Sanctions under Australian law

What are sanctions?

In situations of international concern, measures other than the use of armed force are often required to bring a situation to an end, limit its impacts or to penalise those responsible. This is where sanctions come into play.

Sanctions measures include financial sanctions such as asset freezes, travel bans, restrictions on trade and on engaging in commercial activities.

Australia implements two types of sanctions regimes:

  • United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions.
  • Australian autonomous sanctions.


United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions

As a member of the UN, Australia implements all UNSC sanctions by incorporating them into Australian law.

The UNSC has imposed sanctions in relation to various countries including Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Additionally, anti-terrorism sanctions are imposed against ISIL and Al-Qaida, The Taliban, and generally in relation to any persons involved in terrorist activities.


Australian autonomous sanctions

A number of countries do not have sanctions imposed by the UNSC, however Australia implements autonomous sanctions to address conduct that is contrary to Australian foreign policy and poses a threat to national or international security.

Australia has imposed autonomous sanctions in relation to the Former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Myanmar, Russia and Zimbabwe.

In some cases, Australian autonomous sanctions overlap with UNSC sanctions. For North Korea, Iran and Libya, Australia incorporates UNSC sanctions into domestic law, as well as implementing its own complementary autonomous sanctions.


How can someone be removed from a sanctions list?

If a designated person or entity wants to be removed from a sanctions list, a request can be made to be de-listed. The procedure to follow depends on the specific designated list.


Removal from UNSC sanctions

  • UNSC Listings: Requests should be made to the Focal Point for De-listing (established by UNSCR 1730) or through your country of citizenship or residence.
  • UNSC Listings related to ISIL (Da’esh) and Al Qaida: Requests should be made to the UN Office of the Ombudsperson (established by UNSCR 1904) or through your country of citizenship or residence.
  • Listings under counter-terrorism (UNSCR 1373) sanctions regime: Requests should be made through the Sanctions Contact Page of the Australian Sanctions Office.


Removal from Australian autonomous sanctions

Requests should be made through the Sanctions Contact Page of the Australian Sanctions Office.


DFAT’s Australian Sanctions Office

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has established the Australian Sanctions Office (ASO) which acts as the Australian government’s sanctions regulator, responsible for:

  • Providing guidance to regulated entities on Australian sanctions law.
  • Processing applications for and issuing sanctions permits.
  • Promoting compliance and helping to prevent breaches of the law.
  • Partnering with other government agencies to monitor compliance with sanctions legislation.
  • Supporting corrective and enforcement action by law enforcement agencies in cases of suspected non-compliance.

The ASO also receives requests to be removed from listings under Australian autonomous sanctions.

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in complex matters involving both Australian and international sanctions. 

Contact us if you require assistance.