Research Handbook on UN Sanctions and International Law
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Research Handbook on UN Sanctions and International Law

Edited by Larissa van den Herik

The 1990s have been labeled the ‘Sanctions Decade’, since they witnessed an unprecedented intensification of the use of collective non-military enforcement measures, and in particular sanctions, by the post-Cold War reactivated Security Council. This Research Handbook studies the current practice of UN sanctions in international law, their interrelationship with other regimes and substantive areas of law, as well as issues arising from their implementation and application at the domestic level.
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Chapter 20: African perceptions of UN sanctions

Amelia Broodryk and Anton du Plessis


Africa has a complicated relationship with United Nations (UN) sanctions, rooted in historical as well as current experiences. African perceptions of sanctions have been shaped not only by how and when sanctions are imposed but also by whom. Perceptions have also been formed by frustration associated with a lack of reform of global bodies tasked with ensuring international peace and security, including the United Nations Security Council. Although there is widespread agreement that sanctions are often the only workable response to complex international security threats, they are by no means seen as a politically-neutral tool. Despite the continent’s vast experience with both UN and regional sanctions regimes, very little analysis has been done that accurately captures African views. The aim of this chapter is to provide an account of Africa’s experience with UN sanctions. The continent provides valuable lessons for developing and implementing sanctions regimes in the future. The degree to which African states have implemented sanctions, and been willing to impose sanctions on other African states, shows the continent is committed to preserving international peace and security. However, challenges remain – ranging from a lack of capacity to implement sanctions effectively, to misunderstandings about which activities constitute sanctions violations. Keywords Africa, sanctions, United Nations, African Union, peace, security

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