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Canadian Sanctions Related to South Sudan

Types of sanctions

Arms embargo

Asset freeze

Export and import restrictions

Technical assistance prohibition

Recent developments

  • 2023-08-04 - Regulations were amended (SEMA)
  • 2023-06-19 - Regulations were amended (UNA)
  • 2020-06-01 - Regulations were amended (UNA)
Do you need a permit or certificate?


Sanctions related to South Sudan were imposed under the Special Economic Measures Act and the United Nations Act in response to the ongoing conflict in that country.

The Special Economic Measures (South Sudan) Regulations impose an asset freeze on designated persons identified in the Schedule to the regulations. They prohibit persons in Canada and Canadians abroad from:

  • dealing in any property, wherever situated, held by or on behalf of a designated person;
  • entering into or facilitating, directly or indirectly, any transaction related to such a dealing;
  • providing any financial or related service in respect of such a dealing;
  • making goods, wherever situated, available to a designated person; and,
  • providing any financial or related service to or for the benefit of a designated person.

Causing, assisting or promoting prohibited activities is likewise prohibited.

Sanctions measures related to South Sudan enacted under the United Nations Act give effect to United Nations Security Council resolutions. Subject to certain exceptions, the measures imposed against South Sudan include:

  • a prohibition on the export of arms and related material to South Sudan or to any person in South Sudan;
  • a prohibition on the provision, to South Sudan or to any person in South Sudan, of technical or financial assistance related to military activities or armed mercenaries;
  • an assets freeze against persons designated by the UN committee established by Resolution 2206 (2015) to oversee the sanctions against South Sudan (the South Sudan Committee); and
  • a travel ban against persons designated by the South Sudan Committee.

Causing, facilitating and assisting prohibited activities is prohibited.


Under the Special Economic Measures (South Sudan) Regulations, some exceptions to the prohibitions exist, including for the following:

  • payments made by or on behalf of a designated person that is due under a contract entered into their designation, provided that the payment is not to a designated person or for their benefit;
  • pension payments to any person in Canada or Canadian abroad;
  • certain transactions in respect of diplomatic missions;
  • transactions to UN agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and Canadian NGOs in certain circumstances;
  • transactions necessary for a Canadian to transfer to a non-designated person any accounts, funds or investments held by a designated person when that person became a designated person;
  • financial services required in order for a designated person to obtain certain legal services in Canada;
  • certain payments to persons in Canada or Canadians abroad in respect of loan payments; and
  • payments to any person in Canada or any Canadian abroad in respect of loans entered into prior the date on which a person became a designated person

Under the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on South Sudan, there are some exceptions, including for the following:

  • supplies of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use;
  • protective clothing temporarily exported to South Sudan by United Nations personnel, representatives of the media and humanitarian and development workers and associated personnel, solely for their personal use; and
  • supplies of arms and related materials intended solely for use by or support of United Nations personnel including the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

On June 19, 2023, the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on South Sudan were amended to allow the provision, processing or payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources or the provision of goods and services that are necessary to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance or to support other activities related to basic human needs, if provided by specified groups. These changes are the result of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2664 (2022), which created a carve-out for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in all current UN sanctions regimes that impose asset freezes.

Permits and Certificates

The Special Economic Measures (South Sudan) 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, with a designated person that is otherwise restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Special Economic Measures (South Sudan) Regulations.

Persons affected by the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on South Sudan can also apply for a certificate as per sections 11 to 14 of the same regulations. The certificate request may require notification to and/or a decision from the United Nations Security Council or the Committee.


Since December 2013, forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar have engaged in violent conflict, much of it along ethnic lines. The IGAD (a regional body consisting of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, as well as South Sudan) is leading peace talks. A Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) Agreement was signed by both parties on January 23, 2014, followed by an Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan signed on May 9, 2014. Both agreements were violated shortly thereafter and international observers suspect that both sides have been deliberately stalling negotiations in hopes of furthering their military gains. On June 10, 2014, Kiir and Machar agreed to end fighting and form a transitional government within 60 days, but little progress has been made since then.

Estimates of casualties due to the conflict range from 10,000 to 40,000 people and are possibly much higher, and over 1.5 million have been displaced internally or as refugees. On May 12, 2014, UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon called for a special tribunal for South Sudan, saying there are grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed during the crisis.

On October 23, 2014, the Special Economic Measures (South Sudan) Regulations came into force. The Regulations include a list of names of persons for whom the Governor in Council considers that there are reasonable grounds to believe is a person engaged in activities that directly or indirectly facilitate, support, provide funding for or contribute to a violation or attempted violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.

On June 18, 2015, the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on South Sudan came into force, implementing decisions of the United Nations Security Council into Canadian domestic law.

On July 13, 2018, the Security Council decided in Resolution 2428 (2018) to impose an arms embargo and renew the asset freeze, and on May 30, 2019, it decided to renew its sanctions imposed against South Sudan.

On June 1, 2020, Canada amended the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on South Sudan to implement these decisions of the Security Council in Canadian domestic law.

Selected documents


Regulations and orders made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Regulations made under the United Nations 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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