On June 19, 2014, the Government of Canada imposed economic sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR).  The sanctions are intended to support political and humanitarian efforts to secure a restoration of constitutional order and security in the CAR, ongoing since the coup in March 2013, and in light of a recent surge in fighting in the CAR.  

The sanctions could impact Canadians involved in the supply of military equipment and spare parts as well as mining companies engaged in the CAR.

UN Security Council resolutions

On December 5, 2013, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2127 (2013), imposing an arms embargo against the CAR.  On January 28, 2014, the Security Council also adopted Resolution 2134 (2014), imposing a travel ban and assets freeze on individuals or entities designated by the Committee of the Security Council. The resolutions are intended to be implemented by all member states of the United Nations.

Canada’s sanctions against the CAR

Canada will enforce the resolutions through the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on the Central African Republic (CAR Regulations), consistent with its obligations under the United Nations Act.

The CAR Regulations are mainly intended to prohibit any person in Canada or any Canadian outside of Canada from (i) exporting, selling, supplying or shipping arms and related material to the CAR or to any person in the CAR and (ii) providing or transferring to the CAR or to any person in the CAR technical or financial assistance or any other assistance that is related to military activities or the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of arms and related material.  

The CAR Regulations also impose an assets freeze, retroactive to January 28, 2014, on designated persons. As of June 19, 2014, three individuals have been designated, all high-level leaders of various factions alleged to be undermining peace and security in the CAR; no entities or groups are designated.

The CAR Regulations contain limited exceptions to the prohibitions, intended primarily for the benefit of international peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts in the CAR.  Certificates of exemption may also be obtained in certain circumstances that would permit a person in Canada or a Canadian outside of Canada to engage in activity that would otherwise be prohibited by the regulations.  

Who is likely to be most affected?

The CAR Regulations will be of particular interest to Canadians involved in the supply of military equipment and spare parts, and/or the provision of technical assistance or data in connection with military activities, arms and related material.

Canadian mining companies engaged in the CAR may also be affected by the CAR Regulations, to the extent they have any involvement with a designated person and/or maintain security operations in the CAR around mining sites or to facilitate transport of minerals and equipment.