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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Considerations on Economic Sanctions

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - 11:00am
Virtual via Cisco WebEx


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the collateral effects of economic sanctions programs, including their impacts on humanitarian assistance, human rights and peacebuilding.

Economic sanctions are coercive economic measures imposed to further foreign policy and national security objectives. Measures include trade embargoes; restrictions on particular exports or imports; denial of foreign assistance, loans, and investments; blocking of foreign assets under U.S. jurisdiction; visa denials; and prohibition on economic transactions that involve U.S. citizens or businesses. Secondary sanctions are sometimes used to add pressure by penalizing third parties for activities that undermine or evade the purpose of a sanctions regime. The United States maintains an array of economic sanctions against foreign governments, entities, and individuals identified as supporters of acts of international terrorism; nuclear arms proliferators; egregious violators of international human rights norms, democratic governance, or corruption standards; and states threatening regional stability. Some sanctions are required to be imposed in keeping with decisions taken by the United Nations Security Council.

As the number and complexity of sanctions regimes have increased, so too has debate over their effectiveness and unintended consequences. Persistent conflict and entrenchment of authoritarian rule combined with ongoing humanitarian crises in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Venezuela have elevated concerns. The People’s Republic of China has sought to capitalize on discontent with sanctions regimes, particularly among authoritarian or corrupt governments, to undermine the status of the dollar as the reserve currency.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s 2021 Sanctions Review acknowledged the need to “tailor sanctions to mitigate unintended economic, humanitarian, and political impacts on U.S. workers and businesses, allies, and non-targeted populations abroad.”

Witnesses will discuss comparative research findings on the impacts of sanctions programs and offer recommendations for improving their design and effectiveness.

The hearing will be virtual. Pursuant to H. Res. 965, Member of Congress and witnesses will participate remotely via Cisco WebEx. Members of the public and the media may view the hearing by live webcast on the Commission website. The hearing will also be available for viewing on the House Digital Channel service. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Co-Chair McGovern) or Piero Tozzi (for Co-Chair Smith). 

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I    


Submitted for the Record


117th Congress