Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs following the court hearings of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor


March 22, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“The thoughts of all Canadians are with Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and their families during these difficult times. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, securing their safe return to Canada is my top priority.

“We are deeply troubled by the total lack of transparency surrounding these hearings and we continue to work toward an immediate end to their arbitrary detention.  

“Canadian officials are seeking continued consular access to Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-Canada Consular Agreement, and will continue to support these men and their families during this unacceptable ordeal.

“The eyes of the world are on these cases and proceedings and I want to thank our international partners for their continued support and solidarity.”

Additional information – International support

Canada is grateful to the many countries that have joined the call for the release of Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been arbitrarily detained in China for more than two years.

Many international partners, friends and allies are echoing Canada’s message that these detentions are unacceptable, and their presence outside the courthouses at the trials of Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig sends a strong message of solidarity.

Access to Mr. Spavor’s hearing was denied to Canadian diplomats as well as to diplomats from 8 other countries: Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Access to Mr. Kovrig’s hearing was also denied to Canadian diplomats and to diplomats from 23 other countries—Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States—and the European Union.

Canada continues to work with its allies to end arbitrary detentions and uphold respect for the rule of law in support of the rights of citizens around the world.


Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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