Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs


1. A list of sanctions adopted by the UK since 1990, including details of their scope, dates of introduction (and, where appropriate removal) and humanitarian exemptions is at Annex A (page 5).


2. Where unfolding events lead to calls for the imposition of sanctions or changes to an existing regime the Foreign and Commonwealth Office generally chair an inter-Departmental coordination meeting for all interested Departments to discuss the UK position. The FCO is responsible for keeping other Whitehall Departments informed of negotiations as they develop (eg at the UN, or in Brussels) and for coordinating instructions to UK negotiators on the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, or EU texts. The FCO coordinate drafting of Orders in Council to give effect to UN sanctions in the UK and Dependent Territories; and are responsible for promulgation of all new sanctions regimes to the Parliament and media. The FCO also chair inter-Departmental meetings which consider potential breaches of sanctions regimes except those relating to UK export control objectives (which are chaired by the DTI—see below).

3. Other Departments with an interest in sanctions, and their respective roles and responsibilities are as follows:

Department of Trade and Industry The DTI is the licensing authority for certain activities controlled by sanctions, including the export of goods, the supply of goods from third countries where this is controlled in line with binding UN sanctions and also related acts. All applications are circulated to other Departments with an interest (eg the MOD and FCO). The DTI also coordinate drafting of certain secondary legislation, where this is necessary to apply or enforce the measures it administers.

Department for International Development DFID advise on the possible humanitarian impact of sanctions and how to mitigate them; and on humanitarian exemptions.

Ministry of Defence MOD advises on issues relating to arms embargoes; provides analysis and reporting on monitoring related to specific UN, EU and other sanctions; and participates in enforcement action where UK forces are involved.

Customs and Excise Customs and Excise is responsible for:

 — preventing the illegal export or import of goods to or from destinations covered by sanctions;

 — the detection, investigation and, where appropriate, prosecution of breaches of the sanctions controls for which it is responsible. These controls include those on UK trader involvement in supplies from third countries;

Treasury The Treasury is responsible for implementing and enforcing sanctions which restrict payments, movements and change of ownership of capital and exchange. HM Treasury has appointed the Bank of England to act as its agent.

Home Office Responsible with the FCO for implementing visa restrictions and certain other sanctions; and for ensuring that UN sanctions and other sanctions as appropriate are given effect in the Crown Dependencies.

Department of the Environment,Transport and the Regions DETR is responsible for enforcing flight bans and other international transport sanctions.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport DCMS is responsible for implementing and enforcing sporting sanctions.

Export Credits Guarantee Department ECGD have an interest in any sanctions prohibiting or restricting the provision of Government financed export credit, or which might jeopardise repayments on existing business that they have insured.


4. The Department for International Development participated fully alongside other Departments, in the Government's review of sanctions policy. DFID's main contribution was to highlight the potential humanitarian impact of sanctions regimes; recognition of this as an important factor to be considered has been reflected in the policy of smarter sanctions, ie those designed to hit the regime rather than ordinary people.

5. DFID participates fully in the Government's consideration of new sanctions regimes. The Overseas Development Institute, at DFID's request and with DFID funding, organised a seminar in December 1998 entitled "Can Sanctions be Smarter?" DFID will follow up the findings of this seminar by commissioning further studies which will assist in providing practical guidance on humanitarian exemptions and in the design of smarter sanctions. DFID has recently agreed to contribute through the UN Secretariat to the cost of expert studies into targeted sanctions against UNITA (Angola). It intends to explore further options for making humanitarian exemptions more effective as set out in paragraph 16 of the Government's Memorandum (see Evidence, p. 3).

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

May 1999

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