Briefing on a High Level Review of UN Sanctions
Wednesday, 28 May 2014, 3:00pm

Opening Statement
by Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece
Ambassador Ms. Nancy Vraila

Greece is pleased to join Australia, Finland, and Sweden in sponsoring this important initiative. Greece has a long tradition of supporting Security Council sanctions. During its most recent tenure on the Security Council in 2005-2006, Greece chaired the sanctions committees on Côte d’Ivoire and on Sudan, as well as the Informal Working Group on General Issues of Sanctions.

In December 2005, Greece was asked to lead the Informal Working Group on General issues of Sanctions, a challenging mandate by the Security Council “to develop general recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of United Nations sanctions”.

The Informal Working Group presented recommendations to the Council in December 2006 proposing best practices in the following areas:

• Committee working methods;
• monitoring and enforcement of sanctions regimes;
• sanctions design, implementation and evaluation;
• evidentiary standards for the reports of the monitoring mechanisms; and
• a standard format for monitoring group reports.

In 2007, after completing its tenure on the Security Council, Greece sponsored at the United Nations, a symposium on ‘Enhancing the implementation of UN Sanctions.’ Building on the three sanctions processes (Interlake, Bonn-Berlin, and Stockholm), the Symposium explored the nature and scope of targeting, evaluated sanctions’ effectiveness, and assessed ways to enhance sanctions implementation.

The role of public communication in building awareness of and support for UN sanctions, requirements for making arms embargoes and technology control regimes effective, the link between capacity building for counter-terrorism and for sanctions implementation, and ways to refine and make sanctions, were also examined.

You have already heard from other speakers about the purpose of the High Level Review of United Nations Sanctions including the impact of the previous processes by Switzerland, Germany, and Sweden, and the Greek symposium in 2007.

So I will say a few words about the Working Group that will, as part of the High Level Review, be chaired by Greece on UN sanctions, regional organizations, and emerging challenges.

This Working Group will consider ways to optimize UN sanctions as an effective tool in response to serious and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

While the issue of sanctions raises questions as to when they should be employed, the focus of the High Level Review will be to make whatever sanctions the Security Council agrees to utilize, the most effective they can be.

It will also explore how UN sanctions can be better coordinated with regional mediation efforts and with the growing range of sanctions imposed by regional and subregional organizations. Opportunities for sanctions regimes to approach emerging threats, such as those related to natural resources and the environment, and the use of digital technologies and the internet for propagating hate speech, whilst consistent with international law, will be considered.

In carrying out its work, the Working Group will consult with a wide range of stakeholders and will submit its findings and recommendations to the Security Council in the Fall.

In concluding, I wish to stress that Greece, as a country strongly devoted to the primacy of international law, believes that sanctions used in a manner compatible with the United Nations Charter, Human Rights law, and the rule of law, can reinforce the integrity of the United Nations and contribute to the maintenance or restoration of international peace and security.