Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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Other as made
This instrument amends the Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared Persons - Ukraine) List 2014 to designate eight persons for targeted financial sanctions, and declare those persons for the purposes of a travel ban.
Administered by: Foreign Affairs and Trade
Exempt from sunsetting by the Legislation (Exemptions and Other Matters) Regulation 2015 s12 item 10B
Registered 24 Feb 2022
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled Senate28-Mar-2022
Tabled HR29-Mar-2022
Date of repeal 27 Sep 2022
Repealed by Division 1 of Part 3 of Chapter 3 of the Legislation Act 2003

Explanatory Statement

 

Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Foreign Affairs

 

Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011

 

Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared PersonsUkraine) Amendment (No.1) Instrument 2022

 

Section 28 of the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 (the Act) provides that the Governor-General may make regulations prescribing matters required or permitted by the Act to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act.

 

Autonomous sanctions are measures not involving the use of armed force which a government imposes as a matter of foreign policy—as opposed to an international obligation under a United Nations Security Council decision—in response to situations of international concern.  Such situations include threats to a country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

The Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 (the Regulations) make provision for, amongst other things, the proscription of persons or entities for autonomous sanctions, including in relation to the threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.  Regulation 6 of the Regulations enables the Minister for Foreign Affairs (the Minister) to designate a person or entity for targeted financial sanctions and/or declare a person for the purposes of a travel ban, if the Minister is satisfied that they are responsible for, or complicit in, the threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine (item 9 of the table at regulation 6).

 

The purpose of a designation is to subject the designated person or entity to targeted financial sanctions.  There are two components to targeted financial sanctions under the Regulations:

 

·         a designated person or entity becomes the object of the prohibition in regulation 14 (which prohibits directly or indirectly making an asset available to, or for the benefit of, a designated person or entity, other than as authorised by a permit granted under regulation 18); and/or

·         an asset owned or controlled by a designated person or entity is a ‘controlled asset’, subject to the prohibition in regulation 15 (which requires a person who holds a controlled asset to freeze that asset, by prohibiting that person from either using or dealing with that asset, or allowing it to be used or dealt with, or facilitating the use of or dealing with it, other than as authorised by a permit granted under regulation 18).

 

The purpose of a declaration is to prevent a person from travelling to, entering or remaining in Australia.

 

Designated and declared persons, and designated entities, in respect of Ukraine are listed in the Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared Persons – Ukraine) List 2014 (the 2014 List).

Under subregulations 9(1) and 9(2) of the Regulations, designations and declarations cease to have effect on the third anniversary of the day on which they took effect or were most recently declared to continue in effect, unless the Minister declares (or further declares) that they are to continue in effect pursuant to subregulation 9(3) of the Regulations.

 

In accordance with regulation 6, the Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared Persons—Ukraine) Amendment (No.1) Instrument 2022 (the Instrument) designates 8 persons for targeted financial sanctions and declares those persons for the purposes of a travel ban.  The Minister made the designations and declarations being satisfied that the persons are responsible for, or complicit in, the threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and therefore meet the criteria set out in item 9 of regulation 6. These persons have been responsible for providing policy approval for Russia’s recognition of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic on 21 February 2022.

 

Details of the Instrument which amends the 2014 List are set out at Attachment A.

 

The legal framework for the imposition of autonomous sanctions by Australia, of which the Regulations and the 2014 List are part, was the subject of extensive consultation with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders when introduced. The sanctions being imposed through the making of the Instrument were subject to targeted consultation within government and with relevant international partners. In order to meet the policy objective of prohibiting unauthorised financial transactions involving the persons specified in the Instrument, the Minister is satisfied that wider consultations beyond those already undertaken would not be appropriate or practicable (subsections 17(1) and (2) of the Legislation Act 2003). Consultation would risk alerting persons to the impending sanctions and enabling capital flight before assets can be frozen.

 

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has advised that a Regulation Impact Statement is not required for listing instruments (OBPR reference: 26252).


 

Attachment A

 

Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared PersonsUkraine) Amendment (No. 1) Instrument 2022

 

Section 1

The title of the instrument is the Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared PersonsUkraine) Amendment (No. 1) Instrument 2022 (the Instrument).

 

Section 2

The instrument commences the day after it is registered.

 

Section 3

The instrument is made under paragraphs 6(a) and (b) of the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 to designate 8 persons for targeted financial sanctions and declare those persons for the purposes of a travel ban.

 

Section 4

Each instrument that is specified in a Schedule to this instrument is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this instrument has effect according to its terms.

 

Schedule 1

 

Item 1

Item 1 is a technical amendment necessitated by the renumbering of the Regulations that resulted from the Autonomous Sanctions Amendment (Magnitsky-style and Other Thematic Sanctions) Regulations 2021. This amendment ensures that the relevant paragraph of the Regulations is referenced in the instrument.

 

Item 2

Item 2 is a technical amendment necessitated by the renumbering of the Regulations that resulted from the Autonomous Sanctions Amendment (Magnitsky-style and Other Thematic Sanctions) Regulations 2021. This amendment ensures that the relevant paragraph of the Regulations is referenced in the instrument.

 

Item 3

The persons listed in item 3 of Schedule 1 to this Instrument are designated by the Minister for the purposes of paragraph 6(a) of the Regulations and declared by the Minister for the purposes of paragraph 6(b) of the Regulations. Those listed are persons who hold positions on the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

 

The designations and declarations of persons listed in item 3 of Schedule 1 are made on the basis that the person meets the criteria mentioned in item 9 of the table in regulation 6 of the Regulations, that is, they are a person that the Minister is satisfied is responsible for, or complicit in, the threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. This includes members of Russia’s National Security Council who provided policy approval for Russia’s recognition of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic on 21 February 2022.


Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared PersonsUkraine) Amendment (No. 1) Instrument 2022

 

The Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared PersonsUkraine) Amendment (No. 1) Instrument 2022 (the Instrument) is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Modern sanctions regimes impose highly targeted measures in response to situations of international concern. This includes threats to a country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Thus, autonomous sanctions pursue legitimate objectives, and have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure that any limitation on human rights engaged by the imposition of sanctions is justified and a proportionate response to the situation of international concern. The Government keeps its sanctions regimes under regular review, including in relation to whether more effective, less rights‑restrictive means are available to achieve similar foreign policy objectives.

 

The Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 (the Regulations) make provision for, amongst other things, the proscription of persons or entities for autonomous sanctions. The Instrument, under regulation 6 of the Regulations, designates persons for targeted financial sanctions and declares those persons for the purposes of a travel ban.  The Minister made the designations and declarations being satisfied that the persons are responsible for or complicit in the threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine (item 9 of the table at regulation 6).

 

The human rights compatibility of the Instrument is addressed by reference to each of the human rights engaged below.

 

Right to privacy

 

Right

 

Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the ICCPR) prohibits unlawful or arbitrary interferences with a person's privacy, family, home and correspondence.

 

The use of the term ‘arbitrary’ in the ICCPR means that any interferences with privacy must be in accordance with the provisions, aims and objectives of the ICCPR and should be reasonable in the individual circumstances. Arbitrariness connotes elements of injustice, unpredictability, unreasonableness, capriciousness and ‘unproportionality’.[1]

Permissible limitations

 

The Instrument is not an unlawful interference with an individual’s right to privacy. Section 10 of the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 (the Act) permits regulations relating to, among other things: ‘proscription of persons or entities (for specified purposes or more generally)’; and ‘restriction or prevention of uses of, dealings with, and making available of, assets’. The designations and declarations contained in the Instrument were made pursuant to regulation 6 of the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 (the Regulations), which provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, designate and/or declare a person for targeted financial sanctions and/or travel bans.

 

The measures contained in the Instrument are not an arbitrary interference with an individual’s right to privacy. An interference with privacy will not be arbitrary where it is reasonable, necessary and proportionate in the individual circumstances.

 

In designating an individual under the Regulations for targeted financial sanctions and/or travel bans, the Minister uses predictable, publicly available criteria. These criteria are designed to capture only those persons the Minister is satisfied are involved in situations of international concern, as set out in regulation 6 of the Regulations.

 

Targeted financial sanctions and travel bans under the autonomous sanctions regime are imposed in response to situations of international concern, including (but not limited to) where there are, or have been, egregious human rights abuses, weapons of mass destruction proliferation (in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions), indictment in international criminal tribunals, undemocratic systems of government, and threats to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a State. Given the serious nature of the threats to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the Government considers that targeted financial sanctions and travel bans are the least rights-restrictive way to achieve its legitimate foreign policy objective of signalling Australia’s concerns about the situation in Ukraine. These sanctions allow a targeted response to Australia’s concerns relating to Russian aggressive action towards Ukraine, by seeking to influence the Russian state to modify its detrimental behaviour.

 

Accordingly, targeted financial sanctions and travel bans imposed by the Minister through the designation of specific individuals under the Regulations are reasonable, necessary and proportionate to the individual circumstances the sanctions are seeking to address.  Therefore, any interference with the right to privacy created by the operation of the Instrument is not arbitrary or unlawful and, therefore, is consistent with Australia’s obligations under Article 17 of the ICCPR.

 

Right to respect for the family

 

Right

 

The right to respect for the family is protected by articles 17 and 23 of the ICCPR. It covers, among other things, the separation of family members under migration laws, and arbitrary or unlawful interferences with the family.

 

Limitations on the right to respect for the family under Articles 17 and 23 of the ICCPR will not violate those articles if the measures in question are lawful and non‑arbitrary. An interference with respect for the family will be consistent with the ICCPR where it is necessary and proportionate, in accordance with the provisions, aims and objectives of the ICCPR, and is reasonable in the individual circumstances.

 

Permissible limitations

As set out above, the autonomous sanctions regime is authorised by domestic law and is not unlawful.

 

As the listing criteria in regulation 6 of the Regulations are drafted by reference to specific foreign countries, it is highly unlikely, as a practical matter, that a person declared for a travel ban will hold an Australian visa, usually reside in Australia and have immediate family also in Australia.

 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) consults relevant agencies as appropriate in advance of a designation and declaration of a person with known connections to Australia to determine the possible impacts of the designation and declaration on any family members in Australia.

 

To the extent that the travel bans imposed pursuant to the Instrument engage and limit the right to respect for the family in a particular case, the Regulations allow the Minister to waive the operation of a travel ban on the grounds that it would be either: (a) in the national interest; or (b) on humanitarian grounds. This provides a mechanism to address circumstances in which issues such as the possible separation of family members in Australia are involved. In addition, this decision may be judicially reviewed. Finally, were such a separation to take place, for the reasons outlined in relation to Article 17 above, such a separation would be justified in the circumstances.

 

Accordingly, any interference with the right to respect for the family created by the operation of the Instrument is not unlawful or arbitrary and, therefore, consistent with Australia’s obligations under Articles 17 and 23 of the ICCPR.

 

Right to an adequate standard of living

 

Right

The right to an adequate standard of living is contained in Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and requires States to ensure the availability and accessibility of the resources that are essential to the realisation of the right: namely, food, water, and housing.

 

Article 4 of the ICESCR provides that this right may be subject to such limitations ‘as are determined by law only in so far as this may be compatible with the nature of these rights and solely for the purpose of promoting the general welfare in a democratic society’. To be consistent with the ICESCR, limitations must be proportionate.

Permissible limitations

Any limitation on the enjoyment of Article 11(1), to the extent that it occurs, is justified. The Regulations also allow for any adverse impacts on family members as a consequence of targeted financial sanctions to be mitigated. The Regulations provide for the payment of basic expenses (among others) in certain circumstances. The objective of ‘basic expenses exemption’ in regulation 20 is, in part, to enable the Australian Government to administer the sanctions regime in a manner compatible with relevant human rights standards.

 

The permit process is a flexible and effective safeguard on any limitation to the enjoyment of Article 11(1).

 

Right to freedom of movement

 

Right

Article 12 of the ICCPR protects the right to freedom of movement, which includes a right to leave Australia, as well as the right to enter, remain, or return to one’s ‘own country’.

 

The right to freedom of movement may be restricted under domestic law on any of the grounds in Article 12(3) of the ICCPR, namely national security, public order, public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others. Any limitation on the enjoyment of the right also needs to be reasonable, necessary and proportionate.

 

Permissible limitations

 

As the listing criteria in regulation 6 of the Regulations are drafted by reference to specific foreign countries, it is highly unlikely, as a practical matter, that a person declared for a travel ban would be an Australian citizen, or have spent such lengths of time in Australia, such that Australia could be considered their ‘own country’. Furthermore, travel bans – which are a power to refuse a visa and to cancel a visa – do not apply to Australian citizens.

 

To the extent that Article 12(4) is engaged in an individual case, such that a person listed in the Instrument is prevented from entering Australia as their ‘own country’, the imposition of the travel ban would be justified. As set out above in relation to Article 17 of the ICCPR, travel bans are a reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the legitimate objectives of Australia’s autonomous sanctions regime. Travel bans are reasonable because they are only imposed on persons who the Minister is satisfied are responsible for giving rise to situations of international concern. Thus, preventing a person who is, for example, complicit in the threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, from travelling to, entering or remaining in Australia through operation of the Instrument is a reasonable means to achieve the legitimate foreign policy objective of signalling Australia’s concerns about the situation in Ukraine. Australia’s practice in this respect is consistent with that of other countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

 

The Minister may also waive the operation of a declaration that was made for the purpose of preventing a person from travelling to, entering or remaining in Australia, on the grounds that it would be in the national interest, or on humanitarian grounds. This decision is subject to natural justice requirements, and may be judicially reviewed.

 

Non-refoulement

 

Right

 

The obligations relating to the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the CAT) and Article 7 of the ICCPR, as well as Article 6 of the ICCPR on the right to life and prohibition on arbitrary deprivation of life, are engaged by the travel restrictions in the Instrument. There is no permissible derogation from these implied or express non‑refoulement obligations.

 

Permissible limitations

 

To the extent that the travel bans imposed pursuant to the Instrument engage Australia’s non-refoulement obligations the Regulations allow the Minister to waive the operation of a travel ban on the grounds that it would be either: (a) in the national  interest; or (b) on humanitarian grounds. A travel ban may lead to the cancellation of a visa held by a non-citizen lawfully in Australia, which can lead to removal under section 198 of the Migration Act 1958, Australia will continue to meet its non-refoulement obligations through mechanisms prior to the person becoming available for removal under the Migration Act 1958, including through the protection visa application process, and through the use of the Minister for Home Affairs’ personal powers in the Migration Act 1958.

 

The Instrument is consistent with Australia’s international non-refoulement obligations as, together with the Foreign Minister’s powers to revoke a declaration or waive its operation in an individual case, non‑refoulement obligations are considered prior to a person becoming available for removal under the Migration Act 1958.  A person must not be removed from Australia to another country if there is a real risk that the person may be subjected to arbitrary deprivation of life, the death penalty, torture, cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment, or degrading treatment or punishment.

 

Right to equality and non-discrimination

Right

 

The right to equality and non-discrimination under Article 26 of the ICCPR provides that everyone is entitled to enjoy their rights without discrimination of any kind, and that people are equal before the law and are entitled without discrimination to the equal and non-discriminatory protection of the law.

 

Differential treatment (including the differential effect of a measure that is neutral on its face) will not constitute unlawful discrimination if the differential treatment is based on reasonable and objective criteria, serves a legitimate objective, and is a proportionate means of achieving that objective.

 

Permissible limitations

 

Any differential treatment of people as a consequence of the application of the Instrument does not amount to discrimination pursuant to Article 26 of the ICCPR.

 

The criteria set out in regulation 6 of the Regulations are reasonable and objective. They are reasonable insofar as they list only those States and activities which the Government has specifically determined give rise to situations of international concern. They are objective, as they provide a clear, consistent and objectively-verifiable reference point by which the Minister is able to make a designation or declaration. The Regulations serve a legitimate objective, as discussed above.

 

To the extent that the measures result in a differential impact on persons from particular countries, this is both proportionate and justifiable.  Country-specific sanctions will inevitably impact persons from certain countries more than others, as they are used as a tool of foreign diplomacy to facilitate the conduct of Australia’s international relations with particular countries. In this case, the measures will predominately impact persons of Russian and Ukrainian national origin or nationality due to the location of the situation of international concern to which the measures respond.

 

Denying access to international travel and the international financial system to certain designated individuals is a highly targeted, justified and less rights-restrictive means of achieving the aims of the Regulations, including in a context where other conventional mechanisms are unavailable. While these measures may impact individuals of certain nationalities and national origins more than others, there is no information to support the view that affected groups are vulnerable. Rather, the individuals designated in the Instrument are persons the Minister is satisfied are involved in activities that give rise to situations of international concern. Further, there are several safeguards, such as the availability of judicial review and regular review processes in place, to ensure that any limitation is proportionate to the objective being sought.

 



[1] Manfred Nowak, United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: CCPR Commentary (NP Engel, 1993) 178.