Belarus: Federal Council tightens sanctions

Bern, 11.08.2021 - The Federal Council today announced further economic sanctions against Belarus. These include controls on trade in certain goods as well as restrictions in the financial sector. The new measures take effect on Wednesday 11 August 2021 at 6pm, Swiss time.

The new package of economic sanctions on Belarus follows similar decisions taken by the European Union in June. In addition to the existing embargo on arms and equipment that may be used for internal repression, the Federal Council is now imposing sanctions on goods that could be used to monitor or intercept the internet and telephone communications. The new sanctions also restrict trade in dual-use goods and technologies, various petroleum and potassium chloride (potash) products, and goods used for the production or processing of tobacco products.

In the financial sector, the Federal Council imposed restrictions on the issuance of and trading in certain financial instruments and also the provision of loans and insurance or reinsurance services to the Belarusian government and other public bodies and agencies. Lastly, the Federal Council decided to impose financial sanctions on Belaeronavigatsia, the state-owned provider of air navigation services.

The Federal Council had previously adopted sanctions against Belarus on 28 June 2006 along the lines of those imposed by the EU. The Ordinance on Measures against Belarus (SR 946.231.116.9) and the list of individuals, companies and organisations subject to sanctions have been amended several times since then, in step with EU developments. The latest measures have been adopted via a complete revision of the ordinance.

Switzerland is deeply concerned about the steadily deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus and the absence of dialogue between the government and civil society. It continues to call on Belarus to adhere to its international human rights obligations, which include respect for the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, the release of all persons arbitrarily detained, and the investigation of allegations of torture or ill-treatment by security forces.

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