SC: Sanctions - preventing unintended consequences

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Trine Heimerback in the open briefing on 'General issues relating to sanctions - preventing their humanitarian and unintended consequences', 7 February 2022.

I thank Rosemary DiCarlo, UNDPPA USG, and Martin Griffiths, OCHA USG, for their useful statements today.

Norway is a staunch supporter of the UN and implements all sanctions adopted by the Security Council.

Sanctions incentivize relevant actors in conflict to seek settlement rather than further conflict. They aim at deterring unwanted behaviour and curbing the resources of the targeted actors.

Targeted sanctions are therefore an important tool to address threats to international peace and security. They can act as a deterrent against further violations of international law, including international humanitarian law, and violations and abuses of human rights law. Targeted and well-designed sanctions can also help protect civilians, prevent, and curb sexual violence, as well as the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict.

Norway attaches great importance to ensuring that sanctions are well designed and effectively implemented. This is how we ensure sanctions achieve their aims, and have the intended results. Members of the Security Council have the responsibility to ensure that UN sanction measures are adequately adjusted, and kept up to date to reflect changes on the ground.


We are concerned by reports from humanitarian NGOs that sanctions may negatively impact their work.

This is why Norway supports actions like the unanimous adoption of resolution 2615 at the end of last year on humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan. We are also pleased that the Council, over the past year, has adopted clear language stressing that the sanctions are not intended to have negative humanitarian consequences; and that International Law must be applied when implementing the sanctions.

Going forward, Member States and the Security Council must continue dialogue with all relevant actors, in particular humanitarian actors, to ensure that future measures adopted do not negatively impact the ability of humanitarian workers to carry out their work in a neutral and impartial manner.

Humanitarian exemptions must be drafted in such a way that provides the necessary clarity to all relevant actors. From Member States, to humanitarian actors, as well as the private sector – including the financial sector. We also need to bear in mind the impact that counter terrorism measures may have on humanitarian activities. But, we cannot accept falsely portraying sanctions as an alternative explanation of serious problems that are caused by other factors, including underlying drivers fuelling conflicts.

To ensure the effectiveness and legitimacy of UN sanctions regimes, the Security Council should ensure there are minimum due process guarantees for persons targeted by sanctions. In this respect, Norway welcomes the Secretary-General’s recent appointment of a new Ombudsperson for the Al-Qaida and ISIL sanctions regime, and would like to see the Council further reinforce this function, and ensure due process measures in all of its sanction regimes.