The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced new sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act in response to the ongoing, gross and systematic violations of human rights in Belarus. These new measures impose restrictions on key sectors of the Belarusian economy and minimize Belarusian state actors’ access to international finance. The targeted sectors include transferrable securities and money market instruments, debt financing, insurance and reinsurance, petroleum products and potassium chloride products. These measures are being taken in solidarity with those of international partners.
It has been 1 year since the fraudulent August 2020 Belarusian presidential election, which followed a campaign marred by systematic voter repression, including state-sponsored violence against protestors, activists and journalists. Since then, the grave injustices carried out by the Belarusian government against its own people have not stopped. The regime, led by Aleksandr Lukashenko, continues to muzzle political opposition, and crackdowns on independent media have only escalated. The reckless forced diversion of Ryanair Flight 4978 to arrest Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich and his companion, Sofia Sapega, was a particularly brazen attack on the independent media, but far from the only one.
The regime has refused to engage in meaningful dialogue, and there has been no sign that it is willing to seek a peaceful and democratic resolution to the crisis. This is why Canada has today taken steps to impose these additional sanctions.
These measures will apply further pressure on Belarus’s leadership and send a clear signal to the Belarusian people that Canada continues to stand with them in their ongoing efforts to live peaceably and without fear of persecution in an open and democratic society.
“It has been 1 year since the Belarusian regime demonstrated its blatant disregard for human rights during the fraudulent presidential elections of August 2020. Since then, Canada has stood with our international partners in applying pressure on those responsible for continued human rights violations. The measures announced today show that Canada will not relent in ending impunity for human rights abusers.
– Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs
To date, Canada has sanctioned 72 Belarusian officials and 5 entities under the Special Economic Measures Act because of the Government of Belarus’s ongoing lack of respect for human rights.
To date, Canada has announced over $3 million to support civil society organizations who are working to advance democracy in Belarus, with a focus on women and independent media.
On July 6, 2021, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau met with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on the sidelines of the Ukraine Reform Conference and reiterated Canada’s support to the democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus.