Here are five things that happened this week in the world of economic sanctions that I think you should know about.
- Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs announced that the Australian government will amend the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 to authorize “targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against the perpetrators of egregious acts of international concern.” The amended regime will cover topics such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and malicious cyber activity, as well as Magnitsky-style sanctions in response to gross human rights violations and serious corruption.
- The European Council adopted asset freezes against eight individuals in Nicaragua, including Vice President Rosario Murillo. According to a European Council news release, the individuals have abused judicial and political processes to exclude candidates and opposition parties from upcoming elections in ways that are “contrary to basic democratic principles and constitute a serious violation of the rights of the Nicaraguan people.”
- In related news, the US State Department announced a new round of visa restrictions targeting 50 immediate family members of Nicaraguan National Assembly members, prosecutors, and judges. According to a State Department news release, the individuals are linked to Nicaraguan officials who have supported policies to undermine democratic elections in the country. About two weeks earlier, the State Department imposed visa restrictions on another 100 Nicaraguan officials and some of their family members.
- The US State Department named five individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order 13224. The individuals are leaders of ISIS-Mozambique, Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), and Al-Shabaab in Africa, according to a State Department news release.
- The South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong’s government will likely adopt local legislation to implement elements of the PRC Anti-Foreign Sanction Law. The approach will allow lawmakers to accommodate Hong Kong’s distinctive legal and commercial system and the concerns of the business community, unnamed sources said.
Apparently, China’s National People’s Congress will consider whether to incorporate elements of the PRC Anti-Foreign Sanction Law into Hong Kong’s Basic Law around 17 August. If the past week’s reporting is to be believed, it may take some time before we know exactly how the law will apply in Hong Kong. Presumably, some or all of the individuals and entities sanctioned by the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also be sanctioned in Hong Kong. Whether lawsuits under Article 12 (or a similar local provision) will be heard in Hong Kong courts remains to be seen. Unclear whether or how companies in Hong Kong will be restricted from complying with foreign sanctions.
The United States, the UK, and Canada announced a new round of coordinated Belarus-related sanctions overnight (here, here, and here), including a new US Executive Order authorizing blocking sanctions. More on that next week.