Sanctions - What you need to know
What are sanctions?
Australia implements two types of sanctions:
- United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions, which Australia must impose as a member of the UN.
- Australian autonomous sanctions, which are imposed as a matter of Australian foreign policy.
What are sanctions measures?
- Restrictions on trade in goods and services
- Restrictions on engaging in commercial activities
- Targeted financial sanctions (including asset freezes) on designated persons and entities
- Travel bans on certain persons.
Targeted financial sanctions prohibit:
- directly or indirectly making an asset available to (or for the benefit of) a designated person or entity
- an asset‐holder using or dealing with an asset that is owned or controlled by a designated person or entity. As these assets cannot be used or dealt with, they are referred to as ‘frozen’.
Travel bans prohibit the entry into or transit through Australia of designated persons.
The persons and entities on which targeted financial sanctions have been imposed are identified on the Consolidated List, which is available on DFAT’s website.
Who must comply with sanctions?
In some circumstances, it may be possible to obtain a permit from the Minister for Foreign Affairs to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by a sanctions measure. Information on planning an activity and submitting an application for a sanctions permit is available on the DFAT website.
It is a serious criminal offence to contravene a sanctions measure (or a condition of a sanctions permit). The penalties include up to ten years in prison and substantial fines.
What do I need to do?
We recommend you:
- read the DFAT website information on sanctions activities
- familiarise yourself with sanctions regimes which may affect your activities, operations or business
– if they include targeted financial sanctions, familiarise yourself with the kinds of people/entities which are designated
- note that, although sanctions regimes are often identified by reference to a country (i.e. ‘Iran sanctions’), a regime will often include sanctions on persons or entities that are not nationals of or not based in that country
- search the Consolidated List to ascertain if a person or entity connected with your proposed activity or operation is designated under sanctions
- note that the sanctions laws of other countries and/or the European Union may also apply to the overseas activities of Australian citizens or Australian‐registered bodies corporate and
- get legal advice if you may be affected by sanctions.
Where can I get more information?
Enquiries can be made to DFAT by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
DFAT maintains a mailing list for people interested in receiving updates on Australian sanctions laws. You can subscribe to this list via the DFAT website.
This article provides a summary only of relevant sanctions laws. It is not intended to be nor should it be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. It is your responsibility to ensure you do not contravene sanctions law, including by obtaining your own legal advice.
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