The United States is committed to protecting humanitarian access and removing impediments – real and perceived – to the delivery of legitimate humanitarian aid around the world.  In September, I announced our intent to ensure that food, medicine, and humanitarian assistance are carved out across United Nations and U.S. sanctions programs. The first step in achieving that goal was the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2664, co-drafted with Ireland, on December 9.

Today, we are taking the next step with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s release of a package of general licenses (GLs) that create a baseline for humanitarian authorizations across U.S. sanctions programs.  These GLs will establish consistent regulations, streamline compliance for humanitarian and commercial actors, and ultimately ensure sanctions do not unduly impact humanitarian conditions around the world.  The GLs help implement UN Security Council Resolution 2664 and build upon the many authorizations this Administration has already incorporated across several U.S. sanctions programs to facilitate the conduct of humanitarian activity.  This update will refine and strengthen our sanctions implementation by ensuring our measures impact the intended targets while enabling humanitarian organizations to help those in need.

These licenses, which include safeguards to prevent abuse or diversion, make our sanctions clearer, stronger, and more effective and streamlined.  We look forward to working with our allies and partners around the world, and with humanitarian actors and financial institutions, to ensure these licenses are understood and implemented so that food, medicine, and humanitarian aid reach those most in need.

At a time when over 100 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, and a global food crisis has left over 205 million people acutely food insecure this could not be more urgent.  The licenses announced today are a critical step to meeting humanitarian challenges of unprecedented magnitude while maintaining the integrity of sanctions as a tool to promote international peace, security, and stability.

For more information on this announcement, please see Treasury’s press release.

U.S. Department of State

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