Sunday, April 18, 2021

What is Sanction?


Sanctions are tools used to protect national or international security and help to stop financing crimes like terrorism, narcotics trafficking, illegal arms dealing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  They are restrictions imposed by countries and international organizations like the United Nations and European Union.

There are different ways sanctions can be imposed;

Country-Based Sanctions – These sanctions are designed to restrict or prohibit virtually all financial and commercial activity with a specific country or its government.  Some country-based programmes are less restrictive and prohibit activity with certain listed individuals, entities or organizations connected with that country.  Country-based sanctions included travel bans from a country, export and import bans.

Activity-Based Sanctions – These sanctions target certain listed individuals, entities and organizations connected with criminal activities.  Activity-based sanctions may include sanction on a specific industry such as arms trading.

The main objective of UN sanctions as set out in its charter is to implement decisions by its security council to maintain or restore international peace and security.  Also, only the UN Security Council has a mandate by the international community to apply sanctions that must be complied with by all UN member states.

Although, the United States and European Union have and continue to impose sanctions on individuals and countries.

UN sanctions are implemented based on the recommendation of UN Security Council.  However, there are unilateral sanctions imposed by individual countries for economic, political or strategic reasons.

Recent, unilateral sanction was initiated by the U.S against Russians politicians, tycoon, and businesses as a punishment for Russia’s interference in America’s 2016 presidential election.

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In severe cases, sanctions imposed on countries or individuals can extend to third parties or connected parties associated with the sanctioned countries or individuals.  Although, a special case of exemption can be granted where necessary to individuals or entities.

Unilateral sanctions can be independent of UN sanctions or reinforce UN sanctions to ensure full effect on sanctioned entities.  The UN maintains a publicly available sanction list, as well as other countries such as US and UK.

UN Sanction

Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List

EU Sanctions

Available on EU Financial Sanctions Database

US Sanctions

OFAC Sanctions Consolidated List

UK Sanctions

UK Consolidated List


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