international organization founded in 1945 to be the one place on Earth where all the world’s nations can gather together, discuss common problems, and find shared solutions that benefit all of humanity. Currently it has 193 Member States.
Whom do the sanctions target?
Sanctions imposed by the United Nations and its Member States such as the US, Canada, the EU, the UK target states, natural or legal persons, and other entities whose actions, decisions or policies violate human rights, contribute to ethnic, territorial or religious conflicts, support terrorism or otherwise violate the most important norms and principles recognized by the international community.
What about the war in Ukraine?
UN Council’s permanent members are China, France, Russia, the UK and the US. On 24 February, 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine. The next day Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have demanded that Moscow immediately stop its attack on Ukraine.
What are examples of UN sanctions?
For example, it is set out in resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia:
- Arms embargo. All UN Member States are required to implement the arms embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Somalia.
- Charcoal ban. All UN Member States are required to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect import of charcoal from Somalia, whether or not such charcoal originated in Somalia.
- Assets Freeze. All Member States are required to ensure that any funds, financial assets or economic resources are prevented from being made available by their nationals or by any individuals or entities within their territories, to or for the benefit of individuals or entities designated by the Committee.
What are examples of sanctions imposed by UN Member States?
For example, on 3 March, 2022 Canada cut Russia and Belarus from Most-Favoured-Nation Tariff treatment after Russia invaded Ukraine. It results in the application of the General Tariff for goods imported into Canada that originate from Russia or Belarus. Under the General Tariff, a tariff rate of 35 per cent will now be applicable on virtually all of these imports. Russia and Belarus join North Korea as the only countries whose imports are subject to the General Tariff.
This measure is in addition to the many punitive actions that Canada and its allies have already taken against Russia and Belarus as a result of the illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, including other trade restrictions under the Special Economic Measures Act.
Where to find more information?
UN Charter: https://www.un.org/en/about-us/un-charter/full-text
UN sanctions: https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/information
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