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Canadian Sanctions Related to Nicaragua

Types of sanctions

Asset freeze

Financial prohibitions

Recent developments

  • 2021-11-14 - Regulations were amended
  • 2021-07-14 - Regulations were amended
  • 2019-06-21 - Regulations were implemented
Do you need a permit or certificate?

Prohibitions

Sanctions related to Nicaragua have been enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act in response to the gross and systematic human rights violations that have been committed in Nicaragua.

The Regulations came into force on 21 June, 2019.

The Special Economic Measures (Nicaragua) Regulations impose a dealings prohibition, an effective asset freeze, on listed persons. The Regulations prohibit any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada from:

  • dealing in property, wherever situated, that is owned, held or controlled by listed persons or a person acting on behalf of a listed person;
  • entering into or facilitating any transaction related to a dealing prohibited by these Regulations;
  • providing any financial or related services in respect of a dealing prohibited by these Regulations;
  • making available any goods, wherever situated, to a listed person or a person acting on behalf of a listed person; and
  • providing any financial or other related services to or for the benefit of a listed person.

Causing, facilitating or assisting in prohibited activities is likewise prohibited.

The individuals listed in the Schedule to the Regulations are also inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Exceptions

The above-noted asset freeze and dealings prohibitions do not apply to the following activities or transactions:

  • payments made by or on behalf of a listed person pursuant to contracts entered into prior to the coming into force of the Regulations, provided that the payments are not made to a listed person or to a person acting on behalf of a listed person;
  • transactions necessary for a Canadian to transfer to a non-listed person any accounts, funds or investments of a Canadian held by a listed person on the day on which that person became listed;
  • dealings with a listed person required with respect to loan repayments made to any person in Canada, or any Canadian outside Canada, for loans entered into with any person other than a listed person, and for enforcement and realization of security in respect of those loans, or repayments by guarantors guaranteeing those loans;
  • dealings with a listed person required with respect to loan repayments made to any person in Canada, or any Canadian outside Canada, for loans entered into with a listed person before that person became a listed person, and for enforcement and realization of security in respect of those loans, or repayments by guarantors guaranteeing those loans;
  • pension payments to any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada;
  • financial services required in order for a listed person to obtain legal services in Canada with respect to the application of any of the prohibitions set out in these Regulations;
  • transactions in respect of accounts at financial institutions held by diplomatic missions, provided that the transaction is required in order for the mission to fulfill its diplomatic functions under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, or transactions required in order to maintain the mission premises if the diplomatic mission has been temporarily or permanently recalled;
  • transactions with any international organization with diplomatic status, agencies of the United Nations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, or with any entity that has entered into a grant or contribution agreement with Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; and
  • transactions by the Government of Canada that are provided for in any agreement or arrangement between Canada and Nicaragua.

Permits and Certificates

A separate Special Economic Measures (Nicaragua) Permit Authorization Order 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 otherwise restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Regulations.

Background

In April 2018, the Government of Nicaragua began a systematic campaign of repression and state-sponsored violence to crack down on anti-government protests. Under the direction of President Daniel Ortega, the government committed a range of well-documented human rights violations. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Amnesty International and local human rights organizations reported numerous human rights violations, including state authorities’ violations to the right to life, security, free speech, and free assembly, as well as breaches of due-process safeguards. There are also credible allegations of torture, extrajudicial killings and mistreatment against protestors.

In response to the situation, on June 21, 2019, Canada acted in coordination with the United States and announced sanctions against key members of officials in the Government of Nicaragua under the Special Economic Measures (Nicaragua) Regulations. The European Union, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have all since enacted their own sanctions against Nicaragua.

The situation has not improved since then. In October 2020, the Organization of American States’ General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on Nicaragua to work with the Organization and opposition groups and engage in substantial electoral reform by May 31, 2021. The Government of Nicaragua made no attempt to cooperate with the Organization of American States and is not respecting its international human rights obligations nor the rights and guarantees protected in its own constitution.

Today, the abuses and violations continue. In June 2021, the Government of Nicaragua stepped up its attacks and arbitrarily detained more than 20 prominent opposition figures, including several potential presidential candidates, charging them on trumped up allegations of money-laundering and coup-mongering. The detained presidential candidates are also banned from running for office. More than a dozen other individuals linked to civil society organizations critical of the government have been prevented from leaving the country. Many other activists, students and journalists are also operating under repressive surveillance and threats from Government of Nicaragua security authorities.

Selected documents

Regulations

Regulations and Orders made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Announcements

Announcements related to the Regulations made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Related links

Legal advice

Please be advised that Global Affairs Canada cannot provide legal advice to members of the public. For this reason, we cannot deliver an opinion as to whether or not a specific activity or transaction would contravene sanctions legislation. You should consider seeking legal advice in relation to an activity that may contravene a Canadian sanction law.

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