The U.S. Treasury Department is set to finish its sanctions policy review this fall, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The u.s. sanctions during covid is a policy review that the U.S. Treasury will be finishing this fall. It is expected to be released in November or December of 2017.
A spokesperson for the US Treasury Department said the Biden administration intends to finish its continuing sanctions policy review this autumn, despite concerns from human rights and humanitarian organizations about the length of the study and the amount of interaction with nongovernmental organizations.
According to a copy of the letter, a coalition of 46 peacebuilding, humanitarian, and human rights organizations wrote to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, urging the administration to complete the review as soon as possible, make its findings public, and implement changes to US sanctions policy.
The sanctions policy review, which Ms. Yellen promised at her confirmation hearing, would look into whether US sanctions are accomplishing their stated objectives and any unexpected effects, such as the denial of food, medicine, or other humanitarian aid.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a senior White House official stated in March that the study might take months and that the administration wouldn’t be able to “finish our assessment until we actually have an opportunity to have all of our top people in place to get a direction from them.”
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The Senate has yet to approve Brian Nelson, President Biden’s nominee for Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, the top sanctions and counter-terrorist financing position at Treasury. Mr. Nelson said at his confirmation hearing in June that if approved, he would focus on continuing to examine sanctions programs.
According to Paul Carroll, director of the Charity & Security Network, a resource and advocacy center for nonprofit organizations that signed the letter, the time that has passed since the Biden administration committed to the review, as well as the humanitarian situation unfolding in Afghanistan following the departure of U.S. troops, prompted the groups to send the letter.
Mr. Carroll noted that the government’s approach to the humanitarian community has been less coherent than his organization had anticipated.
In the summer, the administration informed his group that the study would be completed by the end of the fiscal year, on or around Oct. 1. The administration planned to disclose the findings of its sanctions policy review by the end of the summer, according to one source who spoke to The Wall Street Journal in July.
Mr. Carroll said, “This is the sort of scenario where the present sanctions environment has created barriers in humanitarian and other NGO kinds of operations.”
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States classified the Taliban as a terrorist organization, putting most of Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership under international sanctions.
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The letter goes on to say that, apart from three pandemic-related permits granted by the Treasury in June that explained sanctions linked to Syria, Iran, and Venezuela, the Biden administration has made few meaningful measures to alleviate the effect of sanctions on humanitarian assistance. It also highlighted the Biden administration’s abandonment of a campaign pledge to work toward normalizing ties with Cuba.
The letter requests that the government modify executive orders that revoked the humanitarian exemption provided by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as well as grant a worldwide temporary general license to exclude goods required for the treatment of Covid-19 from penalties.
The sanctions review, according to a Treasury spokesperson, would identify ways to improve the government’s use of sanctions to ensure they remain an effective foreign policy tool and are updated to meet US objectives. However, she said, the investigation isn’t focused on specific sanctions programs or designations, nor is it an intelligence investigation into the implementation of sanctions.
As part of the assessment, the Treasury met with representatives from more than 75 domestic and foreign charity organizations, including two sessions with Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo in April and May, according to the spokesperson.
In an email, a State Department spokeswoman stated, “The administration is undertaking a comprehensive assessment of US sanctions policies to ensure that US sanctions remain a strong, sustainable foreign policy weapon for years to come.” A spokesperson for the National Security Council of the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Aid organizations, according to Mr. Carroll, are optimistic that the government would make improvements, especially in Afghanistan. “Time is of the essence,” he added, explaining why his community is worried and upset. “In the government, there are educated individuals who realize the urgency and how changes can be done to improve the lives of these people.”
Mengqi Sun can be reached at [email protected]
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