Under the Russian Presidency for the month of February, the Security Council held today an open debate on the UN sanctions regime and the unintended humanitarian effects that these sanctions may have on the civilian population. The UN Under-Secretary-General Rosmary DiCarlo and Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths were invited to brief the Council. Mrs. DiCarlo focused on the functionality of sanctions, their legitimacy based on the UN Charter, and the mandate of the Security Council itself in the maintenance of peace and security. She provided the Council with a brief background of the evolution of the UN sanctions regime that has moved from general sanctions imposed on a country to targeted sanctions for individuals or entities related to specific issues. Meanwhile, Secretary-General Griffiths noted that despite the evolution and radical changes that the UN sanctions regime has undergone, it remains a fact that they still continue to have a negative effect on the delivery of humanitarian aid to many countries. According to him, a general mechanism should be created within the sanctions regime to automatically allow the passage of aid. The Council must make sure that humanitarian aid cannot be affected in any way by the sanctions regime.
In his speech, Ambassador Hoxha focused on the system of monitoring and continuous evaluation of the sanctions regime to make them more effective and useful, as well as the need for their full compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. In this regard, Ambassador Hoxha underlined that targeted sanctions remain a necessary tool for the maintenance of peace and stability, for the prevention of conflicts or their escalation. Above targeted sanctions are another tool in the Security Council toolbox to hold accountable serious violators of international and humanitarian law. It is for this reason when the SC is unable to act, that Albania has joined and is joining the EU sanctions regime.
All member states of the Council agreed that despite the very positive developments that UN sanctions regimes have undergone, there is still room to work together to make them more effective by avoiding any possible negative humanitarian impact that they may have on the civilian population.