Outgoing chairs of Security Council subsidiary bodies told the 15-member organ today that in-person visits to the countries concerned are critical for both gathering first-hand information about the effects of sanctions and correcting misunderstandings about the purpose of such measures, as they reported on the challenges that COVID-19 posed to their working methods over the last two years.
Over the course of the meeting, the chairs of 10 subsidiary bodies briefed the 15-member Council on the work of Committees and Working Groups concerning, inter alia, the situations in seven African and Middle Eastern countries.
Tarek Ladeb (Tunisia), Chair of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations and the Committees established pursuant to resolutions 1373 (2001) and 2048 (2013) concerning, respectively, counter-terrorism and Guinea-Bissau, pointed out that the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) made 15 country-assessment visits over the past two years. The 1373 Committee’s work, however, has been challenged by both COVID-19 and by the Organization’s austerity measures. While good governance of United Nations resources must be a priority, this cannot come at the expense of the Council’s efficient, meaningful work. Also reporting on the 2048 Committee’s working methods, he pointed out that the pandemic rendered visits to Guinea-Bissau impossible. Such visits could have positively impacted the Committee’s work by allowing a direct assessment of the situation on the ground.
Inga Rhonda King (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions and the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2140 (2014) concerning Yemen, detailed hybrid working methods over the past two years. While a proposed visit to Yemen would have been an opportunity to raise awareness of the purpose and scope of relevant sanctions measures and to receive first-hand information on their implementation and impact, it did not occur due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sven Jürgenson (Estonia), Chair of the Committees established pursuant to resolutions 1518 (2003) and 1591 (2005) concerning, respectively, Iraq and Sudan, detailed cooperation between the 1518 Committee and the Permanent Mission of Iraq to reduce the number of listed entities by more than 80 per cent over the past two years. On the 1591 Committee, he emphasized that building trust and cooperation between the body and Sudan was a matter of priority and suggested that his successor organize a Chair’s visit to that country. Addressing misconceptions concerning United Nations sanctions, he stressed that sanctions target spoilers to peace and that such measures “serve to help the population”.
Abdou Abarry (Niger), Chair of the Committees established pursuant to resolutions 1533 (2004) and 2127 (2013) concerning, respectively, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, reported on his visits to both countries in October and November 2021. Such visits are essential, as they provide Committees with first-hand information on sanctions; enable discussion with high-level Government representatives, civil society and the diplomatic community; and facilitate hearing local views on the impact of sanctions. He stressed that targeted sanctions are important for stigmatizing those who threaten peace and security and noted that the consistent goal of his briefings with regional States has been to clarify that arms embargoes, freezing of assets and travel bans are intended to improve peace and security.
Hai Anh Pham (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2206 (2015) concerning South Sudan, pointed out that the Committee was the first subsidiary body to return to in-person meetings, and was able to conduct a visit to South Sudan in November 2021. That visit took place during an important moment, as the Council prepares to review arms-embargo measures in May 2022. Reporting on the Committee’s efforts to explore new ways to support South Sudan in achieving progress that enables the lifting of sanctions, he expressed hope that the Committee would make visits in the future, not only to that country but also to others in the region.
The meeting began at 2:58 p.m. and ended at 4:04 p.m.