Netherlands Urged to Endorse Liberia Sanctions

The Perspective
February 7, 2001

As the UN Security Council debates sanctions on Liberia, the Dutch Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) has urged the Dutch Government to ensure that sanctions are imposed on President Charles Taylor's Government for its violent involvement in Sierra Leone and destabilization of West Africa.

In a letter to the Dutch Foreign Minister J.J. Van Aartsen signed by its Secretary-General V. M. Scheffers, the JPC said that The Netherlands, along with its European Union members, should endorse the UN Panel of Experts recommendations for comprehensive sanctions on Liberia. Enumerating the findings of the UN Panel of Experts, the JPC noted that:

"You would recall that some months ago, we informed you about the prevailing conditions in West Africa regarding the ongoing crisis and instability affecting millions of people, producing infinite numbers of refugees and displaced people. In our letter to you, we respectfully urged that The Netherlands, along with its European partners, should insist on the imposition of sanctions against Liberia since the United Nations had taken actions against diamonds coming from Sierra Leone", the JPC said. "In view of the Panel's findings, we urge that The Netherlands, along with its European partners and others conscientious in changing the state of events in West Africa, should move for comprehensive sanctions against Liberia by endorsing the Panel of Experts' recommendations", the human rights advocacy group added.

The JPC position comes as the Liberian Government announces a split within the UN Security Council, citing France, Russia, Ukraine and key West African countries as endorsing its position on Sierra Leone.

Last year, the JPC, along with a number of Dutch relief and human rights organizations, urged its Government to ensure that sanctions on Sierra Leone diamonds be extended to Liberia if they are to be effective.

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