Minister Joly announces sanctions in response to ongoing human rights violations in Belarus

News release

April 15, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada is imposing sanctions on 21 individuals under the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations. These sanctions are in response to the ongoing human rights violations in Belarus since the fraudulent presidential election of 2020.

The sanctions are announced on the margins of the visit to Ottawa of exiled Belarusian opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. They are imposed in response to systematic abuses committed by the Lukashenko regime and subsequent prosecutions of Belarusians protesting the results of Belarus’s 2020 presidential election, which the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe described as “not transparent, free or fair”.

The sanctions announced today target current and former senior government officials–including members of the security forces, public prosecutors, members of the judiciary system and administrators of penal and “education” colonies– who have been involved in suppressing the right of Belarusians to protest peacefully. These individuals have been involved or complicit in arbitrary arrests and detentions, brutality, intimidation and excessive use of force against Belarusians who protested the fraudulent elections, as well as their ill treatment once they were falsely tried, sentenced and imprisoned. The European Union has already imposed sanctions on these individuals.

Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to the rights of Belarusians and will continue to work with its international partners to put an end to human rights violations and state-sponsored violence against protesters, activists and journalists in Belarus.


“We will never tolerate a blatant disregard of democratic rights. Today, we’re sending a clear message to Belarus: Canada will continue to support Belarusians in their fight to enforce their right for a democratic future. We will continue to put pressure on the Lukashenko regime and to support human rights defenders and political prisoners.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

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