The Canadian government has said that it supports a draft bill which, if passed through the Canadian legislature, would impose sanctions on human rights violators anywhere in the world. The “Magnitsky-style” sanctions were recommended by a Canadian Parliamentary committee last month (see previous blog). A Russian official responded to the Canadian government’s endorsement of the bill by saying that it would “not be left unanswered”. The US, UK, and several other countries have already introduced Magnitsky sanctions on human rights violators in Russia and elsewhere.
Canada has sanctioned 27 of Syria’s top government officials, in an effort to increase pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end the violence against civilians in his country. The new sanctions, which follow a lethal chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria’s Idlib province earlier this month, impose an asset freeze on the 27 officials and prohibit people and entities from dealing with them. The Canadian government’s press release is here.
A parliamentary committee in Canada has recommended that the Canadian government follow the US, UK, and several other countries in imposing sanctions on people involved in gross human rights violations (see previous blog) as an amendment to the Special Economic Measures Act. This report is part of the current review of that Act and the Freeing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (see previous blog). One example is the “Magnitsky” sanctions named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, whose death in Russian custody in 2009 prompted the US to introduce the first sanctions of this kind. The US Congress recently approved expanding the scope of those measures to have effect worldwide. A link to the Canadian House of Commons Report is here.
The Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs is reviewing Canada’s Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act and Special Economic Measures Act, 2 key pieces of sanctions legislation, including the process for designations, enforcement and monitoring mechanisms, and the overall impact of the sanctions. The Committee also intends to assess the role and effectiveness of sanctions as a foreign policy tool and Canada’s broader strategic approach to imposing sanctions.
Update 04/11/16: Maya Lester’s evidence is to the committee is now available here.
Canada will lift its sanctions on Belarus, following similar action in the EU, US, and Switzerland. While Canada completes the regulatory process necessary to remove Belarus from the Area Control List by which the sanctions are imposed, it has said that it will normally issue export permits for the export of goods to Belarus, provided they are not listed on the Export Control List.
In its press release, the Canadian government said that its decision was “in response to recent positive developments in Belarus” and that it “will continue to monitor the evolving situation”.
Canada has added 2 people and 10 entities to its sanctions against Russia, imposed in response Russia’s actions in Ukraine by the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations. The sanctions impose an asset freeze on Russian people and entities said to be responsible for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and prohibit business with them. The press release says the additions were made “in order to maintain the efficacy of existing sanctions until Russia fully complies with its international obligations with respect to Ukraine…to underscore continued transatlantic unity…to maintain pressure on Russia to fully implement its Minsk commitments”. Details of the 2 people and 10 entities added are here.
Canada has also added 3 Ukrainian people and 4 entities to its sanctions (see here) which list Ukrainians involved in Russia’s actions in Ukraine, pursuant to the Special Economic Measures (Ukraine) Regulations.
Canada has lifted some of its sanctions against Iran, following the JCPOA nuclear deal implemented in January. It has:
- Lifted its ban on importing goods from Iran, and has eased its general export ban to prohibit the export only of 41 listed items, most of which relate to Iran’s nuclear and other WMD programmes.
- removed its prohibition on investing in Iran, general ban on providing financial services, and restrictions on providing port services to Iranian vessels.
- reduced the number of people subject to an asset freeze and general ban on transactions from 83 to 41, and number of entities from 530 to 161.
Canada has sanctioned 6 people and 1 entity in connection with Iran’s ballistic missile programme (see similar US listings after Iran’s ballistic missile test in December – previous blog here).
2 Canadians have been charged in Canada with illegally exporting railway equipment worth several million dollars to Iran, in contravention of Canada’s Iran sanctions regime. They are 2 directors of Romic Marc Rail Inc, based in Montreal.
In July, following the JCPOA being agreed between the E3/EU+3 and Iran, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicolson announced that Canada would retain its sanctions against Iran pending further examination of the situation (see previous blog).