Canada Concerned by Belarus Election Violence

(No. 403 - December 19, 2010 - 10:55 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the violence following today’s presidential election in Belarus:

“The Government of Canada is very concerned by reports and images of violence perpetrated against opposition candidates, the media and demonstrators this evening in Minsk and urges Belarusian authorities to respect the peaceful expression of democratic rights.

“We call on the Government of the Republic of Belarus to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into this election-day violence and to guarantee that the citizens of Belarus are permitted freedom of expression and association.

“Canada also urges the Government of Belarus to ensure that the vote-counting following today’s presidential election is conducted in a fully transparent manner to assure all Belarusians that their democratic rights are being upheld.

“Canada is a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and supports the peaceful development of democracy in Belarus.”

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Melissa Lantsman
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
Follow us on Twitter.