Note: This op-ed originally appeared in Lawfare and was written by Joshua White, Director of Policy at the Enough Project and The Sentry.
Those familiar with the hard work done by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) are likely to agree that this small agency with a big responsibility for implementing U.S. sanctions deserves more money and staff. While various reports have highlighted the office’s lack of resources, most of the attention to date has focused on the staffing of sanctions programs for key national security priorities such as Iran and North Korea. But the most egregious shortfalls are connected to sanctions programs meant to address human rights and conflict, particularly in East and Central Africa.
For two years, I led the team at OFAC charged with identifying and sanctioning the violent kleptocrats, warlords, arms smugglers and ivory traffickers who—along with their international networks of associates—have been responsible for some of the most heinous atrocities and human rights abuses committed during the 21st century. I’ve seen how sanctions can be hugely effective in creating incentives for peace in these horrific conflicts by pushing financial institutions to stop handling dirty money. Right now, just a small investment from Congress has the potential to make a profound difference in the lives of millions of suffering people while also protecting the U.S. financial system from abuse…
Click here to read the full op-ed.