A convoy of trucks in a Syrian town.
Research Project

Sanctions and Humanitarian Action

Sanctions are imposed to exert influence without the use of force. They can, however, have negative impacts on humanitarian work. Our research project focuses on the interplay of humanitarian action, counterterrorism measures, and sanctions.

Sanctions are a wide range of measures that aim to influence the behaviour of other states, individuals or groups without involving the use of armed force. Sanctions can, however, also affect humanitarian action, for example because of restrictions on financial transactions or the import of certain items to a country.

This research project looks at the interplay of humanitarian action, counterterrorism measures, and sanctions specifically in the context of the conflict in Syria.

Through this project, the Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Centre Lebanon provides practical advice to humanitarian actors in the region, for example on how NGOs and their staff have to comply with the sanctions adopted in Syria.

A convoy of cars with United Nations flags driving through dry land.

Fact Sheet 1

Sanctions Relevant to Humanitarian Action in Syria

This fact sheet explains how sanctions work, how they can affect humanitarian action, and which sanctions NGOS  working in Syria have to comply with. The document also provides an overview of the sanctions imposed in relation to conflict in Syria and explains the US and EU sanctions in detail.

A child watching a truck that carries humanitarian aid.

Fact Sheet 2

The US' Ceasar Act

The ‘Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act’ in the US was introduced to deter support to reconstruction efforts by the Syrian government. Under the bill, individuals – including non-US citizens – are designated for US sanctions. This fact sheets explains how the Ceasar Act affects humanitarian action in Syria.

A woman watching United Nations vehicles, as part of a humanitarian convoy.

Fact Sheet 3

Counterterrorism Measures Relevant to Humanitarian Action in Syria

In order to capture the evolving manifestations of terrorism, the acts criminalised by the Security Council and by states, have become progressively more remote from actual acts of violence. For humanitarian actors, the measures relating to the provision of funds or assets or other types of support raise significant tensions. This fact sheet explains which counterterrorism measures humanitarian actors have to comply with.

Bags with food and in the background people carrying bags.

Fact Sheet 4

Screening of Final Beneficiaries of Humanitarian Programmes

Donors to humanitarian action, such as states and international organisations, frequently impose restrictions and requirements in their funding agreements to ensure that NGOs comply with the counterterrorism measures and sanctions adopted by, or binding on, the donor. This fact sheet sets out how these restrictions apply to humanitarian actors, focussing particularly on the requirement to screen final beneficiaries of aid.

Header Photo: A convoy brings essential humanitarian aid for children and families living in the hard-to-reach area in the Wadi Barada area in Rural Damascus, Syria. © UNICEF/Abdul-Mouti. Other Photos: © UNICEF, UNICEF/El Ouerchefani, UNICEF/Sanadiki