Sanctions policy

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The Council today decided to add Faisal Mekdad to the list of persons subject to EU restrictive measures on Syria, in light of his recent appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
This decision brings to 289 the total number of persons targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze. 70 entities are also subject to an asset freeze.

The Council today decided to prolong the restrictive measures currently targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2021. These sanctions were imposed in 2014 in response to Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine.

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I am happy to speak again at the European Union-NGO human rights forum. One year ago, this forum was my first public event in Brussels at the start of my mandate as High Representative/Vice-President. Time flies, it was one year ago.

The last year has been a difficult year for human rights worldwide. We have seen more violations of human rights, more abuses and more restrictions. And, sad to say, more human rights defenders have been arrested and even killed in the defence of their rights.

As we approach Human Rights Day on 10 December, the European Union and its Member States reaffirm their strong commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights around the world. The establishment of the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is a landmark initiative to underscore the EU’s determination to enhance its role in addressing serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide.

The Council today adopted a decision and a regulation establishing a global human rights sanctions regime. For the first time, the EU is equipping itself with a framework that will allow it to target individuals, entities and bodies – including state and non-state actors – responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred.

Serious human rights violations and abuses are taking place in many parts of the world, too often without any consequences for the perpetrators. As a global leader in the promotion and protection of human rights, the European Union will not stand by while serious human rights violations and abuses are committed. Today, the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime has been adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council: it will enable the EU to even more forcefully stand up for human rights.

The European Commission further expanded its Guidance Note on how COVID-19-related humanitarian aid can be provided to countries and areas around the world that are subject to EU restrictive measures (sanctions). This Guidance now also has a self-standing chapter on Nicaragua.

The Council today decided to add eight members of the Syrian regime to the list of persons subject to EU restrictive measures on Syria, in light of their recent ministerial appointments. This decision brings to 288 the total number of persons targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze. 70 entities are also subject to an asset freeze.

The Council today added 15 members of the Belarusian authorities, including Alexandr Lukashenko as well as his son and National Security Adviser Viktor Lukashenko, to the list of individuals sanctioned in relation to the violent repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, opposition members and journalists after the 2020 presidential election in Belarus.

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