Sanctions against Syria: Switzerland adopts temporary EU humanitarian exemption
Bern, 10.03.2023 - On 10 March, the Federal Council adopted the EU’s temporary amendment of its sanctions regime against Syria in order to facilitate the rapid delivery of humanitarian aid. The amendment to the relevant ordinance will come into force at 6pm on 10 March and apply for six months.
In view of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, which has been exacerbated by the recent earthquake, the EU amended its sanctions regime against Syria on 23 February to introduce a wide-ranging, temporary exception to ensure the provision of humanitarian aid. For the next six months, the EU has waived the need for humanitarian organisations to seek prior authorisation to make transfers or provide goods to sanctioned persons and entities where this is necessary for providing humanitarian aid.
The Ordinance of 8 June 2012 Imposing Measures against Syria already contains several exceptions for humanitarian purposes. On 3 March, the Federal Council exempted humanitarian actors receiving funding from the Confederation from the ban on providing - directly or indirectly - assets or economic resources to sanctions persons, entities or businesses in order to facilitate their humanitarian work.
The Federal Council is now extending this measure for the next six months to organisations covered by the EU's humanitarian exception.
The Federal Council first adopted sanctions against Syria on 18 May 2011, thus aligning Switzerland with the sanctions regime adopted by the EU against Syria on 9 May 2011. It has subsequently amended the ordinance several times to reflect the EU's decisions.
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