UK Needs to Be Clearer on Sanctions: RUSI Reacts to Foreign Affairs Committee Report on UK Sanctions Policy

RUSI today reacts to the latest Foreign Affairs Committee report on UK sanctions policy.

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has published an important report on UK’s sanctions policy. The report, which cites expertise from the Royal United Services Institute, says that the UK’s position on post-Brexit sanctions is unclear, fragmented, incoherent and risks national security

The report comes after the launch of a new task force established by RUSI. The RUSI Task Force on the Future of UK Sanction Policy is already considering many of the recommendations in the report such as how the UK should align its future sanctions with other regimes.

On 28th May RUSI hosted the first meeting of the Task Force and publicly launched it at a panel event featuring remarks from Qudsi Rasheed, Head of Sanctions Unit at FCO, and others. The Event can be viewed here.

Commenting on the Foreign Affairs Committee report, Tom Keatinge, Director of RUSI’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies said:

‘Sanctions have two uses: as a tool of foreign policy and as a tool of national security.  On the former, the UK has been a leader at both the UN and in the EU on the deployment of sanctions to respond to international crises; the response to the Salisbury poisonings in 2018 demonstrate that on the latter, the UK has yet to develop or evidence a clear security-based strategy for their use.’

‘As a future independent user of sanctions, the UK will need to be much clearer in its sanctions strategic intent, how sanctions will be used to address both state-based and criminal threats.’

‘For example, if serious and organised crime is deemed - as it is - by the government to be a national security threat, what role do sanctions play in blunting this transnational threat to the UK?’

‘Recognising this gap in the UK’s post-Brexit preparation, in May, RUSI launched a Task Force of former government officials, private sector actors and academics, to consider the future of the UK’s sanctions policy’


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