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Last updated date: 22nd Jul 2024
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What are Sanctions?

Economic sanctions are commercial and monetary penalties imposed by one or more nations against a designated autonomous state, group, or person. The economic, natural Peace Democracies impose economic sanctions. Economic sanctions can be applied for a number of political, military, and social reasons in addition to economic ones, so they are not always implemented for economic reasons.

Image of sanction


For example, Economic penalties include limitations on imports into the United States from the Xinjiang area of China as retaliation for the abuse of Uighurs' human rights. After Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and again in 2022 when it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and the European Union implemented sanctions against Russian leaders, businesses, and industries. Economic sanctions against South Africa during the apartheid era were frequently cited as contributing factors to the country's orderly transition to majority rule. On the other side, sanctions against Saddam Hussein's Iraq did not overthrow his government and were dubbed a "humanitarian tragedy" by some.

Types of Sanctions

  • Economic Sanctions: Typically, a trade embargo, potentially with few exclusions or restricted to certain industries like armaments (such as food and medicine).

  • Diplomatic Sanctions: The severing of diplomatic links, such as embassies, or their removal.

  • Military Sanctions: A military action.

  • Sports Sanctions: Limiting the ability of individuals and teams from one nation to participate in international competitions.

  • Sanctions on the Environment: International environmental protection activities have gradually increased since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment declaration.

Who Imposes Sanctions on Security Types?

Economic sanctions may be enacted multilaterally by a group of nations or an international body or unilaterally by a single nation. The following sanctions:

  • Embargoes: A trade embargo is a general prohibition on commerce with a nation, however, it occasionally allows exceptions for the humanitarian supply of food and medicine. U.S. trade embargoes have long been in place against Cuba, Iran, and North Korea.

  • Export Controls: Export controls prevent the delivery of particular goods, services, and intellectual property to target nations. Sales of weapons, technology having military uses, or, as is the case right now for Russia, oil drilling technologies and equipment are frequently restricted.

  • Capital Controls: Capital restrictions may limit investment in specific nations or industries or generally deny issuers of nations access to international capital markets.

  • Trade Sanctions: Import restrictions for particular nations, regions, or industries might be included in trade sanctions.

  • Asset Freezes or Seizures: It is possible to seize or freeze assets in sanctioning jurisdictions, blocking their sale or withdrawal.

  • Travel Restrictions: Travel authorisation to penalising nations may be denied to representatives, regular residents, and family members.

Un Sanctioned Countries

Sanctions put pressure on nations that endanger the peace, adopt damaging policies, or disregard international law. Sanctions may also be imposed on specific individuals or organisations.

Sanctions are a frequently used strategy to try to persuade foreign governments and people to alter their behaviour. Sanctions may be imposed by the UN Security Council (UNSC) in response to dangers to global peace and security.

New Zealand is a member of the UN and is subject to the decisions of the UNSC. According to rules created in accordance with the United Nations Act of 1946, we carry out sanctions imposed by the UNSC. By establishing laws to implement UN sanctions, we can act rapidly to impose or lift sanctions as needed. We are unable to implement sanctions on our own without the UNSC's approval, but we can still impose additional restrictions like travel bans on anyone entering the country. Travel restrictions on particular people connected to the Ukraine issue are one example.

U.N. Sanctions at Present




  • Mali

  • Libya

  • Somalia


North Korea




  • South Sudan

  • Syria Cultural Property


  • Central African Republic

  • Yemen










Al Qaida and Taliban


  • Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Kimberley Process

  • Sudan



Financial Sanctions

Financial sanctions are enforced by the government and may be applied on people, organisations, and governments, whether they are based in the UK or elsewhere.

Sanctions in Banking

The goal of sanctions is to hold a monitored bank accountable for misconduct. Both the affected bank and the entire banking industry are deterred by them. As long as the limitation period is observed, sanctioning procedures may be started both during ongoing breaches and after the breach has ended.

Economic Sanctions

Economic penalties are limitations that one organisation imposes on another to change conduct. Sanctions can take the form of travel bans, restricted access to cash, and trade embargoes. Economic sanctions are frequently used by national governments as a method of retaliation against international actors. These trade and banking restrictions can have a negative impact on the economy and make military mobilisation challenging.

Economic Sanctions Examples

  • Restrict capital access. It is more difficult to finance government debt when capital-rich nations forbid their neighbours from borrowing money on global markets.

  • Prohibiting foreign direct investment US corporations are not allowed to trade with or make investments in Iran, according to the US seizing property. Foreign assets belonging to people linked to a certain regime may be seized or frozen.

  • Asset freeze of people connected to the Putin government is one example of a penalty against Russia. It implies that their overseas bank accounts might be stopped, costing some people their foreign assets and money.

  • After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the government of the United States and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) imposed a number of sanctions against the Russian government as well as some financial institutions and specific people. Limitations on international banking were the first limitations, and as Russia's military operations in Ukraine grew more intense, the restrictions grew as well. Russia was to be held accountable and to have its capacity to finance the war seriously harmed.

  • Economic Sanctions. This entails restricting a target nation's capacity to export goods by forbidding trade from that nation. This might just apply to specific businesses, like the sale of weapons, or it might be more widespread. For instance, in February 2022, the UK put export controls and trade restrictions on Russia's high-tech and critical industries.

  • Trade Restrictions. A trade embargo is a far more comprehensive trade ban. With varying degrees of assistance from other nations, the US has imposed embargoes on South Africa, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, making exporting their goods difficult.


They can be applied as a coercive measure to achieve specific trade-related or humanitarian policy objectives. Instead of using violence to attain goals, economic sanctions are utilised as a substitute weapon. Economic sanctions put a pressure on the nations but are also useful in the long run. It also helps to persuade foreign governments and countries to alter their behaviour.

FAQs on Sanctions

1. Can economic sanctions apply to people?

Yes. Economic sanctions are financial and commercial penalties imposed by one or more nations against a particular self-governing state, group, or person. Economic sanctions may be utilised in addition to unfavourable economic conditions for a variety of political, military, and social objectives.

2. What does the sanctions list serve as?

The UK Sanctions List, which the UK government publishes, contains information about those who have been designated in accordance with rules adopted under the Sanctions Act. The list also specifies the sanctions that apply to these individuals or ships, and in the case of UK designations, it explains the designation's justification.

3. Why do authorities use sanctions?

Sanctions and embargoes are political trade restrictions imposed on target nations to preserve or reestablish world peace and security. Generally implemented by the United Nations (UN) and the European Union, sanctions and embargoes are tools for political trade policy (EU). According to the UN Charter, the principal goal of all UN sanctions and embargoes is to carry out decisions made by the Security Council to preserve or restore global peace and security. In addition to the United Nations and the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has the authority to enforce national arms embargoes.