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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Economic Sanctions: Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 11:30am
441 Cannon House Office Building


Briefing Series on Accountability

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on lessons learned and best practices in the design and application of economic sanctions for foreign policy and human rights purposes.

The United States has frequently employed economic sanctions in pursuit of foreign policy goals, including human rights goals. Some examples include the economic embargo in place against Cuba, the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act (P.L. 112-208), and recent sanctions imposed on Venezuelan individuals determined to be involved in human rights violations or corruption. When human rights violations occur in countries with authoritarian regimes or non-functioning judicial systems, economic sanctions often seem to be one of the few available options for imposing consequences on abusive officials and governments.

George A. Lopez, Ph.D. is one of the world’s ranking experts on economic sanctions.  With his colleague David Cortright, Dr. Lopez has written numerous articles and six books on economic sanctions, including The Sanctions Decade: Assessing UN Strategies in the 1990s and Putting Teeth in the Tiger: Improving the Effectiveness of Arms Embargoes [with Michael Brzoska].  Dr. Lopez has advised various international agencies and governments regarding sanctions issues, ranging from limiting humanitarian impact to the design of targeted financial sanctions. From October 2010 until July 2011, he served on the United Nations Panel of Experts for monitoring and implementing U.N. Sanctions on North Korea. For the briefing, Dr. Lopez will present findings from his research and from his on-the-ground experience.

For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or or Carson Middleton (for Rep. Pitts) at 202-225-2411 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Opening remarks


  • Dr. George A. Lopez, Hesburgh Chair of Peace Studies Emeritus, University of Notre Dame
    Written statement



  • Congressional Research Services Memorandum on "Sanctions imposed in furtherance of U.S. foreign policy or national security objectives"
114th Congress