FAAE Committee News Release
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Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
For immediate release
FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY CALLS FOR CHANGES TO CANADA’S SANCTIONS REGIMES
Ottawa, April 06, 2017 -
Today, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development presented a report to the House of Commons entitled: A Coherent and Effective Approach to Canada’s Sanctions Regimes: Sergei Magnitsky and Beyond.
This report is the culmination of the Committee’s statutory review of the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act and the Special Economic Measures Act, as referred to the Committee pursuant to the Order of Reference of Thursday, 14 April 2016, and as required by Section 20 of the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act.
Over the course of 13 meetings, the Committee conducted an in-depth review of these two Acts, and assessed broader policy, legal and administrative issues relating to Canada’s use of economic sanctions as a foreign policy tool. The Committee’s study was informed by testimony from government officials, academics, practitioners and civil society advocates, as well as by numerous written briefs that it received.
The Committee believes that sanctions are an important element of Canadian international statecraft. The report notes, however, that sanctions should not be seen as a solution to every problem, but rather as one useful tool to be employed as part of broader efforts to promote international peace and security. The report underlines that when the Government of Canada decides to impose sanctions, it should do so in pursuit of a clear objective and should tailor the measures to the relevant state and situation.
The report stresses that greater emphasis should be placed on the domestic administration and enforcement of sanctions regulations. In this respect, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada reform and improve the way it implements sanctions domestically, as it currently falls short of standards set in other jurisdictions. This includes providing better services to Canada’s private sector, so that they can comply fully with the measures in place while continuing to seek out legitimate business opportunities around the world.
Finally, in honour of Sergei Magnitsky, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada amend the Special Economic Measures Act to expand the scope under which sanctions measures can be enacted, including in cases of gross human rights violations.
The full text of the report is available on the Committee’s website.
“I want to congratulate all committee members from the three parties for their outstanding and collaborative work on such a complex, sensitive, and important subject. The goal was to ensure that the recommendations we put forward to the government reflect today’s global realities and are done in such a way that when we consider placing sanctions, they can be properly monitored and enforced. It’s also important that we expand the scope under which sanctions measures can be enacted, including in cases of gross human rights violations.” - Hon. Robert D. Nault, Chair
“This study was a learning opportunity for committee members who listened to hours of expert testimony by those working in the field of government sanctions. What we heard is that there are gaps in Canadian sanctions legislation with respect to international human rights violators, there are not enough resources and that solutions to other areas of sanctions can be challenging and time consuming, but very effective if addressed properly. As our world becomes even smaller, it’s important that we deal with existing and emerging issues in a timely fashion, and with the conclusion of this report, we hope the government will act quickly on the unanimously agreed upon recommendations.” - Dean Allison, Vice-Chair
“I believe the committee has done important work that will help the government substantially improve the imposition of sanctions, without which sanctions are not effective. I am also delighted with our proposal to expand the sanctions regime to include cases of gross violations of human rights, in memory of Sergei Magnitsky.” - Hélène Laverdière, Vice-Chair
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