Global Policy Forum

Studies and Recommendations

In more than a decade of sanctions, hundreds of reports and policy papers have been written. Many such reports, discuss the humanitarian impact of sanctions, the sanctions' implications for international law, and related peace and security issues.

Major Initiatives

Making Targeted Sanctions Effective: Guidelines for the Implementation of UN Policy Options (February 14, 2003)

This final report of the Stockholm Process, headed by the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, offers recommendations to the United Nations in order to make targeted sanctions effective without adversely affecting the humanitarian population. Such recommendations include creating a database on past and existing sanctions, developing training programs for member states on how to enforce sanctions, and mandating renewed updates on the effects of targeted sanctions in specific situations.

Iraq Sanctions: Humanitarian Implications and Options for the Future (August 6, 2002)

A comprehensive report on UN sanctions against Iraq, issued by Global Policy Forum and eleven NGO partners on the twelfth anniversary of the original sanction resolution in the Security Council. The report discusses sharp differences in the Council over the sanctions, issues in humanitarian law, and the battle for the future of Iraq's oil riches.

International Law and Standards Regarding Sanction Regimes (March 2000)

A Peace Action policy paper that outlines the basis in international law for evaluating the legality of sanctions regimes.

Bonn-Berlin Process

Bonn International Center for Conversion in cooperation with Auswärtiges Amt (German Foreign Office) and the UN Secretariat, hosted two seminars in November 1999 and December 2000 on "smart-sanctions". Looking at arms embargoes and travel sanctions in a follow-up to the Interlaken process.

Interlaken Seminar and GIIS

Web site on "smart" sanctions produced in conjunction with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland. Contains background material on the Interlaken Seminaron targeting UN financial sanctions in May 1998 and the GIIS Colloquium on UN Sanctions and International Law in June 1999. Colloquium on UN Sanctions and International Law in June 1999.

Speech by Ambassador Monteiro of Portugal on Targeted Sanctions (December 7, 1998)

Fourth Freedom Forum's Symposium on targeted sanctions held in New York at the UN Plaza Hotel. In his speech, Monteiro speaks of "the need for continuous adjustments in order to maintain the intended focus of sanctions" and refers to receiving important and positive reaction by NGOs.

Sixteen Policy Recommendations on Sanctions

James A. Paul of Global Policy Forum made these recommendations at a forum of German parliamentarians in Bonn on March 31, 1998.

Other Initiatives


Human Rights and Targeted Sanctions: An Action Agenda for Strengthening Due Process Procedures (November 2009)

Rights groups criticize targeted sanctions of violating human rights law. The controversy erodes the credibility of UN sanctions and highlights the need to reform current listing and delisting procedures. Here, a group of experts consider how to improve the handling of the lists and thus to increase the credibility and legality of the UN sanctions process. (Sanctions and Security Research Program.)

Guinea: Military Rule Must End (October 16th, 2009)

A military junta has controlled Guinea since December 2008, using extreme force and violence. This report seeks to devise an "exit strategy" for the junta. It proposes  negotiations between the sub-regional organization, ECOWAS, and the junta.  If these fail it favors international sanctions. (International Crisis Group.)

Overdue Process: Protecting Human Rights while Sanctioning Alleged Terrorists

The 1267 Resolution allows sanctions against individuals to be enforced by the permanent five, beyond judicial review. The article argues that the current listing system, drawn-up on a biased basis, directly violates fundamental human rights. As such the Security Council's sanctioning policies are self-undermining, since they disregard the rights they are designed to protect. Lopez et al. emphasize that recognition of human rights is vital to international peace and security. The authors make valuable recommendations that respect the rights of the individual, as required by international law. (Fourth Freedom)


Strengthening Targeted Sanctions through Fair and Clear Procedures (March 30, 2006)

UN Security Council sanctions for individuals face criticism because an effective remedy to reverse them is lacking. The sanctions committee does not always notify listed persons about the sanctions and the reasons why the Council issued them. Although sanction committees have improved sanction procedures, various national courts have begun to explore the possibilities of reviewing Council resolutions relating to sanctions. (Watson Institute for International Studies)


Making Sanctions Smarter: Are Humanitarian Costs an Essential Element in the Success of Sanctions? (January 2003)

In a joint report, the Red Cross and the International Peace Research Institute examine how the international community has used sanctions in the past. This analysis aims to ensure a more effective use of sanctions in the future to minimize their humanitarian consequences while maintaining prospects for success.


Save the Children (UK) Iraq Briefing Memo (October 18, 2002)

Save the Children (UK) summarizes recent data on the humanitarian conditions in Iraq based on several UN sources. The memo includes, among other things, estimates of bulk food stocks, the adequacy of "Oil-for-Food" ration, rates of communicable diseases, and child nutrition.

Will Smart Sanctions Alleviate the Humanitarian Problem in Iraq? (May, 2002)

The international community has become increasingly critical of sanctions against Iraq, forcing the US and the UK to make changes in the rules. However, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq doubts that the new "smart sanctions" will alleviate the humanitarian situation of Iraqi civilians.


US Strategic Options for Iraq: Easier Said than Done (Spring, 2002)

The Washington Quarterly analyzes US policy options toward Iraq offering a patient approach, a moderate approach and a "bold" strategy, each including the costs, benefits and risks associated with each option. The author privileges the patient approach as offering more gain than pain.



US Policy Toward Iraq: Policy Alternatives (June 2001)

This position paper from Foreign Policy in Focus gives some background information and proposes alternative US policies on arms control, economic sanctions, human rights, no-fly zones, Iraqi opposition and environmental issues in Iraq.

Time for a Modified Approach (February 2001)

This paper from the Brookings Institute indicates the thinking of the Bush administration. The author worked with Richard Haass, now Director of the Policy Planning at the State Department.


Targeted Sanctions: A Brief Overview of Options (November 3, 2000)

A statement prepared by the NGO Working Group on Iraq proposes a "viable system to monitor and restrict the importing of weapons and military-related technology", as well as targeted financial sanctions as options to better target sanctions against Saddam Hussein.

Lloyd Axworthy Addresses Security Council on Sanctions (April 17, 2000)

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy, addressed the Security Council on the mixed record of sanctions over the past decade and proposed measures to increase effectiveness and limit civilian suffering in the future.

Proposed Standing Sanctions Committee (March 2000)

Contains the elements of the mandate for what would become a permanent Security Council committee of its elected countries to monitor all sanctions in use world-wide.

House of Commons Select Committee (January 27, 2000)

A British Parliamentary Committee on International Development takes a critical look at UK sanctions, especially policies towards Iraq.



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