The United Nations uses "sanctions", or the
necessary means to combat violations of agreements regarding
human rights among the member nations: Interestingly,
the term "sanction" is never used in the Charter
of the United Nations. However, the charter frequently
describes the actions that the United Nations is allowed
to take when a member state is in violation of an agreement.
There are various forms of sanctions depending on the
seriousness of the crime of the offending nation. These
include Embargos, Exclusion, Suspension, Expulsion and
Essentially, an embargo refers to a state authority limiting,
interrupting or terminating a country's economic activity.
Used in during both war and peace, this type of sanction
may include the import and export of goods, currency,
and even information. Embargo is frequently used as a
non-violent measure against states that pose as a threat
to international security.
Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations describes
the various restrictions that embargos can enforce:
The Security Council may decide what measures not involving
the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect
to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of
the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include
complete or partial interruption of economic relations
and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and
other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic
This type of sanction was used against South Africa to
combat Apartheid. There were restrictions on trade, and
South African vessels were not allowed to use ports. The
United Nations Seucrity Council "recommended that
states should cease 'forthwith, the sales and shipment
of arms, ammunition of all types and military vehicles
to South Africa'". (Ojo, Bamidele
A., Human Rights and the New World Order: Universality,
Acceptability and Human Diversity.
Commack, NY, USA: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 1997)
Article 19 of the Charter of the United Nations states
that a state that does not contribute financially to the
United Nations "shall have no vote in the General
Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds
the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding
two full years". At the same time, the state may
have the power to vote, at the discretion of the General
Assembly. It must be noted that this sanction is not used
against violation of human rights.
In Article 5 of the Charter of the United Nations, it
is stated that when advised by the Security Council, the
General Council has the power to suspend the priveleges
of a member state. A member state lacking these membership
rights is arguably less powerful than a non-member state.
These priveleges can be reinstated by the Security Council.
Expulsion essentially refers to the withdrawal of a member
state from the United Nations. However, there is a difference
between expulsion and voluntary withdrawal. Expulsion
is a sanction, which means that it is done against the
will of a nation. Member states that are expelled have
usually repeatedly violated agreements stated in various
charters or agreements. Expulsion is considered a very
serious form of sanction. When there was a debate regarding
the adoption of this sanction, some members argued that
it was far too severe. At the same time, it was also argued
that it would be "better to remove completely"
an offending state to prevent it from "corrupt[ing]
the Organisation" (7 UN Conference
International Organization Documents 1945 p330-331).
Furthermore, the expelled nation "would still be
bound by various obligations devolving upon non-member
Military force is the most serious, but least frequently
used form of sanction. Military force is used as a last
resort, as Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations
declares, "All Members shall settle their international
disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international
peace and security, and justice, are not endangered."
However, should the Security Council deem peaceful sanctions
ineffective, it may recommend other member states of the
United Nations to use military force against the offending
nation. Military sanctions have been used against Iraq
successfully in the past.