ACTION ALERT: Support the UN Resolution Against Coercive Sanctions

November 10th, 2019 - by Peoples Mobilization & Government Accounting Office

ACTION ALERT: Support the UN Resolution Against Unilateral Coercive Measures

Peoples Mobilization

(November 8, 2019) — Dear Friends of Peace and Justice in the US and Around the World,

As you are well aware, for decades the US government and its European allies have been illegally using unilateral economic sanctions (“Unilateral Coercive Measures”) as a weapon of war and mass destruction to topple governments that do not submit to the US and European states’ domination of their country. The main objective of these unilateral sanctions is to destroy those small countries’ economies and bring their people to their knees through mass starvation so they will be left with no choice but to revolt against their own government.

This criminal, anti-human policy of targeting defenseless populations, which is in clear violation of United Nations Charter and international law, has now become the new weapon of choice for these powerful states since they are faced with strong opposition from the majority their own population to the endless wars of occupation that they are already involved in.

Through these illegal sanctions, these powerful states hope they can achieve their imperialistic goal of “regime change” and domination in a silent, calculated manner without arousing the wrath of their own and international public opinion.

According to some UN reports, there are currently over 33 countries (15 percent of all countries of the world) and dozens of non-state entities that are targeted by these illegal sanctions. Among them are Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Belarus, and many others, whose population are suffering from hunger, lack of medicine, homelessness and disruption of their educational system and other vital social services.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq in 1991, fifteen years of US economic sanctions led to the death of half a million Iraqi children. In Venezuela today, over 40,000 people have died as a result of illegal sanctions and the number is rising daily.

In response to these blatant criminal acts, which are nothing but crime against humanity, the Group of 77 countries + China is submitting a resolution to the General Assembly of the United Nations, which, among other measures:

1. Urges the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of unilateral economic, financial or trade measures that are not authorized by relevant organs of the United Nations, that are inconsistent with the principles of international law or the Charter of the United Nations …;

2. Calls upon the international community to condemn and reject the imposition of the use of such measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries …;

(to read the full text of the draft resolution click here)

This proposed resolution is currently being discussed at the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly and the Second Committee will be taking the final vote on it on November 14.

We consider it our paramount responsibility to mobilize massive support for the passage of this resolution by the UN General Assembly. To this end, we have drafted a public letter of support for the resolution to be signed by a massive number of organizations and individuals in the US and around the world to be delivered to the voting session of the UN Second Committee on November 14.

We urge all defenders of peace and justice to sign this letter. We need to collect a large number of signatures in a short period to time. We request that you act urgently.

* To add your name as an individual, please CLICK HERE.

* To add the name of your organization, please CLICK HERE
(Please do not use this link if you are signing as an individual).

Economic Sanctions: Agencies Assess Impacts on Targets, and Studies Suggest Several Factors Contribute to Sanctions’ Effectiveness

Government Accounting Office

WASHINGTON (October 2, 2019) — When foreign countries engage in activities that threaten US interests, the US government can impose economic sanctions. For example, the United States may prohibit certain exports or freeze a foreign entity’s US assets to try to stop weapons proliferation or human rights abuses.

The Departments of State, Commerce, and the Treasury have assessed sanctions’ impacts—for example, on a targeted country’s economy or trade. But they haven’t determined whether sanctions really work—nor are the agencies required to do so. Academic studies show sanctions are more effective when they’re implemented through an international organization like the UN. Country-Based and Country-Related US Sanctions Programs, as of July 2019

What GAO Found

The Departments of the Treasury (Treasury), State (State), and Commerce (Commerce) each undertake efforts to assess the impacts of specific sanctions on the targets of those sanctions. For example, Treasury and State both analyze or compile information on sanctions programs’ impacts, such as on a target country’s economy.

In addition, Commerce assesses prospective impacts of some sanctions on targeted countries and others. According to Treasury and State officials, the agencies also use Intelligence Community assessments to gauge sanctions’ impacts. However, agency officials cited several difficulties in assessing sanctions’ effectiveness in meeting broader US policy goals, including challenges in isolating the effect of sanctions from other factors as well as evolving foreign policy goals.

According to Treasury, State, and Commerce officials, their agencies have not conducted such assessments on their own. However, they stated that agency assessments of sanctions’ impacts often contribute to broader interagency discussions that examine the effectiveness of sanctions in achieving policy goals.

The academic studies GAO reviewed suggest that several factors have contributed to more-effective sanctions. Studies examining factors that contribute to the effectiveness of sanctions in changing targeted countries’ behavior provided evidence that sanctions have been more effective when (1) they were implemented through an international organization (e.g., the United Nations) or (2) the targeted countries had some existing dependency on, or relationship with, the United States, such as a trade or military relationship.

In addition, studies examining factors that increased sanctions’ economic impact provided evidence that the impact has generally been higher when the sanctions were more comprehensive in scope or severity, or—similar to the findings on effectiveness in changing behavior—were imposed through an international organization. Sanctions may also have unintended consequences for targeted countries, such as negative impacts on human rights or public health. In some studies, larger economic impacts were associated with more unintended consequences.

Why GAO Did This Study

The United States maintains dozens of economic sanctions programs to counteract activities that threaten US national interests. There are currently 20 country-based or country-related sanctions programs, according to lists of sanctions programs published by Treasury and State (see map).

Additional countries may also be affected by sanctions programs that target entities regardless of their geographic location, such as counter-narcotics sanctions. Treasury, State, and Commerce, among other agencies, coordinate to implement these programs. Sanctions may place restrictions on a country’s entire economy, targeted sectors of the economy, or individuals or corporate entities.

Reasons for sanctions range widely, including support for terrorism, narcotics trafficking, weapons proliferation, and human rights abuses. Economic restrictions can include, for example, denying a designated entity access to the US financial system, freezing an entity’s assets under US jurisdiction, or prohibiting the export of restricted items. GAO was asked to review issues related to the implementation and effectiveness of economic sanctions.

Among other things, this report (1) examines the extent to which US agencies assess the effectiveness of sanctions, and (2) identifies factors that have been shown by publicly available studies to contribute to the effectiveness of economic sanctions. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed officials at Treasury, State, and Commerce and in the US Intelligence Community.

GAO also reviewed academic studies that used rigorous statistical methods to analyze the impact and effectiveness of economic sanctions across many sanctions programs.

For more information, contact Kimberly Gianopoulos at (202) 512-8612 or