The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and more than 40 faith and civil society groups sent the following letter to key members of Congress asking for their support of Amendment 152 to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to assess the humanitarian impacts of sanctions.

Download the PDF version of the letter

October 18, 2021

Dear Chairman Reed, Ranking Member Inhofe, Chairman Smith, and Ranking Member Rogers,

We write representing a broad coalition of humanitarian, peacebuilding, faith-based, and other civil society organizations deeply concerned for the health and well-being of people in heavily sanctioned locations around the world. While U.S. sanctions have increased in scope and quantity, the U.S. government does not currently assess their humanitarian impacts or their ability to achieve foreign policy objectives. For this reason, we urge you to support Amendment #152 to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which will initiate these overdue assessments.

Our organizations support this amendment in the House version of the FY 2022 NDAA as it directs the Government Accountability Office to conduct an impartial assessment of the impact of U.S. sanctions on civilian populations as well as sanctions’ effectiveness in achieving U.S. foreign policy goals. NDAA amendment #152, introduced by Representative Jesus “Chuy” García, was approved as part of an en bloc package.

Earlier this year, over 55 organizations called on the Biden administration to review the impact of sanctions on COVID-19 relief and issue necessary legal reforms to ensure sanctions do not harm ordinary civilians. Forty-six organizations raised similar concerns in a recent letter to President Biden and other key leaders in the administration.

Impact assessments provide valuable information to ensure that U.S. foreign policy advances U.S. interests while protecting innocent civilians and maintaining channels for humanitarian organizations to continue their work. This issue is even more important as populations around the globe continue to manage the shared threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. We ask that you support Amendment #152 and ensure that the provisions in this amendment be retained throughout the conferencing process.

We appreciate your consideration, and would also be happy to schedule a meeting with staff working on this issue to give insight about how the provisions in this amendment are crucial to our work.


American Friends Service Committee
Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Charity and Security Network
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Demand Progress
Disciples Center for Public Witness
Educators' Institute for Human Rights (EIHR)
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Good Friends USA
Join Together Society America
Korean American Public Action Committee (KAPAC)
Korean Association of the United Methodist Church, Peace Committee
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Miaan Group
Minnesota Peace Project
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Churches USA
National Iranian American Council Action
National Lawyers Guild
Nicaragua Center for Community Action
Nonviolent Peaceforce
Peace Action
Peace Corps Iran Association
Peace Direct
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbyterian Peace Network for Korea
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society
United for Peace and Justice
Veterans For Peace
Win Without War
Women Cross DMZ
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
World Beyond War