Sanctions against Syria: Switzerland extends temporary humanitarian exemption by six months

Bern, 21.02.2024 - On 21 February, the Federal Council decided to extend by six months the temporary humanitarian exemption to the sanctions regime against Syria that was introduced after the earthquake that struck the country in February 2023. The exemption now applies until 12 September 2024.

In light of the grave humanitarian crisis in Syria, which was exacerbated by the earthquake, the EU amended its measures against Syria on 23 February 2023, introducing an initial six-month humanitarian exemption for international organisations and certain categories of humanitarian actors. On 18 December 2023, the EU extended the exemption for a further six months.

The Federal Council decided on 10 March 2023 to include the EU's temporary humanitarian exemption in the ordinance on measures against Syria. The exemption means that targeted financial sanctions do not apply to activities that are necessary for the humanitarian work of international organisations and some categories of humanitarian actors. The Federal Council’s decision extends this exemption for a further six months, until 12 September 2024.

The Federal Council adopted initial sanctions against Syria on 18 May 2011, thus aligning Switzerland with the EU measures against Syria adopted on 9 May 2011. It has subsequently amended the ordinance on measures against Syria several times to reflect the EU's decisions.

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