Saudi Arabia sanctions Canada over human rights criticism

Canada - Saudi Arabia.jpgLast week (2 August 2018), Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted her support for, and called for the release of, a prominent Saudi Arabian human rights activist, Samar Badawi, who was recently detained by the Gulf state (she has family links in Canada). In response to Ms Freeland’s remarks, Saudi Arabia has:

  • Begun selling its Canadian assets;
  • Expelled the Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak (see Canadian response);
  • Frozen new trade and investment with Canada;
  • Suspended a student exchange programme to Canada;
  • Suspended all flights by state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines to Canada;
  • Suspended all medical treatment programmes in Canada, and will be transferring all Saudi Arabian patients out of the country.

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that new investment in Canada would continue to be on hold until the crisis had been resolved, but added that existing trade and investment would not be affected.

Canada adds 7 senior military figures to Myanmar/Burma sanctions

Canada4.jpgCanada has added 7 people to its targeted sanctions against Myanmar/Burma, by amending the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations. The individuals were sanctioned (asset freezes imposed) for playing a role in the “military operations against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in August 2017”. See Backgrounder and Press Release.

Earlier this week (previous blog), the EU added the same 7 people to its Myanmar/Burma sanctions: Aung Kyaw Zaw; Maung Maung Soe; Than Oo; Aung Aung; Khin Maung Soe; Thura San Lwin; and Thant Zin Oo.

Following those EU sanctions, the Myanmar/Burma army (Tatmadaw) announced that Maung Maung Soe (Myanmar’s former Major-General) had been permanently removed from his post. He has been subject to Canadian sanctions since February 2018, and US sanctions since December 2017, pursuant to the countries’ Magnitsky laws.

Canada sanctions 14 Venezuelans

Canada3On 30 May 2018, the Canadian government sanctioned 14 individuals “responsible for the deterioration of democracy in Venezuela”, pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act, by amending the Special Economic Measures (Venezuela) Regulations (40 people were originally listed in September 2017). As a result, asset freezes and financial prohibitions now apply to the 14 people (list of names here). Canadian press release here.

Canada sanctions Burma’s former military chief over Rohingya crisis

Canada3.jpgThe Canadian Government has imposed targeted sanctions (asset freeze) against Burma’s former Major-General Maung Maung Soe, pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), by amending the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations.

Maung Maung Soe was sanctioned for being “responsible for, or complicit in, gross violations of internationally-recognized human rights against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State” which “forced more than 688,000 Rohingya to flee their country”. Canadian press release here.

OFAC added Maung Maung Soe to its Global Magnitsky sanctions list on 21 December 2017 (see previous blog here).

20 countries consider tougher sanctions on N Korea

Vancouver.jpgYesterday, the US and Canada co-hosted the Vancouver Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula. Twenty nations (including the co-hosting nations, the UK, France, Japan, India and South Korea – full list here) pledged to the “full and effective implementation of existing [UN] sanctions on North Korea”. Furthermore, they collectively agreed “to consider and take steps to impose unilateral sanctions and further diplomatic actions that go beyond those required by UN Security Council resolutions”. Summary of meeting here. Remarks from the Foreign Ministers of the US, UK, Canada, Japan and South Korea here.

Despite being permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia did not participate in the meeting.

Canada lists 52 foreign nationals under Magnitsky law

Canada3.jpgPursuant to the recently passed Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) (see previous blog here), Canada has imposed targeted sanctions on 52 foreign nationals (including 30 Russians) by enacting the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations. The Regulations were made in response to three different sets of circumstances, namely, “the case of Sergei Magnitsky, and incidents of corruption and gross human rights violations by officials linked to the Maduro regime and by officials in South Sudan”, see here.

The Regulations prohibit any person in Canada, or any Canadian outside of Canada, from dealing, directly or indirectly, with any of the listed foreign nationals.

In response to the measures, Russian authorities have imposed a ban on a number of Canadian public figures from entering Russia (without specifying who has been affected).

Canada passes sanctions law targeting foreign violators of human rights

Canada2.jpgThe Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), a Canadian bill which provides for restrictive measures to be taken against foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognised human rights, has received Royal Assent.

Under the law, foreign nationals will be subject to restrictive measures if they are found to have been responsible for, or complicit in, “gross violations of internationally recognised human rights committed against individuals in any foreign country” who seek to “expose illegal activity carried out by government officials”, or to “obtain, exercise, defend or promote internationally recognised human rights and freedoms”. The law also targets foreign nationals involved in acts of “significant corruption”.

Similar laws were passed in the US (see previous blog here) and Estonia (see previous blog here). In the UK, the Criminal Finances Act 2017 was passed, however, the relevant sections dealing with ‘Magnitsky-style’ sanctions have yet to come into force.

Canada sanctions 40 Venezuelans

Canada, like the USA, has imposed sanctions on senior Venezuelan officials and supporters of the Venezuelan government (see previous blog). The listings target 40 people, including President Nicolas Maduro, members of his cabinet, and members of Venezuela’s Supreme Court.  Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland echoed the US description of Venezuela as a “dictatorship”, and said that it was “important to send a signal to the leaders of the Maduro regime that their actions are unacceptable”.