Civilian Wellbeing and Humanitarian Access - Targeted Sanctions
30 Years of Sanctions Regimes in Syria, Sudan and Somalia
In this report we seek to: provide an overview of the academic literature on how targeted sanctions impact civilian well-being; explore humanitarian consequences of targeted sanctions in the context of three in-depth case studies – Sudan, Syria, and Somalia – and; analyse the cases comparatively with an eye to how their respective sanctions regimes include varying degrees of humanitarian exemptions.
Overall, it is difficult to disentangle the effects of specific targeted sanctions, since there are often multiple forms of sanctions imposed in parallel. Moreover, the inflow of humanitarian aid often increases in the wake of sanctions, thereby counterbalancing some of the negative effects for civil wellbeing.
In Sudan, we cannot observe a direct negative impact on aggregate humanitarian outcomes when the UN sanctions were added – despite those coinciding with the escalation of a brutal war. This is likely the result of the large amounts of aid that were directed at Sudan around the same time. Syria is subjected to a number of different types of targeted sanctions. Nevertheless, several observers have likened the Syrian sanctions regime as such to comprehensive (or general) sanctions. This comprehensive sanctions package coincides with a negative trend in humanitarian outcomes, exacerbated by the war with its large-scale fighting and civilian atrocities. This situation would likely have been worse without the large influx of aid in the same period. In Somalia, most sanctions have been part of the UN sanctions regime. The negative trend in humanitarian outcomes was driven very much by the armed conflict and weak state presence, and the severe famine that hit the country. While Somalia received international aid to tackle the humanitarian crisis, the amounts were lower compared to Sudan and Syria.