On September 29, 2020, the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, HM Treasury, announced the imposition of sanctions on eight Belarusian officials pursuant to the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 (S.I. 680/2020), which were enacted to implement the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.
The newly sanctioned individuals include Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, his national security advisor and chief of staff, the Belarusian Minister of Internal Affairs and two of his deputies, and the commanders of two Belarusian internal security services – the Special Purpose Police Unit of Minsk, and the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to OFSI, Lukashenko is responsible for serious violations of human rights since the disputed presidential election of August 8, 2020. His security advisors, officials in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the commanders of the security services have overseen and participated in serious human rights violations perpetrated against protestors and journalists since the election, including cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment and even torture of detainees.
Pursuant to these sanctions, UK persons must freeze any accounts or economic resources they hold on behalf of the sanctioned individuals, refrain from dealing with such assets or making them available to the sanctioned individuals without a license issued by OFSI, and report information about the frozen assets to OFSI.
In coordination with the UK actions, the Canadian government imposed sanctions on the same individuals, pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act.