The Security Council today decided to provide a “humanitarian carve-out” — a standing humanitarian exemption — to the asset freeze measures imposed by United Nations sanctions regimes.
Adopting resolution 2664 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2664(2022)) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (India), the 15-member organ decided that the provision, processing or payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources or the provision of goods and services necessary to ensure the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance or to support other activities that support basic human needs are permitted and are not a violation of the asset freezes imposed by that organ or its sanctions committees. It also decided that this provision will apply to the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions regime for a period of two years from today and expressed its intention to decide on the extension of its application prior to the date on which that regime would otherwise expire. It further called upon all States to cooperate fully with the 1267/1989/2253 Sanctions Committee and its Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team established by its resolution 1526 (2004).
By the text, the Council requested that providers use reasonable efforts to minimize the accrual of any benefits prohibited by sanctions to designated individuals or entities, including by strengthening risk management and due diligence strategies and processes. In emphasizing that paragraph 1 of the resolution’s text shall supersede any previous resolutions which conflict, it clarified that paragraph 1 shall supersede and replace paragraph 37 of its resolution 2607 (2021) and paragraph 10 of its resolution 2653 (2022); paragraph 1 however of its resolution 2615 (2021) shall remain in effect. It further decided that paragraph 1 of this resolution shall apply to all future asset freezes imposed or renewed by the Council in the absence of an explicit decision to the contrary.
Also by the text, the Council requested the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator to provide a briefing for each relevant Committee on the delivery of humanitarian assistance and other activities to support basic human needs 11 months from today and every 12 months afterwards. It further requested relevant providers to assist the Emergency Relief Coordinator in preparing such briefings by providing relevant information as expeditiously as feasible and within 60 days of any request from the Coordinator.
By further terms, the Council directed its Committees on sanctions implementation to assist Member States in this resolution’s proper understanding and full implementation through the issuance of Implementation Assistance Notices. It further directed these Committees to monitor implementation including any risk of diversion.
The Council also requested the Secretary-General issue a written report on the unintended adverse humanitarian consequences of that organ’s sanctions measures within 9 months and include recommendations on ways to minimize and mitigate such consequences. The Council expressed its intent to consider further steps as necessary to minimize and mitigate unintended adverse consequences and decided to remain seized of the matter.
Following the adoption of the resolution, several Council members commended that organ for its timely action as others underscored the need to address other areas concerning the use of sanctions.
The Council listened to the concerns and issues raised by States and non-State representatives and demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that all its imposed measures are consistent with international human rights law and international humanitarian law, the representative of Albania praised. It is a clear example of how the Council can swiftly and effectively respond.
The speaker for the Russian Federation welcomed the reflection of her country’s suggestions, including the need to assess potential humanitarian consequences prior to the imposition of a sanctions regime. The issue of secondary unilateral sanctions is not addressed, she noted. As Council resolutions are the only legitimate ones, any use of unilateral coercive measures is an invasion of that organ’s prerogatives, she stressed.
The greatest legal and political risk to humanitarian agencies does not come from the Council’s sanctions but rather the unilateral sanctions, some of which create great chaos and disaster, her colleague from China added. The Council must establish a clear arrangement for existing sanctions and review and lift such measures in a timely matter.
Explaining her country’s abstention, India’s speaker voiced her concern over the misuse of humanitarian carve-outs by terrorist groups to raise funds and recruit terrorist fighters. Under no circumstances can the garb of humanitarian cover be used by such groups to expand their activities and facilitate their political mainstreaming, she emphasized before expressing hope that the resolution’s shortcomings will be corrected in the future.
This is not a panacea — it will take time to have an effect, and more broadly, there remains more work to do on other aspects of the Organization’s sanctions, the representative for Ireland acknowledged. “However, for today, we can rest assured that the Council has taken decisive action in response to the appeals by humanitarians worldwide,” he said as a co-penholder.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 10:39 a.m.