Australia Urged To Impose Sanctions On Nations That Abuse Human Rights

Australia Urged To Impose Sanctions On Nations That Abuse Human Rights
Image: Prime Minister Scott Morrison

The Australian government should examine the use of targeted sanctions to address human rights abuses abroad, especially against LGBTQI people. That is the submission made by the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL)  to the  Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. VGLRL has sought changes in the law that would make such sanctions possible.

“The Lobby supports the use of targeted sanctions to address human rights abuses, as they are an effective tool to combat those that persecute LGBT people. As outlined in our submission, we are calling on the Australian Government to sanction human rights abusers abroad,” Nevena Spirovska, Co-Convener, Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, told Star Observer.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have laws in place to sanction individuals and organisations who are deemed as human rights violators.  In the past, Australia has sanctioned anti-LGBTQI law-maker Yelena Mizulina and Ramzan Kadyrov, the President of the Republic of Chechnya.


However, at present Australia does not have specific legislation that can be used to apply sanctions explicitly on those who violate human rights. In February 2020, Human Rights Watch had asked the Australian government to enact a new law that would allow such sanctions.

“Australia’s current sanctions law allows the government to impose targeted sanctions for a broad range of reasons, but the process is complicated, ad hoc, opaque, and difficult to navigate,” HRW had said in a submission to the Parliament’s human rights sub-committee.

HRW cited the examples of the US which adopted the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in 2016, and similar laws in Canada and the United Kingdom. The European Union too has got on board and is developing a global EU Human Rights Sanctions Regime.

“Telling rights violators in other countries that they can’t travel to Australia or put their money in Australian banks can have a real impact,” Elaine Pearson, HRW Australia director had said in a statement.

According to VGLRL, the Australian government should consult non-governmental organisations that may have evidence to back autonomous sanctions.  “One way to address this issue would be to amend section 10(2) of the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2 to provide that, in determining whether to impose sanctions, the Minister should consider information obtained by non-governmental organisations that monitor violations of human rights, similar to a provision in United States law,” said the Lobby,

VGLRL called on the Australian Government “to consider the use of targeted sanctions to address human rights abuses, particularly against LGBTQI people in Chechnya”.


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2 responses to “Australia Urged To Impose Sanctions On Nations That Abuse Human Rights”

  1. So let me get this straight. The VGLRL wants laws for the Federal Government to be able to put Sanctions in place for Countries that breach LGTBIQ+ Human Rights Correct? Cool OK I’m down with that.
    BUT! Isn’t the same Government that the VGLRL wanting to adopt these Sanctions also the same Government with it’s Leadership the very same one who also want to introduce a Bill into Parliament that will have a NEGATIVE IMPACT on the safety of the LGBTIG+ Communities as a whole and wouldn’t it also be looked app-on as a breach of Human Rights. Yes I am talking about The Religions Freedom Bill. So if the Government adopts both wouldn’t Australia then be looked as Two Faced. Oh you can put sanctions on us, yet you can abuse your own people. How is that fare Australia?
    This is a nice idea on paper these kind of Sanctions. But with the current Federal Government and what it wants to introduce. No it won’t work sorry. Now if was to get a change of Leadership at the top level of Government. Go for it. But right now we have a PM who more interested in making a bill that would push us back into the bad old days way before the HIV/AIDS virus Devastated our Community.

    (I apologise to any community members who were lost or living with the illness with my last comment. I was using it for a point of reference in my argument.)

  2. Don’t anyone hold their breath in the hope that this will happen because it simply won’t. Our politicians are so intent upon not offending anyone we trade with that they will do nothing. I am not just referring to the Chinese Dictatorship but include the Phillipines, Venezuela, Russia, India, Turkey, Iran, Iraq and others who have appalling records when it comes to Human Rights.