PEJOURNAL – An American journal has published research articles explaining the ineffectiveness of UN Security Council sanctions, stating that a number of factors, including China and Russia’s opposition to the sanctions, have been implicated.
Foreign Policy Magazine writes that the UN sanctions system is facing challenges that have hampered its effective functioning.
China and Russia’s opposition to the sanctions, along with efforts by countries such as South Sudan and South Korea to intimidate and harass experts involved in identifying sanctions violations, has been influential.
The UN Security Council first targeted a country in 1966 with economic sanctions.
At the time, the Security Council imposed a series of trade and military sanctions aimed at ousting Ian Smith, then Prime Minister of Rhodesia.
Harold Wilson, the then British Prime Minister who was a major supporter of the sanctions, predicted that the regime under Smith would fall within a few weeks. This happened not in a few weeks, but after more than a decade.
The sanctions had little effect on Rhodesia’s economy as South Africa’s apartheid regime, still under Portuguese colonial rule, continued to trade with the Smith regime under UN sanctions. Smith remained in power until 1979, when the Crown Prince of Wales formally declared Zimbabwe independence.
Regardless, the gravity of the sanctions has since increased to put pressure on some countries, with the UN Security Council imposing designed and executed sanctions 30 times on targets of various groups and countries, including Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Iran.
Today, the Security Council has 14 sanctions systems in place. The implementation of each of these sanctions is the responsibility of a committee composed of representatives of all 15 members of the Security Council and a panel of experts.
For much of the world, sanctions are often seen as a tool for Western countries to put pressure on other countries.
Russia, for example, has recently launched a crackdown on a group of UN experts responsible for imposing sanctions.
Russia says most of the group’s inspectors will be selected from Western countries.
With the same argument, China is making efforts to reduce the resources available to the United Nations.
“The whole system of sanctions is collapsing in an unprecedented way,” said Dino Mahtani, a former member of the UN panel of experts on the implementation of the Congo sanctions.