U.N. Sanctions Bring Little Hope to War-Torn Liberia

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Thursday, August 1, 2002
Brian McCarthy
Liberia is facing mounting disapproval from the international community for using money earned from the sale of so-called ?blood diamonds? to support military activities both in and outside the country. In recent years, President Charles Taylor has used the proceeds from diamond sales to support the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone. International observers have also charged the Taylor government with using diamond money to fight a rebel group called Liberians united for Reconciliation and Democracy. Recognizing the potential for even greater instability in the region, the UN Security Council voted on March 7, 2001 to impose sanctions on Liberia. The sanctions included an arms embargo, travel restrictions on high-ranking members of the Taylor regime, and, most significantly, a prohibition on the import of diamonds from Liberia. On May 6 the Security Council unanimously voted to renew the sanctions for another year, despite protests form the Organization for African Unity. In a statement released following the vote, the Security Council explain that Liberia?s internal turmoil posed a potentially devastating problem for the region. Acknowledging that Liberia?s intervention in Sierra Leone had diminished since the end of that country?s civil war, the Security Council nonetheless argued that Liberia?s continuing violation of the sanctions warranted the extension of the arms embargo, the travel embargo, the travel ban, and the ban on diamond exports ... [more]