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Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone map


Information on exporting strategic goods to Sierra Leone.


Current Situation

An arms embargo is in force on Sierra Leone.

Arms restrictions are also in place as a result of the ECOWAS Convention on the Import, Export and Manufacture of Light Weapons. (See the West African States page for more detail).

NOTE: This page outlines relevant information about the arms embargo and arms related restrictions only. See the link to other restrictions for more information about other potential sanctions.


Implications for Exporters

Extent of the embargo

An arms embargo is a ban on the export of "arms and related material" (ie military ammunition, weapons and goods) imposed by either the UN (United Nations), European Union (EU), Organisation on Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The UK interprets this as covering all goods and items on the UK Military List.

Additionally some goods which are not on the UK Military List might also need an export licence. See more details about the Military End-Use Control.

Applying for a Licence

Exporters can apply for an export control licence for their goods. Applications to supply arms to the Government of Rwanda, or to UN peace keeping forces operating there, would be considered by the Government on a case by case basis against the provisions of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. See more details about Licence Decision Making.

For more details about applications see the Licences page. All licence applications should be made via the SPIRE website.

Exporters can also make a rating request for clarification on whether their goods are licensable. More information is available about the Rating Enquiry Service.

In applying and using any licence, exporters should be aware of their responsibilities. More information is accessible on the Compliance and Enforcement pages.


More Details

Further information is available in the following Notice:

You can view other notifications distributed in the ECO's Notices to Exporters.

Keep updated with the latest changes to Sanctions and Embargoes by Joining the ECO Mailing List.



Key Legislation (Background)


UN Security Council Resolutions

In 1997, a military coup took place in Sierra Leone. In response, the United Nations initially imposed an arms embargo on Sierra Leone in October 1997. This embargo was lifted in 1998. A new arms embargo was imposed on 5 June 1998 which applied to the forces controlled by military commanders who had played a leading role in government and to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). This arms embargo, UNSCR 1171 remains in force.

To access copies of any relevant UN Resolutions see the:


EU Legislation

Subsequent to the UN arms embargo imposed in May 1997, the EU imposed its own arms embargo on Sierra Leone in June 1998 via Council Common Position 98/409/CFSP.  This has subsequently been amended.

To access copies of any legislation see the EU website:


UK Legislation

The relevant UK statutory instruments implemented in UK law are:

  • Export Control Order 2008 (SI 2008/3231)
  • The United Nations Arms Embargoes (Liberia, Somalia and Former Yugoslavia) Order 1993 (SI 1993/1787) as amended by SI 1996/1629, SI 1997/273 and SI 1998/1501
  • The United Nations Arms Embargoes (Somalia, Liberia and Rwanda) (Channel Islands) Order 1996 (SI 1996/3154) as amended by SI 1997/279 and SI 1998/1507
  • The United Nations Arms Embargoes (Somalia, Liberia and Rwanda) (Isle of Man) Order 1996 (SI 1996/3153) as amended by SI 1997/280 and SI 1998/1508
  • The United Nations (Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 2000 (SI 2000/1106)

See more information about the Orders made under the Export Control Act.

To access copies of any legislation see the:



Other Restrictions

Sierra Leone is also subject to other sanctions including a travel ban. See further information on Sierra Leone sanctions information (FCO website).

Sierra Leone is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It is also subject to the ECOWAS Convention on the Import, Export and Manufacture of Light Weapons. More information is available on the West African States page.



Export Control Organisation

Created: 7 April 2009

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