The UN Security Council’s Taliban and al Qaeda sanctions committee announced on that it has removed four firms and four individuals from a UN blacklist that has been criticized as unfair.
Austrian UN Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, chairman of the committee, told reporters the removals were the result of a sweeping review of the more than 500 companies and individuals on the blacklist.
The people and companies on the blacklist face global travel bans and assets freezes.
Mayr-Harting said the four de-listed individuals were Patricia Rosa Vinck and Nabil Sayadi, a husband and wife living in Belgium, Egyptian-born Italian citizen Youssef Mustapha Nada Ebada and Mustapha Nasri Ben Abdul Kader Ait El Hadi, a dual citizen of Germany and Algeria.
The companies removed from the sanctions list are Bank Al Taqwa Ltd of the Bahamas, Nada Management Organization SA of Switzerland, Barakaat International and Barakaat International Foundation, both of Sweden, the Austrian envoy said.
The Taliban and al Qaeda sanctions list was established in 1999 by the Security Council. It targeted individuals and companies associated with al Qaeda, its leader Osama bin Laden, or the Taliban, the Islamist group that was ruling Afghanistan at the time and continues an insurgency there.
Human rights experts have long complained that some of the people under sanctions did not belong on the blacklist and have become the victims of human rights violations as a result of being unfairly branded supporters of terrorism.
In the well publicized case of Vinck and Sayadi, it took the couple four years to get themselves removed from the blacklist after a Belgian court ruled that there was no justification for the 2003 decision to list them.
Of the more than 500 names on the Taliban and al Qaeda blacklist, the most extensive UN sanctions regime, there are just over 100 are firms. The rest are individuals.