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United Nations: Arms Embargo Against Somalia Strengthened

(Dec. 3, 2008) On November 20, 2008, the United Nations Security Council, through the unanimous adoption of Resolution 1844 (2008), strengthened the arms embargo on Somalia established under Resolution 733 of 1992 and amended by subsequent resolutions. Resolution 1844 specifies sanctions against violators and expands the mandate of the U.N. Committee established in 1992 to oversee the embargo (under Resolution 751). The sanctions include travel restrictions and freezing of assets applicable “to individuals and entities that engaged in activities that threatened the peace and the political processes and obstructed humanitarian assistance, in addition to those that breached the weapons ban.” (Press Release, United Nations Security Council, Security Council Strengthens Sanctions in Somalia, Pledges to Examine Violations, Take Appropriate Action; Amends Guidelines to Facilitate Bans' Enforcement, SC/9504 (Nov. 20, 2008), available at (last visited Nov. 28, 2008); Security Council Resolutions – 1992, [for the texts of Resolution 751 (Apr. 24) & Resolution 733 (Jan. 23)] (last visited Dec. 1, 2008).) Among other remarks in the recent Resolution's preamble, the Security Council expresses “its grave concern over the recent increase in acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels off the coast of Somalia, and [notes] the role piracy may play in financing embargo violations by armed groups … .” (Press Release, supra.)

The Committee is to examine allegations of violations of the embargo, designate individuals and entities to be on a list of those subject to sanctions, and regularly review the list for accuracy, among other new tasks. The Resolution also urges U.N. Member States to submit to the Committee the names of individuals or entities for inclusion on the list, “along with a detailed statement of the case against them.” At the same time, those Member States are urged to review petitions for de-listing, and the Committee should “ensure that fair and clear procedures existed for listing, de-listing and granting exemptions.” (Id.)