First anniversary of Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations


February 15, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations:

“Throughout our history, Canada has defended the set of rules that guide our societies to be more fair and just. Canada helped to establish this rules-based international order and we will not stand by while others bend the rules for political expediency.  

“The practice of arbitrary detention puts all citizens at risk, especially those who travel, work or live abroad. All states must strive to ensure fair and public hearings by competent, independent and impartial tribunals. It is important for the international community to stand together to denounce all forms of coercive arbitrary detention. This is how we keep all our citizens safe.

 “A year ago today, Canada launched the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations as part of an international initiative promoting human rights, the rule of law, judicial independence and the rules-based international order. The declaration fosters a global common front against arbitrary arrest, detention and sentencing in diplomatic relations. 

“Since the launch of this essential declaration, international support for it has risen to 67 countries, from all continents, as well as the European Union.

“Canada takes this opportunity to thank its partners, who are standing united to end this unacceptable and illegal practice worldwide. We also take the opportunity to welcome all democracies and like-minded countries around the world that have not yet endorsed the declaration to consider doing so. Together, we will continue the fight for a world free of arbitrary detention for diplomatic leverage, now and for future generations.”

Quick facts

  • Arbitrary arrests and detentions are a violation of international human rights law, including Article 9 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest [or] detention,” and Article 9 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which states, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” Arbitrary arrest and detention is also prohibited in various regional human rights instruments.
  • The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations states that “consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or detention, to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation.”
  • In addition to its 67 global endorsers, Canada’s declaration is supported by relevant UN bodies, including the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, as well as by former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
  • Canada developed the Partnership Action Plan in May 2021 to extend the initiative beyond the declaration. It proposes a range of voluntary actions that states, organizations and civil society can support to deter arbitrary arrest, detention or sentencing in state-to-state relations and sustain momentum against those practices.

Associated links


Maéva Proteau
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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