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New Zealand pushes for change on UN sanctions

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

18 April, 2000

New Zealand pushes for change on UN sanctions

The United Nations Security Council needs to give priority to "a more focused and refined approach to sanctions to reduce humanitarian suffering" a New Zealand statement to UN Security Council said today.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Phil Goff, said that the "Security Council has put forward a number of practical proposals for improving the work of the sanctions committees. Welcome as they were, they did not go far enough".

The New Zealand statement was made to an open debate on "general issues relating to sanctions" in the Security Council today.

Mr Goff noted that "New Zealand would push to accelerate a more selective approach that would target the interests of regimes and elites identified as responsible for the threat to peace and security.

"Comprehensive sanctions were a blunt instrument which had not been universally enforced and on which there has been little reliable information or monitoring of their actual impact.

"They could cause devastating suffering and long-term degradation to civilian populations, far in excess of the damages inflicted by armed conflict and war.

"Sanctions have also had a limited record for achieving their goals. Compliance has often been inadequate or uneven. Where they had been imposed on authoritarian regimes they often led to manipulation and profiteering by the elite."

New Zealand's statement, recommended that the Security Council focus on "designing better targeted sanction regimes with clear objectives and exit strategies, regular reviews and stronger institutional support".

"There were a number of measures that could improve the effectiveness of sanctions regimes, the statement went on to say. "Up to now, the international community had relied on existing structures and resources to manage the application and enforcement of sanctions". The UN Secretariat would need to be provided with "the necessary technical expertise and advice to make sanctions work."


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