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The UN, regional sanctions and Africa

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Sanctions are frequently applied by the UN Security Council (UNSC) as well as regional organizations. While the objectives sought often vary, a frequent commonality is that they target African states. Indeed, Africa is the most frequently targeted continent by the UNSC and regional organisations including the African Union, Economic Community of West African States and the European Union. However, little attention has been paid to the confluence of this sanctions activity by these different organizations. This article seeks to address this gap in the research. While the UNSC continues to focus on sanctioning to end hostilities, the regional organizations have assigned themselves unconstitutional changes to government as the principal reason to sanction African states. Drawing on data from the Targeted Sanctions Consortium (TSC), this article suggests that: 1) regional organisations are leading UNSC activity more often than is appreciated in the literature; 2) the UNSC has of late been expanding its sanctioning activity to consider issues of democracy and good governance; 3) the UNSC uses sanctions to endorse the activity of African regional organizations to deal with crises on the continent; and 4) UNSC and regional sanctions are intimately tied to crisis management in Africa.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2015

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