SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1. The overall purpose of this Report is not to
comment on the merits of sanctions as a tool of foreign policy,
nor to justify or condemn their use against particular regimes,
but rather to assess the impact of sanctions on target regimes
in humanitarian/developmental terms and to examine existing proposals
to reduce both unintended consequences and unwarranted harm (paragraph
THE ROLE OF THE UK
2. The fact that NGOs were not allowed the opportunity
formally to provide input into the Government's review of sanctions
must be regarded as a lost opportunity (paragraph 11).
3. We remain concerned that the Government has
published insufficient information to allow for an informed debate
on international sanctions policy both within domestic
civil society and within multilateral organisations of which the
UK is a member. There is still a need for a comprehensive public
statement by the Government of its sanctions policy. We recommend
that the Government use the opportunity of its response to this
Report to make such a statement in a Command Paper (paragraph
THE IMPACT OF SANCTIONS
4. The Committee is concerned at the lack of reliable
information on the humanitarian impact of sanctions on Iraq. Relief
programmes will not be effective in the absence of such information
on the nature and causes of humanitarian distress in Iraq (paragraph
5. UNICEF estimated that, if the substantial reductions
in child mortality achieved throughout Iraq in the 1980s had continued
into the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths
of children under five in the country as a whole in the eight
year period from 1991 to 1998 (paragraph 27).
6. The UN panel concluded that "the gravity
of the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people is indisputable
and cannot be overstated." Despite concerns about accurate
information, there can be no doubt that conditions inside Iraq
have declined appreciably since 1990. Evidence suggests that Iraqis
are lacking essential goods and services such as potable water,
nutrition and healthcare as well as longer term requirements such
as education and social stability (paragraph 32).
7. Jeremy Carver, Partner and Head of International
Law at Clifford Chance, argued that "It is not the imposition
or maintenance of international sanctions, but the policies of
the Iraqi government which are the primary cause of this suffering
COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ
8. There is a clear consensus that the humanitarian
and developmental situation in Iraq has deteriorated seriously
since the imposition of comprehensive economic sanctions. Whilst
details are often difficult to come by or to verify, even those
who wish to maintain these sanctions accept that children, the
ill, the vulnerable in Iraqi society are suffering. It is as obvious
that Saddam Hussein and his ruling elite continue to enjoy a privileged
existence. Sanctions have clearly failed to hurt those responsible
for past violations of international law. The deterioration of
infrastructure, the limited supply of food, the absence of drugs
all affect the poor to a disproportionate degree.
Not all this humanitarian distress is the direct
result of the sanctions regime. There is a tendency to blame all
such distress on sanctions in the absence of clear evidence. Moreover,
it appears that Saddam Hussein is quite prepared to manipulate
the sanctions regime and the exemptions scheme to his own ends,
even if that involves hurting ordinary Iraqi people. The responsibility
for the plight of the Iraqi people must ultimately lie with the
This does not, however, entirely excuse the international
community from a part in the suffering of Iraqis. The reasons
sanctions were imposed in the first place were precisely the untrustworthiness
of Saddam Hussein, his well documented willingness to oppress
his own people and neighbours, his contempt for humanitarian law.
The international community cannot condemn Saddam Hussein for
such behaviour and then complain that he is not allowing humanitarian
exemptions to relieve suffering. What else could be expected?
A sanctions regime which relies on the good faith of Saddam Hussein
is fundamentally flawed.
We do not intend to set out a foreign policy agenda
for our relations with Iraq. It is clear from the resolution recently
presented to the UN by the United Kingdom Government that there
is a desire to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people. Whatever
the wisdom of the original imposition of sanctions, careful thought
must now be given as to how to move from the current impasse without
giving succour to Saddam Hussein and his friends. Any move away
from comprehensive sanctions should go hand in hand with measures
designed to target the real culprits, not the poor of Iraq but
their leadership. Possibilities include a concerted attempt to
target and either freeze or sequester the assets of Saddam Hussein
and those connected to him, and the indictment of Saddam Hussein
and his close associates as war criminals. To bring to justice
Saddam Hussein is also a humanitarian imperative and this should
be done without delay.
We find it difficult, however, to believe that
there will be a case in the future where the UN would be justified
in imposing comprehensive economic sanctions on a country. In
an increasingly interdependent world such sanctions cause significant
suffering. However carefully exemptions are planned, the fact
is that comprehensive economic sanctions only further concentrate
power in the hands of the ruling elite. The UN will lose credibility
if it advocates the rights of the poor whilst at the same time
causing, if only indirectly, their further impoverishment (paragraphs
38 to 42).
REGIONAL SANCTIONS REGIMES
9. We criticise the United Nations for not protesting
immediately on the imposition of draconian sanctions against Burundi.
The UN has a duty to monitor regional sanctions regimes and intervene
when human rights are ignored or humanitarian needs neglected.
We recommend that such a mechanism be implemented as soon as possible
10. It is essential that no sanctions regime should
be imposed without accompanying measures to ensure that humanitarian
goods and services are exempted from its provisions (paragraph
11. The experience of Sierra Leone raises questions
about the delegation of authority to police UN or other sanctions
regimes to regional or sub-regional bodies. The UK, as a leading
member of a number of sanctioning organisations, should ensure
that whenever responsibility for the enforcement of sanctions
is delegated to regional or sub-regional authorities, that those
authorities should respect the provisions of the resolution and
international human rights, including provisions for the exemption
of humanitarian goods and services. If they fail to do so, then
their authority to enforce sanctions should be rescinded. The
Government should not support any sanctions regime UN,
EU or regional that does not make adequate provision for
the exemption of humanitarian goods and services (paragraph 49).
12. We recommend that, in its response to this
Report, the Government give an account of its policy towards regional
sanctions regimes, including means by which the Government could
provide assistance to developing countries to build their capacity
to design, implement and monitor regional sanctions regimes in
accordance with humanitarian principles (paragraph 50).
13. The Committee recognises that sanctions, unless
carefully targeted, have the capacity to kill more children than
armed warfare (paragraph 54).
14. International human rights instruments provide
widely accepted principles of conduct in international affairs
against which decisions to impose sanctions should be measured
and justified (paragraph 56).
15. The Committee is concerned at the disproportionate
impact of sanctions on certain groups in society (paragraph 59).
16. The Committee recommends that all sanctions
regimes should be accompanied by regular independent impact assessments.
Sanctioning states and organisations should, as a matter of policy
in the course of resolutions, affirm that vulnerable populations
should be spared the adverse consequences of sanctions (paragraph
17. We recommend that, in its response to this
Report, the Government provide the Committee with details of existing
measures taken to implement financial sanctions and a strategy
for the relevant government departments to improve the effectiveness
of such implementation, including the potential for the use of
interdiction software. We are not convinced that enough effort
is being expended by the United Kingdom Government to introduce
effective procedures to implement financial sanctions. The United
Kingdom is a world financial centre and a permanent member of
the UN Security Council. If the United Kingdom does not take financial
sanctions seriously, this fatally weakens the prospects for effective
international action (paragraph 71).
18. The Committee recognises the importance of
information gathering in the implementation of sanctions. Financial
sanctions will not be viable in the absence of timely and accurate
information on the targeted states and individuals. In its review
of sanctions, the Government fails to address the issue of information
gathering. We believe that the most appropriate level at which
to coordinate and direct financial sanctions is at the international
level (paragraph 77).
19. At present, the UN Secretariat lacks the ability
to gather the necessary information and the quality of national
reporting to individual sanctions committees is poor. We consider
it totally unacceptable that there is no individual or organisation
within the United Nations with overall responsibility for targeting
financial sanctions, for example against those who continue to
enrich themselves while their people suffer. We recommend that
the United Kingdom argue and gather support for the establishment
of a properly staffed and financed sanctions unit within the United
Nations to receive and coordinate information on financial sanctions
enforcement and to press national governments to implement such
financial sanctions promptly and effectively, in line with UN
resolutions. In addition, an Office of Foreign Assets Control,
on similar lines to that in the USA, should be set up in the United
Kingdom (paragraph 78).
20. The Committee recommends that the Government,
in its response, include an assessment of the implication of off-shore
financial centres for the implementation of financial sanctions
regimes (paragraph 81).
21. The Committee has heard very little evidence
of any efforts being made to identify and seize hidden Iraqi assets
such as those described by the Iraqi opposition groups (paragraph
22. The Committee welcomes the work of the Interlaken
Seminars in elaborating a model law for the implementation of
UN financial sanctions. In its response, we recommend that the
Government give details of what, if any, aspects of United Kingdom
law need to be changed to bring it into line with the Interlaken
model law on the implementation of UN financial sanctions (paragraph
23. We recommend that there be a concerted international
effort, sponsored by the United Nations, to introduce by a target
date in all countries the necessary legislation for the implementation
of UN sanctions regimes, including financial legislation. For
developing countries, donors should consider how they can assist
in this important aspect of capacity building (paragraph 89).
24. The Committee believes that although serious
difficulties remain in the tracking of financial transactions
and location of financial assets, targeted financial sanctions
appear to be workable. It is apparent that major efforts will
need to be expended to ensure that the international community
as a whole, and individual member states in particular, acquire
the necessary technical expertise to implement and enforce such
sanctions (paragraph 91).
25. We reiterate our recommendations made in previous
reports that the Government tighten controls on arms brokers and
introduce end-use controls and push for similar measures to be
adopted throughout the EU (paragraph 97).
26. The failure to enforce effectively the sanctions
regime against UNITA is a scandal which must be urgently addressed
by the international community (paragraph 98).
27. We are concerned that, as a whole, the quality
of national reporting to sanctions committees remains low, thereby
reducing the effectiveness of sanctions regimes. We welcome the
Minister's assurances that the Government will be giving an extra
priority to intelligence gathering in regard to sanctions regimes
imposed by organisations of which the UK is a member. We request
details of the further action, procedures and resources dedicated
to intelligence gathering with regard to sanctions regimes. The
UK, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has an important
role to play in encouraging other member states to be more active
in the monitoring and enforcement of UN sanctions regimes (paragraph
28. The Committee very much welcomes the initiative
of Ambassador Fowler in establishing the expert studies and commends
the Government for supporting the initiative. This does not address,
however, the more general problem of the lack of capacity of the
sanctions committees to monitor and enforce sanctions regimes
effectively. The UN must provide the human and financial resources
necessary for the sanctions committees to do their jobs properly.
We also ask the Government, in its response, to spell out what
proposals it is putting to the UN to improve the capacity of sanctions
committees. In addition to improving the capacity of sanctions
committees, there is also a need to improve the capacity of countries
surrounding a targeted state to monitor and restrict cross border
trade in prohibited goods and services (paragraph 101).
29. We trust that the Government will actively
support and participate in the German Government's attempt to
elaborate what has been described as "the next step"
of smarter sanctions: arms embargoes and travel sanctions (paragraph
30. We welcome the publication of the draft Bill
to ratify the United Kingdom's commitment to the international
criminal court. We trust that the Bill will be included in the
legislative programme of the next session to ensure that the United
Kingdom is one of the first 60 states to ratify the agreement
so as to bring it into force (paragraph 103).
31. The sudden withdrawal of development assistance
can often have a similar or greater impact to the use of traditional
sanctions. Full consideration should be given to the humanitarian/developmental
impact of withdrawing government-to-government development assistance
32. The Committee requests that the Government
provide the Committee with details of all countries to whom it
has suspended development assistance for political reasons. This
list should be updated annually in the Department for International
Development's Departmental Annual Report (paragraph 110).
33. The Committee welcomes DFID's use of development
partnerships to encourage good governance, respect for human rights
and the elimination of corruption (paragraph 112).
34. We believe that the provision of oil
described as humanitarian by the Minister solely to municipalities
controlled by opponents of Milosevic serves to undermine fatally
the impartiality and neutrality of humanitarian assistance. It
is one thing to support principled humanitarian aid but quite
another to use the risk of diversion as an excuse to supply such
assistance solely to one's political allies (paragraph 117).
35. More generally, we agree with the views of
Dennis MacNamara and others on the danger that the definition
of humanitarian, as opposed to developmental, assistance is too
tightly drawn. The result is an effective embargo on what are
in fact humanitarian requirements (paragraph 118).
36. The "dumping" of humanitarian assistance
which undermines local production, is unacceptable and should
have been avoided through prior impact assessments (paragraph
37. The humanitarian response to the imposition
of sanctions must take account of local procurement and of the
local economy in the provision of humanitarian assistance (paragraph
38. Sanctions regimes must take account of issues
such as the level of economic development in the country targeted
and groups that are likely to be disproportionately affected by
the imposition of sanctions. Furthermore, sanctions regimes should
be sufficiently flexible so as to allow for fine-tuning in response
to any unforeseen adverse humanitarian consequences (paragraph
39. The Committee endorses the findings of the
Note by the President of the Security Council on the Work of the
Sanctions Committees and recommends that a standing list of life-saving
supplies be agreed, in consultation with national, international
and non-governmental providers of humanitarian aid, for exemption
from sanctions regimes (paragraph 127).
40. The Committee further recommends that other
means of expediting the delivery of humanitarian goods and services
be considered including institutional exemptions for members of
the UN system, their non-governmental implementing partners, and
international members of the ICRC and IFRC, coupled with increased
end-use monitoring (paragraph 131).
41. The Committee agrees that whenever sanctions
are imposed, serious thought must also be given to, and preparations
made for, a future in which they have been lifted (paragraph 133).
42. The Committee believes that sanctioning organisations
have an obligation to ensure that targeted states are adequately
reintegrated into the international community once sanctions have
been lifted to ensure that the long term humanitarian impact on
the population is minimised. We recommend that once sanctions
have been lifted donors bilateral and multilateral
should agree a coordinated strategy for post-sanctions reconstruction.
We invite the Government, in its response to this Report, to provide
the Committee with details of any preparations it is making for
the eventual lifting of existing sanctions regimes such as those
imposed against Iraq (paragraph 136).
43. The Committee is concerned that, in many cases,
existing mechanisms for monitoring the humanitarian/developmental
impact of sanctions are inadequate. We recommend that all sanctions
regimes should have provision for an ongoing system of monitoring
their impact. To this end, use should be made of existing expertise
in the field from UN organisations, ECHO and other governmental
and non-governmental organisations (paragraph 138).
44. The Committee agrees that serious thought
must be given to exit strategies from sanctions regimes. The Committee
requests that, in its response to this Report, the Government
provides an assessment of the merits of placing a time limit on
the application of sanctions regimes (paragraph 141).
45. The current debate on the future of sanctions
is a welcome product of the renewed international commitment to
the political, economic and social rights of the poor. We are
convinced that these rights are infringed by the blunt instrument
of comprehensive economic sanctions. To target sanctions against
those truly responsible, to gather the necessary intelligence
and invest in the required technology, require an internationally
coordinated investment of both money and effort. The United Kingdom
must take a lead by putting in place a system which can target
and monitor sanctions effectively, instead of the present, somewhat
casual approach. As importantly, the United Nations should convene
an international conference to ensure a global commitment to a
fairer and more effective sanctions policy (paragraph 142).