Proper Conditions for Sanctions Are Spelled Out at U.N.

Should Not Be a Means of Warfare, Vatican Aide Says

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 18, 2002 ( International sanctions should not be turned into instruments of war or of punishment against a people, the Vatican told the United Nations.

This stricture was articulated by Archbishop Renato Martino, head of the Holy See’s U.N. observer delegation, before a session of the General Assembly on «Elimination of Unilateral Extraterritorial Coercive Measures as a Means of Political and Economic Compulsion.»

«The Holy See considers it to be legitimate for the international community to resort to economic sanctions when confronted with a specific government that has acted in a manner that places world peace in danger,» Archbishop Martino explained.

«However, the Holy See holds that there are several conditions that must accompany the imposition of such sanctions, namely, sanctions may not be a means of warfare or punishment of a people,» he said.

«Sanctions should be a temporary means of exerting pressure on governments whose choices threaten international peace; sanctions must be proportionate to the goals they hope to achieve; and sanctions must always be accompanied by a dialogue between the parties involved,» the Vatican aide continued.

Archbishop Martino, recently appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, reminded his audience that John Paul II «has stated that the embargo, clearly defined by law, is an instrument that needs to be used with great discernment and it must be subjected to strict legal and ethical criteria.»

«It is always imperative to foresee the humanitarian consequences of sanctions, without failing to respect the just proportion that such measures should have in relation to the very evil that they are meant to remedy,» the archbishop stressed.

«A mechanism should be introduced that would allow for independent and effective control of the humanitarian consequences of sanctions and subsequently establish ways to correct those effects,» he proposed.

«The legitimate decision by the international community never dispenses with the due attention that must be paid to the concrete fate of the civilian population,» the archbishop emphasized. «By its very title, ‘coercive economic measures as a means of compulsion,’ a dark shadow is cast over any result that one state might hope to accomplish.»

«There is something almost sinister at work when force, coercion and compulsion are at work as a means to an end,» the archbishop observed. «This is not the way of a civilized world; it cannot be acceptable within the family of nations and it should never be condoned, under any circumstances.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation