Burma (also Known as Myanmar)
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 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.
The measures implemented by the Regulations, as amended, include:
- a freeze on assets in Canada of any designated Burmese nationals connected with the Burmese State, as well as prohibitions on several categories of transactions, services and dealings involving property of designated persons, wherever situated; and
- an arms embargo, including prohibitions on exporting and importing arms and related material to and from Burma, on communicating technical data related to military activities or arms and related material, and on financial services related to military activities or arms and related material.
The Regulations provide for certain exclusions to the above measures, including:
- some payments required under contracts entered into before a party was designated under the Regulations;
- dealings related to humanitarian or development assistance;
- dealings required to move financial assets away from designated persons; and
- certain protective or non-lethal military clothing and equipment when intended for use by media, humanitarian, human rights or other listed personnel.
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:
- Justice Canada consolidation of the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations
- Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations (SOR/2012-85): entered into force on April 24, 2012
- Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations (SOR/2007-285): entered into force on December 13, 2007 (see page 93 of the linked document)
- Special Economic Measures (Burma) Permit Authorization Order (SOR/2007-286): entered into force on December 13, 2007
Announcements related to the Regulations made under the Special Economic Measures Act:
- April 24, 2012 statement by Minister Baird announcing an easing of sanctions against Burma: News Release
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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