Canada imposes additional sanctions on Belarusian individuals and entities over attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms

News release

June 21, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced new sanctions against 17 individuals and 5 entities under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) in response to gross and systematic violations of human rights occurring in Belarus. These measures are being taken in coordination with the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

On May 23, 2021, the Belarusian regime yet again demonstrated its clear disdain for fundamental human rights—and media freedom in particular. On the pretext of a dubious and still unverified bomb threat, the Belarusian regime diverted Ryanair Flight 4978 from its planned course in order to land in Minsk. Upon landing, Belarusian journalist, Roman Protasevich, and his companion, Sofia Sapega, were detained by Belarusian authorities.

In addition to being a flagrant attack on freedom of expression, this reckless, brazen act by the Belarusian regime jeopardized the safety of the flight’s other passengers and constitutes serious interference in the fundamental principles and international rules that ensure civil aviation safety around the world.

Once again, side by side with the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, Canada is maintaining pressure on the Belarusian regime to end its repeated assault on the human rights and dignity of the Belarusian people.  


“The detention of Mr. Protasevich and Ms. Sapega is an attack on all who believe in the freedom of expression. Canada and its partners will continue to maintain pressure on the Belarusian regime due to its crackdown on human rights, and Canada continues to call for an impartial investigation of all allegations of torture and other cruel and inhumane treatment in Belarus.”

- Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • To date, Canada has sanctioned 72 Belarusian individuals and 5 entities under SEMA due to the ongoing disregard for human rights demonstrated by the Belarusian regime.

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Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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