A UN Security Council arms embargo on Liberia existed in various forms from 1992 to 2016. The original comprehensive embargo lasted until 2001, with a subsequent embargo until 2003. From 2003 until 2009 the embargo allowed for arms supplies to the Liberian Government if approved by the relevant UN sanctions committee. Since 2009, the embargo was aimed at preventing non-governmental forces from obtaining arms. From 2009 arms transfers the Government did no longer require approval from the UN committee, it only had to be notified in advance of such supplies. The embargo was lifted in May 2016.
In November 1992 UN Security Council Resolution 788, adopted unanimously, established an arms embargo on Liberia, though the sanctions committee under the Security Council to monitor its implementation was not formed until UN Security Council resolution 985 in April 1995. This was in reaction to the continued civil conflict in the country.
This embargo was ended in March 2001 by UN Security Council resolution 1343. However, resolution 1343 established a new arms embargo that entered into force in May 2001 for a period of 12 months as well as imposing additional sanctions upon Liberia. The arms embargo and sanctions were extended in May 2002 by UN Security Council resolution 1408 for a period of 12 months and again in May 2003 by UN Security Council resolution 1478 for a further 12 months.
Following the resignation of President Charles Taylor, the cessation of the long-running civil war, and the deployment of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the arms embargo was ended in December 2003 by UN Security Council resolution 1521. However, resolution 1521 established a new arms embargo on Liberia. This embargo did not apply to transfers to UNMIL forces and 'supplies of arms and related materiel and technical training and assistance intended solely for support of or use in an international training and reform programme for the Liberian armed forces and police'. Other prohibitions on transfers to militias and other armed groups remained in force. In December 2005 the embargo was extended for a period of 12 months by UN Security Council resolution 1647.
In June 2006 the embargo was modified by UN Security Council resolution 1683. The resolution states that the arms embargo does not apply to 'limited supplies of weapons and ammunition ... intended for use by members of the Government of Liberia police and security forces who have been vetted and trained since the inception of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in October 2003.' However, the resolution stated that all transfers require the prior approval of the UN committee monitoring the arms embargo and that the government of Liberia must mark any weapons and ammunition that are imported and maintain a registry of them.
In December 2009 UN Security Council Resolution 1903 lifted the arms embargo on the Government of Liberia for a trial period of one year. The Sanctions Committee on Liberia still had to be notified in advance of shipments of arms and related materials to the Liberian Government. Resolution 1903 also extended the arms embargo on all non-governmental entities and individuals operating in Liberia for 12 months.
Since 2009 the embargo on non-governmental forces and the requirement to notify the Liberian Government of shipments was extended regularly. The embargo was lifted in May 2016.