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Seeking to cripple militant extremism and to prevent the acts of violence associated with it, in November 1999 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1267. The resolution requires all states to impose sanctions on any individual or entity associated with Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.
Since UN Security Council Resolution 1390 passed in 2002, assets of individuals and groups whose names have been listed by the 1267 Committee, were extended to cover associated extremist groups of al-Qaida and the Taliban.
To date, the names of some 500 individuals and groups have been sanctioned. However, over the years, questions have arisen about the fairness of the list, as well as about the rights of those who have been singled out for sanctions. Citing lack of information about some on the list, as well as a lack of recourse once an entity is listed, a number of countries have balked at adding names to the list, or at times at enforcing the sanctions.
On December 17, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1904, which builds on past improvements to the 1267 sanctions regime and corrects these deficiencies.
"For the first time ever," said Austria's Ambassador to the U.N. Thomas Mayr-Harting, "individuals and entities seeking de-listing will have a chance to present their case to an independent and impartial ombudsperson, appointed by the Secretary General."
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice called Resolution 1904 "very important, because it reaffirms the global consensus against al Qaeda and the Taliban; it strengthens implementation of these critical sanctions; and improves the fairness and transparency of the regime. [Resolution] 1904 renews the Council’s commitment to maintain this vital, multilateral tool for suppression of financing, travel and arms acquisition by al Qaeda and the Taliban.
"With these improvements, the 1267 regime is even stronger. ... The whole purpose here is to make the 1267 regime and the list a living process ... in the sense that it is refreshed and renewed with additional listings, when appropriate, and delistings when individuals no longer merit being on that list," said Ambassador Rice. "And this is an important step forward that we think addresses many of the concerns that have [been] expressed, including in Europe."