Belarus: Federal Council extends scope of sanctions
Bern, 11.12.2020 - On 11 December, the Federal Council extended sanctions against Belarus. Financial sanctions and travel bans were imposed on 15 individuals, including President Alexander Lukashenko. The new measures come into force at 6pm on 11 December.
The sanctions are in line with the decisions taken by the EU on 6 November 2020. The 15 persons newly added to the list in Annex 1 to the Ordinance on Measures against Belarus (SR 9220.127.116.11) are alleged to be responsible for the use of violence and arbitrary arrests following the contested elections in Belarus. Those subject to the sanctions include President Alexander Lukashenko and his son and national security advisor, Viktor Lukashenko. The individuals concerned have been banned from entering or travelling through Switzerland. Their assets are to be frozen and must be reported to SECO without delay.
The Federal Council also decided to amend the ordinance to include an embargo on armaments and goods that may be used for internal repression. The EU imposed a similar embargo in 2011. Switzerland has to date largely implemented that embargo based on existing war materiel and dual-use goods legislation. In adopting the embargo on armaments and goods that may be used for internal repression, the Federal Council is reacting to the ongoing repression of civil society and opposition groups in Belarus.
On 12 October 2020, in response to the events following the presidential elections, the EAER already added the names of 40 persons to the sanctions list in the Annex to the Ordinance. Switzerland thereby followed the example of EU, which imposed sanctions on 2 October 2020.
Also in line with the EU, the Federal Council first decided to take coercive measures against Belarus on 28 June 2006. The Ordinance on Measures against Belarus (SR 918.104.22.168), together with its annex on individuals, businesses and organisations that are subject to sanctions has since been revised on several occasions. The Ordinance has now been completely revised in order to adopt the new measures.
Switzerland is deeply concerned by the ongoing tensions and is calling for dialogue between the Belarus government and civil society. It is urging Belarus to respect its international human rights obligations. These include respect for freedom of expression, assembly and association, the release of all those who have been arbitrarily detained and the investigation of allegations of torture or ill-treatment by security forces.
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