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Enforcing UN Sanctions and Protecting Humanitarian Action: Towards a Coherent and Consistent Approach

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Sanctions represent one of the most important conflict prevention and management tools at the disposal of the United Nations. Yet, while the primary goal of UN sanctions is to prevent conflict, to a lesser extent they have also started to focus in more recent years on reducing harm to civilians. Based on in-depth case studies, a wide-ranging online survey, and qualitative interviews with experts across the humanitarian and sanctions communities, this report explores the relationship between UN sanctions and humanitarian action. Acknowledging the complex and challenging environments in which sanctions regimes are employed, the report highlights continuing gaps in knowledge across the two communities, and the need for greater understanding of how sanctions and humanitarian action could be more complementary to each other. The report concludes by offering a range of recommendations to the UN Security Council, sanctions actors, private sector actors, and humanitarians.