Australia has renewed its sanctions against people and entities said to be threatening the territorial integrity of Ukraine for 3 years, or until Russia fulfils its obligations set out in the Minsk Peace Agreements. There are 153 people and 48 entities targeted by these measures.
Australia has added 40 people and 14 entities to its sanctions against Syria, which impose asset freezes and travel bans. The new listings target those said to be linked to the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons programme by association with Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), the government body responsible for developing and producing chemical and biological weapons. The US targeted people associated with the SSRC in April (see previous blog).
A total of 142 people and 42 entities are now sanctioned under Australia’s autonomous sanctions on Syria. The Australian foreign ministry’s press release is here, and a full list of people and entities subject to the sanctions is here.
Australia often invites members of the public to comment on proposed changes to its autonomous sanctions. It has just done so in relation to renewing the designations of 10 people and entities listed on its Iran sanctions, on which designations expire after 3 years unless renewed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The public have until 22 June 2016 to make submissions. The list of designations under review is here. Information about Australia’s autonomous Iran sanctions is here.
Australia is to lift all the sanctions that remain in force against Fiji, which have been in place since 2006, when Fiji experienced its 4th coup in 20 years, led by former army chief Voreqe “Frank” Bainimarama, who was sworn in as prime minister last month after winning the first elections in almost a decade.
Australia’s lifting of sanctions was announced in a joint statement today by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Australia and Fiji today saying:
“Today we are pleased to have met in Suva to reaffirm our mutual commitment to taking the bilateral relationship forward to a new era of partnership and prosperity.This is the first visit to Fiji by a Foreign Minister since the election and the first bilateral visit by an Australian Foreign Minister since 2008. It demonstrates our commitment to normalise our bilateral relations. We are laying the foundations for strong linkages in diverse spheres: government-government and parliamentary, defence and security, economic and trade, and people-to-people links. We look forward to Fiji and Australia resuming a full defence and regional security relationship. We also agreed to discuss regional architecture to ensure it remains relevant to political, economic and social needs.”
Today, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced to the House of Representatives that the government intends to strengthen sanctions on Russia. The proposed changes include a ban on new arms exports to Russia, restrictions on the access to Australia’s capital markets for Russian state-owned banks, restrictions on Australian trade and investment in the Crimea region, and a ban on the export of goods and services for use in oil exploration and production. The changes also extend Australia’s previously enacted targeted sanctions to include a further 63 individuals and 21 entities.
In his speech, Abbott declared his intention to raise Australian sanctions against Russia “to the level of the European Union”.
Australia today (19 June 2014) imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 50 people and 11 companies that it says are “responsible for, or complicit in, the Russian threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
The Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared Persons – Ukraine) List 2014 is here. Unlike the European Union’s sanctions relating to Ukraine, Australia has included a number of oil and gas companies and banks. The Australian sanctions are explained here.
Like the UK, Australia has an independent reviewer of legislation relating to terrorism, including asset freezing / sanctions provisions. Like the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, the Australian Independent National Security Legislation Monitor reviews the use, effectiveness and proportionality of laws relating to national security and terrorism.
The Monitor (currently Bret Walker SC) was established in 2010 by the Labour government in Australia. The Monitor’s most recent annual report provides a detailed overview of Australian sanctions legislation, and questions aspects of the efficacy of terrorist financing laws and the way in which terrorist organisations are proscribed in Australia. The Abbott government has now proposed its abolition on the grounds that all relevant legislation has already been reviewed (although the Monitor’s statutory duties are to review on an ongoing basis whether Australian legislation remains proportionate to the threat of terrorism / national security). The Australian Green party opposes the abolition.
David Anderson’s paper explaining the history and functions of the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation is here. We have previously reported on his recommendations, and on the UK Government’s responses.