Joint statement by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada and United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary on crackdown on Belarusian civil society 


February 17, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, today issued a joint statement:

The persecution yesterday of human rights organisations and independent journalists across Belarus in targeted raids by the Belarusian authorities is appalling. This is a further assault on civil society and liberties in that country, which has faced extraordinary oppression from the Lukashenko regime.

We have seen over the past six months how these brave individuals and organisations have valiantly sought to defend the human rights of the Belarusian people and to hold the regime to account. For these simple acts, they have been under constant attack. It was in recognition of their outstanding courage and professionalism that we awarded the inaugural Canada-UK Joint Media Freedom Award in November last year to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, which was  one of the organisations  targeted today.

Our governments jointly call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately cease their campaign of violence and harassment against journalists, human rights defenders and civil society actors. We have previously responded to these grave violations of human rights with sanctions targeting those directly responsible, including Lukashenko himself, and we continue to support work to implement the recommendations of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Moscow Mechanism report.

The people of Belarus have the right to determine their own future in a genuine and inclusive manner, and to be able to do so without fear of arbitrary detention or violence. Human rights organisations and a free media are critical features of an open society, and Canada and the United Kingdom will continue to stand with Belarusian civil society against state oppression. 


Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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