The UN Sanctions List is a database of people and entities subject to sanctions imposed by the United Nations and is maintained by the Secretariat of the United Nations. 

The UN Sanctions List aims to help governments maintain sanctions compliance and avoid non-compliance penalties. Financial institutions also use the list to help ensure that they are not doing business with individuals or entities listed on it.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at what the UN sanctions lists are all about.

What Are UN Sanctions?

UN sanctions are measures imposed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after a determination that a country has violated international law or breached an international agreement. 

They can include a wide range of actions, including freezing the assets of individuals and organisations, restricting trade and arms sales, banning travel, and proscribing business dealings with designated parties. Sanctions may be applied to groups or entire countries and can be either mandatory or discretionary measures.

Sanctions can also target specific goods, services, and activities, such as weapons proliferation and terrorism financing. The UNSC approves all sanctions through consensus among its members – which include five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US) plus ten rotating members whose membership changes every two years through elections held by the General Assembly.

The Security Council has adopted sanctions regimes in response to conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. In recent years, U.N. sanctioned countries are Iraq, Libya, Mali, Syria, and Yemen.

Types of UN Sanctions

The most common type of sanctions is economical and trade sanctions. These are usually implemented in a country not responding to unacceptable behaviour or actions. Other sanctions include diplomatic, military, sports, and environmental sanctions.

  1. Economic and Trade Sanctions

These are the most common sanctions and can be implemented by the U.N. Security Council or individual countries. You can apply economic and trade sanctions to individuals, groups, or entire governments. The goal is to make it difficult for them to purchase goods or sell their products overseas so they will feel pressure from their people to change their policies.

  1. Diplomatic Sanctions

Diplomatic sanctions involve reducing or eliminating diplomatic ties with a country. These include travel restrictions on diplomats and their families; limits on financial transactions between governments; bans on trade in goods such as weapons or nuclear material; bans on cultural exchanges like exhibitions or sporting events; and visa bans for officials from both countries involved in political disputes.

  1. Military Sanctions

These are imposed when a state threatens international peace and security through military action against another country. They often involve an arms embargo, travel bans for individuals, asset freezes, and other measures that affect a state’s ability to wage war.

  1. Sports Sanctions

You can place sports sanctions on countries that violate the rules of an international sporting event or otherwise fail to comply with the regulations set forth by the event organisation (e.g., FIFA). These are typically imposed in response to violence or discrimination against a particular group of people at large.

  1. Sanctions on the Environment

This type of sanction targets governments that violate international environmental treaties that protect endangered species and ecosystems from harm caused by human activities.

Why are UN Sanctions Essential For Businesses?

International trade is an essential part of doing business. It’s how you reach new customers and maintain relationships with current ones.

But getting into global markets can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure where or how to start.

One way to overcome this hurdle is through sanctions relief — also known as licenses or authorisations. These government permits allow companies to conduct business with foreign countries, which may otherwise be restricted under sanctions regulations.

Sanctions relief can be tricky to navigate, but it’s essential to international trade. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Sanctions relief can help you expand your customer base.
  2. Sanctions relief helps maintain relationships with existing customers.
  3. Sanction relief prevents financial losses and legal headaches.

Why does Sanction Screening Matter for Business?

If you’re in the business of selling goods or services to government agencies, you know that it’s critical to conduct sanctions screening. Doing so ensures that your company is not doing business with countries and individuals on the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list that threaten U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.

Sanction screening is a way to protect your business from fraud, theft, and other criminal activity. It is a process of determining if a person or company has been banned from doing business with any organisation.

Sanctions screening also helps you avoid violating export control laws and regulations, which can result in significant fines, penalties, and other negative consequences.

The Benefits of Sanction Screening Services

  • Employees and customers can be screened to ensure they are not on sanction lists that may prohibit them from doing business with your company. It can be vital for companies dealing with foreign entities and those dealing with sensitive information such as medical records or financial data.
  • Sanction screening services are also beneficial because they can help you avoid liability by ensuring that your employees and customers are not involved in illegal activities like money laundering, terrorist financing, or human trafficking.
  • If you hire someone ineligible for employment, they could file a lawsuit against your company. The cost of defending a lawsuit can be extraordinarily high and may even bankrupt your business if you lose the case. By using sanction screening services, you can avoid this situation by ensuring that all applicants are legally authorised for employment before hiring them.

Summing Up

The United Nations Security Council Sanctions are a list of individuals, organisations, and governments that have been forbidden to trade internationally due to their support for terrorist activities. 

The UN sanctions list also seeks to restrict these entities’ embezzlement, assassination, drug trafficking, and money laundering activities. These regulations affect businesses because companies are not allowed to do business with anyone on the list. 

If they do, they can be fined or imprisoned. So, while it may be tempting to take a risk and do business with an entity on the list, consider doing more research and err on the side of caution by not doing business with them at all.


What are sanctions in the U.N.?

Sanctions are a tool that the United Nations uses to pressure states to comply with international laws, treaties, and conventions. Sanctions can be economicl, political, or military.

What are international sanctions?

International sanctions use economic or political pressure by one country or a group of countries against another. The United Nations often use it to encourage compliance with international law or to punish a nation for breaking it.

What is a sanction example?

A sanction is an action taken by a government, organization, or other entity to penalize a person or group for breaking some rule. You can impose sanctions in response to various behaviors: from violating human rights to failing to pay taxes.