Embargoes and sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo

Information on embargoes on the Democratic Republic of Congo, and how to apply for an export licence.


This guide contains information about embargoes and sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and provides information for exporters. You can find more general information here on sanctions, embargoes and restrictions, and a list of all the countries where there are current restrictions.

Governments worldwide control the export of goods for various reasons depending on the nature and destinations of the proposed export. The export of strategic goods and technology are controlled because of various reasons including:

  • concerns about internal repression, regional instability and other human rights violations
  • concerns about the development of weapons of mass destruction
  • foreign policy and international treaty commitments including as a result of the imposition of EU or UN trade sanctions or arms embargoes
  • national and collective security of the UK and its allies

An arms embargo and other restrictions are in force on the DRC. This is both a UN and EU imposed embargo and has been implemented into UK law.

Export control updates

If you intend to export to the DRC you should keep yourself well informed of the current situation through the media and other information channels.

To keep informed of latest updates about arms embargoes and changes to strategic export control legislation, please subscribe to the Export Control Organisation’s Notices to Exporters.

Extent of the arms embargo on the DRC

An arms embargo is a ban on the export of arms and related material - ie military ammunition, weapons and goods - which may be imposed by a number of organisations, including the UN and the EU or the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. It may also be imposed at a national level.

The UK generally interprets an arms embargo as covering all goods and items on the UK Military List (which forms part of the UK Strategic Export Control Lists), unless stated otherwise.

Some goods which are not on the UK Military List might also need an export licence. Read about the Military End-Use Control.

Applying for an export licence to the DRC

Exporters can apply for an export licence for their goods. All applications will be considered by the government on a case-by-case basis in line with the provisions of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Read the guide on assessment of export licence applications - criteria and policy.

For details on different export licences available see the guide on licences - export, trade control and transhipment.

When applying for a licence, you should be aware of the current licence processing times by destination. You can find details of the licensing statistics on the ECO Reports and Statistics website.

In applying and using any licence, exporters should be aware of their responsibilities. Read the guide on compliance and enforcement of export controls.

If you are unsure if your goods are controlled, you should read the guide about strategic exports: when to request an export licence.

Sanctions on the DRC key legislation

The arms embargo on DRC has been imposed by UN and EU laws, and implemented in the UK.

UN Security Council resolutions

The UN adopted Resolution 1493 on 28 July 2003. This imposed an arms embargo on Congolese armed groups and militias. This UN arms embargo has subsequently been extended, renewed and modified, specifically by Resolution 1596 on 18 April 2005. The embargo covers the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material or training assistance to groups operating in the DRC. The current UN resolution is Resolution 1807 (2008) which has been renewed every year.

You can access copies of relevant UN Resolutions on the UN website.

EU legislation

The EU originally agreed to impose an arms embargo on the DRC (then Zaire) on 7 April 1993. This legislation is titled Common Position 2002/829/CFSP. The original legislation has since been repealed and replaced by Common Position 2005/440/CFSP and Common Position 2007/654/CFSP (which integrated various EU and UN measures) and associated regulations. The arms embargo has been extended, renewed and modified.

The most recent modifications to the regulations were made in 2008 by Council Common Position 2008/369/CFSP and Council Regulation (EC) 666/2008.

You can access Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) legislation on the Europa website.

UK legislation

UK legislation on the DRC arms embargo are listed below.

Read the Export Control Order 2008.

You can access copies of any UK legislation on the website.

Other restrictions on the DRC

The DRC is also subject to other sanctions. These include an assets freeze and travel ban on named individuals, suspension of certain aid and development programmes and suspension of high level bilateral government visits.

Financial sanctions

Democratic Republic of Congo is currently subject to financial sanctions.

You can view a current list of asset freeze targets designated by the United Nations (UN), European Union and United Kingdom, under legislation relating to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Further information

UK Trade & Investment enquiry line: 020 7215 8000

ECO helpline: 020 7215 4594 or Email:

Goods checker on the ECO Checker website (registration required)

ECO performance reports and statistics on the ECO Reports and Statistics website

A to Z countries listing on the UK Trade & Investment website

Published 13 August 2012
Last updated 4 June 2013 + show all updates
  1. Included links to financial sanctions content on GOV.UK
  2. First published.