Swiss government facilitates humanitarian activities in Syria

Bern, 03.03.2023 - On 3 March, the Federal Council relaxed some of its sanctions against Syria, with the intention of making it easier for humanitarian actors active in Syria to establish the business relationships necessary for their work. The amendments to the ordinance concerned will come into effect at 6pm on 3 March.

The Ordinance of 8 June 2012 Imposing Measures against Syria prohibits the provision of money or economic resources to designated persons, entities or businesses. Until now, humanitarian actors receiving federal funding for their activities in Syria could obtain derogations from this rule for financial transactions necessary to provide humanitarian assistance or support to the civilian population. The Federal Council's decision extends the humanitarian exceptions in order to facilitate humanitarian activities in Syria, including the response to the earthquake of 6 February 2023.

Humanitarian actors in receipt of federal funding may now provide money and economic resources directly or indirectly to designated persons, entities and businesses, when necessary to provide humanitarian assistance or support to the civilian population. In the case of humanitarian actors who do not receive federal funding, an exceptional authorisation scheme has been set up to provide economic resources to designated persons, businesses and entities, provided this involves humanitarian activities or the provision of aid to the civilian population in Syria.

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 subsequently amended the ordinance on measures against Syria several times to reflect the EU's decisions.

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