Australia: Foreign officials and corrupt business people targeted under changes to Australia’s sanctions powers

Foreign government officials could face sanctions for “gross human rights violations” while corrupt business people could be banned from travelling to Australia and have their assets and bank accounts frozen.

New sanctions powers – announced by the Morrison government on Thursday and expected to be presented to parliament by the end of the year – will allow Australia to target “perpetrators of egregious acts of international concern”.

The powers are likely to spark calls from Coalition backbenchers for sanctions against Chinese officials over human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The government’s planned amendments will also allow Australia to sanction individuals and entities for serious corruption, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or malicious cyber-activity.

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