International sanction compliance

Sanctions are measures not involving the use of armed force, imposed in situations of international concern, including the grave repression of human rights, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery, or armed conflict. They will generally impose restrictions on activities that relate to particular countries, goods and services, or persons and entities, with the aim of:

  • Limiting the adverse consequences of an international concern. For example by denying access to military or paramilitary goods;
  • Influencing individuals and entities responsible for giving rise to the situation of international concern to modify their behaviour; and
  • Penalise those responsible by denying them access to international travel or the international financial system.

There are two types of sanctions regimes, which apply to Australian organisations; United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions regimes and Australian Autonomous Sanctions regimes. The legal framework for sanctions enforcement in Australia includes the following pieces of legislation:

  • the Charter of the United Nations (UN Sanction Enforcement Law) Declaration 2008;
  • the Australian Autonomous Sanctions Act (Commonwealth) 2011;
  • the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations (Commonwealth) 2011;
  • the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958; and
  • the Migration Regulations 1994.

Each sanctions regime will specify the particular sanctions measures imposed on a country and persons or entities. Some regimes will also include a sanctions specification listing specific items or activities subject to restrictions.

Sanctions Compliance Assessments

The International Sanctions Compliance Assessment is a requirement of the Higher Degree by Research admission process. Individuals who are Australian citizens, permanent residents or holders of Australian humanitarian visas do not require assessment.

If it is applicable, the International Sanctions Compliance Assessment form will be included in the combined admission assessment pack to be assessed by the relevant School and Faculty. The form is to be initiated by Curtin International Admissions and signed off by the nominated supervisor and Head of School/delegate.

The assessment is undertaken using resources provided by DFAT and where a link is identified, applications may be subjected to detailed assessments. In these cases, the University may seek a Sanctions Permit the cover the proposed research activity.

Sanctions Permits

The University may be allowed to engage in some activities that would otherwise contravene Australian sanctions law where the Minister for Foreign Affairs or their delegate grants a Sanctions Permit authorising the activity. Different sanctions regimes impose different criteria which must be satisfied before a permit is granted. Some enforceable conditions may also be attached to a sanctions permit. Recommendations for a permit application can be made during the internal sanctions compliance assessment process.

Sanctions Offences and Penalties.

Australian sanction laws establish serious criminal offences for:

1. Contravening a sanctions measure or a condition of a sanction permit
Penalties for these offences are:

  • Up to 10 years in prison, and/or a fine the greater of 2500 penalty units ($450,000 as of 31 July 2015) or three times the value of the transaction, for individuals; and
    Fines the greater of 10,000 penalty units ($1.8 million as of 31 July 2015) or three times the value of the transaction, for bodies corporate.

2. Giving false or misleading information in connection with the administration of a sanction law
Penalties for these offences are up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of 2500 penalty units ($450,000 as of 31 July 2015).

Please note:

  • Sanction offences are strict liability offences for bodies corporate, meaning that it is not necessary to prove any fault element (intent, knowledge, recklessness or negligence) for a body corporate to be found guilty; and
  • A sanctions permit is taken never to have been granted if false or misleading information was contained in the application for the permit.

Current Sanctions Regimes (updated 29 Oct 2019 )

Current Sanctions Regimes (updated 29 Oct 2019 )
Current Sanctions Regimes (updated 29 Oct 2019 )

Sanction Regimes

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides detailed information about the sanctions regimes currently implemented under Australian sanction laws.

Further information

For more information please contact Curtin University’s Regulatory Compliance Coordinator, Robert Mudhuwiwa on  +61 (8) 9266 4288 or