UN Report Cites Liberian Breaches of Sanctions

150 150 Rapaport News

(Rapaport…November 8, 2001) A United Nations panel presented an investigative report to the Security Council that accuses Liberia of widespread violations of UN sanctions, including the ban on the export of Liberian diamonds. The report also states that Liberia must break off all ties with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) before there can be peace in Sierra Leone.

Liberia’s foreign minister, Monie Kaptan, openly criticized the report, claming Liberia has been in complete compliance with the bans and that the report did not take into account the progress that has been made toward achieving the objectives set out by the UN. Kaptan argued that the sanctions are hurting Liberian citizens and hindering the government’s efforts to restrain a rebellion in the country.

“What was bad has been made worse with the imposition of sanctions,” Kaptan told the Security Council during an open meeting on the report. “Today I stand impatient as I await this council’s actions to alleviate the human suffering in my country.”

The panel recommended an extension of the current sanctions and a new ban on the export of logs from Liberia and an arms embargo on rebel groups there as well as in Sierra Leone and Guinea. The Security Council has asked a monitoring committee to review the recommendations and submit a report back to the council.

The Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) urged the Security Council to take into account the effect additional sanctions would have on the Liberian people. Since the current sanctions went into effect last May, much of the country’s industry has shut down, and unemployment has risen to 85 percent.

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