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Human Rights (Targeted Sanctions) Bill 2021

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2021

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

HUMAN RIGHTS (TARGETED SANCTIONS) BILL 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Rice)

 



 

HUMAN RIGHTS (TARGETED SANCTIONS) BILL 2021

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of this Bill is to provide a framework for nominations of persons responsible for serious human rights abuses or serious corruption to the Foreign Minister, requiring a statement as to whether the Australian Government will impose targeted sanctions on those persons.

 

The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) recommended in December 2020 that the Australian Government “enact stand alone targeted sanctions legislation to address human rights violations and corruption”, or a Magnitsky Act.

As part of the report, the JSCFADT recommended that as well as establishing an independent advisory body, the decision maker should be able to receive nominations from any source.

 

While a Magnitsky Act would be a significant improvement on Australia’s current framework, the Australian Government does have the capacity to impose targeted sanctions on specified categories of persons, including human rights abusers, under the current framework. This Bill would enable Parliamentary bodies to require the Foreign Minister to make a statement in relation to particular individuals, specifying whether or not the Australian Government will impose targeted sanctions on those individuals.

 

It would also require the Foreign Minister to make a statement as to whether the Australian Government will impose sanctions on the individuals who have been responsible for, or complicit in, the coup in Myanmar.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Section 1: Short Title

1.           Section 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

Section 2: Commencement

2.           The Bill commences on the day after the Act receives Royal Assent.

Section 3: Simplified outline of the Act

3.           ​​Section 3 is a simplified outline of the Bill. This simplified outline is included to assist readers to understand the substantive provisions of the Bill. However, the outline is not intended to be comprehensive. It is intended that readers should rely on the substantive provisions of the Bill.

Section 4: Definitions

4.           ​​ Section 4 defines terms used in the Bill, including defining what constitutes an ‘associated entity’. Recommendation 9 of the JSCFADT was that “sanctions be applicable to associated entities, broadly defined”. Other definitions are by reference to existing legislation, including the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 and the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

Section 5: Minister must give a statement on request by Parliament

5.           ​​ Section 5 specifies that where required, the Minister must prepare a statement.

Subsection 5(1) specifies that this can be following a resolution by either House of Parliament, or by certain Parliamentary committees and subcommittees.

Subsection 5(2) specifies what must be set out in the statement, including the Minister’s opinion on whether the person is responsible for serious human rights abuses or serious corruption, and whether sanctions will be applied to the person.

Subsection 5(3) requires that the statement be tabled in Parliament within 120 days of the resolution.

Section 6: Minister must give a statement in relation to Myanmar

6.           ​​ Section 6 specifies that the Minister must, within 30 days of commencement, prepare a statement in relation to the 2021 coup d'état in Myanmar. Paragraph 6(3)(b) specifies that the statement applies to any person who was responsible for, or complicit in, the 2021 coup d'état, who falls within a number of categories set out in paragraph 6(3)(a), including ministers, military officers and senior officials.

Section 7: Review of the Operation of the Act

7.           ​​ Section 7 provides for a review of the Act as soon as possible after the Australian Parliament has passed legislation to implement a Magnitsky framework.

 



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

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

 

HUMAN RIGHTS (TARGETED SANCTIONS) BILL 2021

 

This Bill 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 .

 

Overview of the Bill

The purpose of this Bill is to provide a framework for nominations of persons responsible for serious human rights abuses or serious corruption to the Foreign Minister, requiring a statement as to whether the Australian Government will impose targeted sanctions on those persons.

Human rights implications

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms. The underlying power to impose sanctions still sits with the Foreign Minister under existing legislation (the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 ).

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.