Minister Joly announces additional sanctions on Belarusian individuals and entities in response to ongoing and systematic human rights violations

News release

December 2, 2021 - Stockholm, Sweden - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced new sanctions on 24 individuals and 7 entities under the Special Economic Measures Act in response to the Belarusian regime’s ongoing and systematic human rights violations. These measures are being taken in coordination with the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. 

In August 2020, following Belarus’ fraudulent presidential election, public protests were brutally suppressed by the Belarusian government’s security forces. Protestors were subject to prolonged arbitrary detentions, brutality, intimidation, and the excessive use of force.

As the world prepares to celebrate International Human Rights Day next week and remembering that the Universal Declaration on Human Rights outlines the fundamental rights and freedoms to which all people are entitled, Canada demands an end to these human rights violations.

The Belarusian regime, led by Aleksandr Lukashenko, has failed to seek accountability for past or current violations, demonstrating its ongoing complicity in perpetrating them. Since the last time Canada imposed sanctions, in August 2021, the situation has continued to deteriorate. Arbitrary arrests continue, and there are undue restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and freedom of association. It has also been made clear that the Lukashenko regime is orchestrating irregular migration across its borders with the EU, coming at a great cost to the region’s stability.

Despite calls from the international community to immediately cease these aggressive acts, the Lukashenko regime has shown no sign of stopping. This is why Canada and its partners have decided to take meaningful steps to hold the regime accountable.

Canada’s common front with the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union demonstrates broad support for upholding respect for international law and human rights.


“The Belarusian regime must answer for its acts, which affect those both inside and outside its borders. Along with its international partners, Canada stands against Belarus’s ongoing efforts to silence political dissent and to destabilize the region. We will not allow the Lukashenko regime to continue to violate its international obligations with impunity. Human rights are not negotiable.

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • To date, Canada has sanctioned 96 Belarusian officials and 12 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 more than $3 million to support civil society organizations who are working to advance democracy in Belarus, with a focus on women and independent media.

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Syrine Khoury
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Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

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