Inquiry into a framework for autonomous sanctions under Australian law to target human rights abuses

Issue date: Wednesday, 4 December 2019

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Senator the Hon David Fawcett, Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, announced today a new parliamentary inquiry which will examine whether Australia should adopt legal measures to impose sanctions upon individuals who commit gross human rights abuses.

The Hon Kevin Andrews MP, Chair of the Human Rights Sub-Committee, says the inquiry is an excellent opportunity to shape how Australia combats human rights abuses both at home and abroad.

‘Australia’s efforts to combat human rights abuses are broad, and the ability to impose sanctions against individuals who hold assets in Australia and commit gross human rights abuses abroad is a valuable tool in fighting such abuses,’ Mr Andrews said.

‘A thorough examination of our current regime and how it compares internationally, particularly with the United States’ Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act will enable any strengthening measures to be implemented and to ensure our regime is functioning effectively.’

Mr Andrews said the inquiry will focus upon Australia’s current sanctions laws regarding human rights abuses worldwide, how these laws are currently enforced and comparing them to other jurisdictions to determine if and how Australia may be able to strengthen its laws and approach to combatting to international human rights abuses.

‘Inquiries like these reinforce Australia’s ongoing commitment to the promotion and defence of human rights around the world,’ Mr Andrews said.

Submissions to the inquiry are now being called for, and are due by 31 January 2020. International submissions will be open until 28 February 2020.

Media inquiries

The Hon Kevin Andrews MP
Contact: Cristy Elliott on 03 9848 9900 / 02 6277 4023/ (

For background information

Committee Secretariat
02 6277 2313

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