Researchers presenting the report

Members of the research team Maja Liechti and Paul Hausmann from Geneva Graduate Institute presenting the report on the impact of sanctions on humanitarian work.


The analysis is based on semi-structured interviews with 20 humanitarian practitioners and five sanctions experts working for the UN or conducting academic research on the impact of sanctions on humanitarian work. Findings are summarised, divided by administrative and operational challenges sanctions pose to the humanitarian work, measures the organizations have adopted to address these challenges, and related measures suggested by sanctions experts.

The research team, composed of Paul Hausmann, Elodie Pearson and Maja Liechti, has worked on the report that also addresses the potential impact of intensifying advocacy for humanitarian sanction exemptions, coordinating advocacy efforts with other organisations, and developing a unified message, as well as collaborating with relevant UN bodies to coordinate advocacy measures.

The reportss key recommendations include advocating for more general humanitarian exemptions; collaborating with relevant UN bodies to coordinate advocacy measures; and engaging in multi-stakeholder consultations with sanctioning governments.

Recommendations also include continuing to document the impact of sanctions on humanitarian assistance and coordination of information-sharing with constituencies of the organizations whose humanitarian work is affected by sanctions.

In the meantime, a recent resolution by the UN Security Council has raised hopes of significant positive changes to the UN sanctions regime. Security Council resolution adopted on 9 December provided for a standing humanitarian exemption to the asset freeze measures imposed by UN sanctions regimes, and requested a report from the UN Secretary-General on the unintended adverse humanitarian consequences of such sanctions within nine months, including recommendations on ways to minimize and mitigate such consequences.

The issue of the negative impacts of international sanctions was addressed at the the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, notably in the Statement The Things That Make For Peace.”

Statement of the WCC 11th Assembly “The Things That Make For Peace: Moving the World to Reconciliation and Unity”