Sanctions are measures (not involving the use of armed force) imposed by governments in response to a situation of international concern. Such situations include:

  • the grave repression of the human rights or democratic freedoms of a population by a government;
  • the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or their means of delivery;
  • internal or international armed conflict, or terrorism.

Sanctions measures are intended to achieve three objectives:

  • to limit the adverse consequences of the situation of international concern (for example, by denying access to military or paramilitary goods, or to goods, technologies or funding that are enabling the pursuit of programs of proliferation concern);
  • to seek to influence those responsible for giving rise to the situation of international concern to modify their behaviour to remove the concern (by motivating them to adopt different policies); and
  • to penalise those responsible (for example, by denying access to international travel or to the international financial system).