Sanctions and Africa: an International Law and Politics Conference

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Thursday 09 December 2021 to Friday 10 December 2021



The Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity of Coventry University, together with The Graduate Institute Geneva and University of Pretoria welcomes registrations to an international law and politics conference on sanctions and Africa.

About the conference

The use of unilateral and multilateral sanctions continues to rise in international relations, but the study of sanctions from African perspectives is under explored. This is despite the case that the majority of sanctions agreed by the United Nations or other regional organizations and states are concentrated in the African continent. Research on the intersection of sanctions and Africa mainly focuses on the empirical study of the intended and unintended impacts of sanctions, measures of effectiveness, and normative exploration of humanitarian or human rights concerns in implementation of sanctions. This reinforces the view that the continent is a passive recipient of sanctions, and a marginal actor in shaping knowledge, rules, and practice on the subject.

The aim of the conference is to investigate and reimagine Africa as an active voice and perspective in the global legal and political discourse on sanctions. There are historic and contemporary examples of African states resisting certain types of sanctions, supporting other types of sanctions, and crafting their own sanctions practice. Instances include: attempts to outlaw economic coercion and recognize it as a ground of invalidating treaty obligations under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties; comments and views provided by African governments in the course of the works of the International Law Commission (e.g. on state responsibility) and various UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteurs (e.g. Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures and Human Rights); positions expressed at the UN General Assembly supporting or requesting both multilateral and unilateral sanctions in certain circumstances (e.g. in support of anti-apartheid and decolonization agendas); and the emerging continental and sub-continental sanctions practice in Africa focusing on unconstitutional change of governments.

This multidisciplinary conference explores these and various other disparate practices with a view to developing a systematic understanding of the ways in which African actors seek to shape, challenge, and advance the knowledge, rules, and practice on sanctions. This involves uncovering and situating African perspectives, concerns and practices within, and vis-à-vis, the broader debate on sanctions in global governance. The conference also examines sanctions law, policy and practice from around the world, with an eye for their impact in Africa. How has African experience and input informed existing norms and practice governing sanctions? In what ways has global sanctions practice impacted Africa? How should African perspectives shape efforts to reform the law and practice on sanctions?

Keynote speakers

Amb. Dr. Namira Negm, Legal Counsel of the African Union

Other speakers will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.

Conference organisers

Dr Nathanael Tilahun, Coventry University

Dr Erica Moret, The Graduate Institute Geneva

Professor Zozo Dyani-Mhango, University of Pretoria


For all enquiries, please email the conference organisers.

African cloth.

Sanctions in Africa Conference Program

An International Law and Politics Conference


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