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Conservatives Target World’s Human Rights Abusers by Improving Canada’s Sanctions Regime

Posted in Politics

Published on September 23, 2015 with No Comments

Today, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, PC, QC announced that a re-elected Conservative government would further improve Canada’s sanctions regime to target the world’s human rights abusers.

He announced that a re-elected Conservative Government will improve the sanctions regime via the Special Economic Measures Act by automatically imposing travel bans against any individuals subject to economic sanctions, by reducing the burden on Canadian businesses by producing a consolidated list of those who have been sanctioned, and, by adding gross violations of human rights to the list of eligible grounds for sanctions.

The use of economic sanctions by Western allies has increased in the past several years to powerful effect in countries such as Iran and Russia. Increasingly, sanctions target key individuals, sectors or organizations. For example, since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea, Canada has imposed economic sanctions and travel bans on more than 270 of those who are responsible for the crisis, including sectoral sanctions in the Russian energy sector. The international sanctions regime against Iran has isolated the regime and forced its leadership to the table over grave concerns for its military nuclear program and its state sponsorship of terrorism. In Syria, systemic violations of human rights have been perpetrated against innocent people.

Currently, Canada’s sanction(s) regime can be used against threats which pose a ‘grave breach to international peace and security,’ or to those who have been listed by international organizations.  These important improvements will ensure that sanctions are even more targeted and precise, and will enable Canada to take action against individuals and organizations that demonstrate a blatant disregard for human rights. In many countries around the world, key individuals responsible for abusing human rights must be held to account. These improvements will allow Canada to target individuals and organizations that operate across borders or independent of particular regimes.

“This is a warning to those who continue to suppress journalists, activists and minorities, like those in Iran, Syria, Russia, North Korea, Sri Lanka and elsewhere,” said Nicholson. “You will be held accountable for your brutal human rights abuses.”

“The Liberals and NDP would create a risky culture of conciliation that will weaken Canada’s position on the world stage. The Conservative Party is the only party willing to advance a principled foreign policy, preferring to lead on promoting pluralism and human rights, rather than bow to every dictator with a vote at the United Nations.”


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