Minister Joly to welcome Belarusian opposition leader to Ottawa

News release

April 13, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that she will welcome Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to Ottawa from April 14 to 15, 2024. While in Ottawa, Mrs. Tsikhanouskaya will meet with government officials and engage with members of the Belarusian diaspora.

Minister Joly and Mrs. Tsikhanouskaya will meet to discuss the implications of ongoing violations of human rights committed by the Lukashenko regime, including violations on democracy, peace and security in Belarus and globally.

Mrs. Tsikhanouskaya will also meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss how Canada can continue applying economic and political pressure on the Lukashenko regime, which has close ties with the Russian Regime and continues to facilitate the Kremlin’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

This will be Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s second visit to Canada. During her last visit, in November 2022, Canada announced sanctions on the Lukashenko regime for facilitating and enabling Russia’s illegal invasion and attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory. 


“I look forward to meeting again with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a woman who had the courage to speak up and criticize members of the Lukashenko regime who continue to prove that they’re willing to do everything to retain power, including supressing the rights of their own citizens. Mrs. Tsikhanouskaya will always be welcome in Canada, and we will always support Belarusians in their fight for a democratic future.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • Since the fraudulent August 2020 presidential election, Canada has been increasingly concerned about the ongoing allegations of gross and systematic human rights violations throughout Belarus and the targeted violence against peaceful protestors, opposition members, journalists and human rights defenders.

  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is a long-time ally of Vladimir Putin, and has allowed him to use Belarus as a staging ground for Russia’s brutal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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