On April 24, 2012, Canada eased the sanctions regime taken against Burma under the Special Economic Measures Act following positive steps towards reform in Burma. The measures announced today in a statement by Minister Baird contribute to international efforts to recognize positive changes taking place in Burma, while continuing to pressure its government to make additional reforms.
The announced measures remove a number of prohibitions currently found in the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations including: the prohibitions on import, export, investment, the docking and landing of ships and aircraft and the provision or acquisition of financial services. An arms embargo, covering the export of arms and related material to Burma as well as the providing of associated technical and financial assistance, and an assets freeze and dealings prohibition on designated persons remain in force.
On December 13, 2007, the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations (SOR/2007-285) came into force in order to respond to the gravity of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Burma, which threatened peace and security in the entire region.
Positive developments since 2010 in Burma indicate a significant improvement in the democracy and human rights situation, in stark contrast with the situation in 2007. Hundreds of political prisoners have been released, the government has entered peace negotiations and signed ceasefires agreements with most of the ethnic armed groups in the country, Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of her opposition pro-democracy party have been elected to Parliament and overall basic freedoms have improved. However, some significant concerns remain, particularly with regard to remaining political prisoners and the ongoing conflict in Kachin state.
On April 24, 2012, Minister Baird made a statement announcing that Canada was making substantial changes to its sanctions against Burma with the aim of contributing to international efforts to recognize positive changes taking place in that country, while continuing to pressure its government to make additional reforms.
The measures implemented by the Regulations, as amended, include:
The Regulations provide for certain exclusions to the above measures, including:
A separate Special Economic Measures (Burma) Permit Authorization Order (SOR/2007-286), made pursuant to subsection 4(4) of the Special Economic Measures Act, authorizes the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue to any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada a permit to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or any class of activity or transaction, that is restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Regulations.
Regulations and Orders made under the Special Economic Measures Act:
Announcements related to the Regulations made under the Special Economic Measures Act:
Canada also has certain policy measures in place with regard to Burma. More information on these measures can be found at the following link: Canada’s Policy on Burma.
April 24, 2012 media backgrounder on the easing of Canada’s sanctions against Burma.
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