Non-Aligned Movement’s stand on UNSC imposed sanctions

The Security Council -imposed sanctions remain an issue of serious concern to Non-Aligned Movement. At the Algiers Ministerial meet, 2014, it was explicitly mentioned in the final document that “ In accordance with the UN Charter, sanctions should be considered to be imposed only after all means of peaceful settlement of disputes under Chapter VI of the Charter have been exhausted and a thorough consideration undertaken of the short-term and long-term effects of such sanctions.

Sanctions are a blunt instrument, the use of which raises fundamental ethical questions of whether sufferings inflicted on vulnerable groups in the target country are legitimate means of exerting pressure. The objectives of sanctions are not to punish or otherwise exact retribution on the populace. In this regard, the objectives of sanctions regimes should be clearly defined, and that its imposition should be for a specified timeframe and be based on tenable legal grounds, and that it should be lifted as soon as the objectives are achieved. The conditions demanded of the State or party on which sanctions are imposed should be clearly defined and subject to periodic review. Sanctions should be imposed only when there exists a threat to international peace and security or an act of aggression, in accordance with the Charter, and that it is not applicable “preventively” in instances of mere violation of international law, norms or standards. Targeted sanctions may be a better alternative so long as the population of targeted State concerned is not victimised whether directly or indirectly.

On 11th February 2016, Statement by H.E. Mr Gholamali Khoshroo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Before the Security Council on General Issues Relating to Sanctions categorically stated that Sanctions should not be imposed unless there exists genuine threat, not perceived or fabricated, to international peace and security or in case an act of aggression;-Sanctions were not meant to punish the general population or aimed to achieving political objectives and should be considered as the last, and not first, resort and imposed only after all means of peaceful settlement of disputes under Chapter VI of the Charter have been exhausted.

The Iranian Ambassador further stated that imposition of sanctions should be decided only after a thorough consideration of the short-term and long-term effects on the rights recognized under international law, and in this regard, the objectives of sanction regimes should be clearly defined, based on tenable legal grounds, and their imposition should be for a specified time frame. Sanctions should be lifted as soon as the objectives are achieved, and above all Transparency, strategic insight and the need to deal with humanitarian impacts of the sanctions are also important elements that the Council and its subsidiaries organs should have in mind when they consider sanctions.

The Non-Aligned Movement believes that the sanctions always have a negative impact on the rights of nations recognized in the UN Charter as well as in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in particular the realization of the right to development.
They often interfere with the functioning of basic health and education systems, and undermine the right to work, and, in general, they are serious obstacles to development of the targeted States. Moreover, sanctions are a blunted instrument, the use of which raises fundamental ethical questions of whether sufferings inflicted on vulnerable groups in the target country are legitimate means of exerting pressure. Utmost care should be used by sanction committees to protect against the victimization of innocent civilians. Security Council sanction committees must be vigilant to the negative humanitarian impact on civilian population, economic effects on third parties and the criminalization of basic economic activities which may happen under sanction regime. NAM’s principled position remains firm that that the application of sanctions must be fully in line with the United Nations Charter, and even then used only as a last resort.

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