Find out more about sanctions in the UN Security Council and in the European Union, the Belgian sanctions policy, and the contact details of the Belgian authorities responsible for applying restrictive measures in the European Union.

Sanctions of the UN Security Council

Under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the UN Security Council may take action against States, persons or entities, whether State or non-State, in order to maintain or restore international peace and security. The application of sanctions is one of the possibilities the Council has in this respect.
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In accordance with Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations, sanctions encompass a wide range of enforcement options that do not involve the use of armed force. These measures can range from economic or trade embargoes to more targeted measures against specific individuals, companies or entities, such as the freezing of funds and travel bans.

Sanctions of the UN Security Council can serve a variety of goals:

  • supporting peaceful transitions,
  • deterring unconstitutional changes,
  • constraining terrorism,
  • protecting human rights,
  • promoting non-proliferation.

The sanctions are most effective when applied as part of a comprehensive strategy encompassing peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

Currently, the UN Security Council has 14 active sanctions regimes, which focus on supporting political processes in armed conflict, nuclear non-proliferation and counter-terrorism. Sanctions regimes are enacted via a UN Security Council resolution. Each regime is administered by a sanctions committee that consists of all 15 members of the Security Council. These sanctions committees ensure the implementation of sanctions and can decide by consensus to adopt targeted sanctions against specific individuals, enterprises or entities. They are traditionally chaired by a non-permanent member of the Security Council. Most sanctions committees are assisted by a group of experts or a monitoring group.

In 2006, the Security Council established a "Focal Point for Delisting". Individuals and entities featuring on a UN sanctions list can lodge a delisting request to the UN. Persons listed under the ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions can also seek redress with the Ombudsperson of that specific sanctions regime. More information on the "Focal Point for Delisting" can be found here.