Embargoes are economic sanctions imposed by individual states or communities of states on other states, political groups or individuals. Many of the embargoes globally in force are the result of decisions taken by the UN Security Council. Embargoes are intended to punish human rights violations, prevent the spread of political crises, fight terrorism or isolate criminal groups or individuals.
An embargo prohibits trade with the state, group, or person in question. In many cases, capital transactions with, and providing certain services to the state, group, or person in question are also prohibited. The financial assets of the affected party can be frozen.
There are basically three types of embargoes: total embargoes, partial embargoes, and arms embargoes. A total embargo prohibits any kind of trade with the country in question. This type of embargo usually also includes services and financial transactions. In certain circumstances, the embargo does allow for the supply of humanitarian goods in individual cases and subject to prior authorization.
Partial embargoes prohibit the import and/or export of certain goods or the provision of certain services, or make these activities subject to prior authorization. However, a partial embargo can also involve financial sanctions against specific individuals or groups.
A special form of partial embargo is the arms embargo. Arms embargoes apply only to weapons and armaments. Partial embargoes and arms embargoes may be imposed together.