Remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the United Nations Security Council Arria-formula meeting on Belarus
October 8, 2021
Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak.
Many thanks to my Estonian counterpart for hosting us, to Canada’s fellow meeting co-sponsors, and to all member states here today.
Human rights violations and aggression being committed by Belarusian officials are completely unacceptable. That is why Canada was among the first countries to impose sanctions against the Lukashenka regime.
More recently, on the first anniversary of the fraudulent presidential election, Canada imposed additional sanctions.
Colleagues, Lukashenka lacks the legitimacy to lead Belarus.
Canada, alongside international partners, will not relent in opposing his regime and in working to end impunity for human rights abuses.
Unfortunately, such abuses have only intensified since our last meeting.
The forced diversion and landing of Ryanair flight 4978 in May and the subsequent arrest of two passengers – a journalist and his companion – was a brazen attack on media freedom.
This act not only showed a flagrant disregard for longstanding international norms. It also jeopardized safe skies everywhere.
As a former Transport Minister and astronaut, I’m personally appalled at this recklessness, and I can tell you that Canadians feel the same way.
Trust between pilots and air traffic controllers is critically important, and such acts erode pilots’ trust in the integrity of air traffic instructions.
The international community has to make it clear that such events cannot become a common occurrence.
We need to work collaboratively to strengthen the international rules based order.
Canada also condemns Belarus’ manipulation of the flow of migrants as a pressure tactic against bordering countries who oppose the Lukashenka regime.
This is unacceptable.
It not only shows a threat to regional security, it also shows a blatant disregard for human rights.
Canada will continue to work with its European Union, United Kingdom and American partners to press for the release of Belarusians arbitrarily detained, particularly journalists and human rights defenders.
We will continue to push for meaningful dialogue between the authorities and the opposition and most importantly, we will seek an end to State-sponsored violence and human rights abuses.
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