Until last, Graf von Sponeck held the rank of UN Assistant Secretary General responsible for the "Oil for Food" programme. In 2000 he resigned from his position and the UN office out of protest against the sanctions policy of the Security Council and the USA in particular.
This sanctions policy was responsible for the death of several hundred thousands of Iraqi children. Since then, Graf von Sponeck has been supporting a policy of community of nations vis-à-vis the Iraqi people. Public responses are great for the policy which serves the Iraqi population and is in keeping with the principles of human rights.
In the end he was one of the deciding and competent opponents of the war in Iraq in the name of international law and human rights, most recently in a book he and Andreas Zumach published: "Irak, Chronik eines gewollten Krieges – Wie die Weltöffentlichkeit manipuliert und das Völkerrecht gebrochen wird" [Iraq, Chronicles of a Wanted War – How the World at Large is Manipulated and International Law is Broken]. In a comprehensive 80-page interview, Hans von Sponeck’s efforts, in spite of the opposition, to put a stop to the genocide committed against Iraqi children are brought to light (Kiepenheuer 2003). H. von Sponeck was selected as one of the first winners of the schwelle award because he fully committed himself to the causes of humanity, law, justice and peace, and in so doing, accepted the personal consequences which ended his career as a top diplomat.