Minister Cannon Announces Support for Democracy in Belarus

(No. 48 - February 3, 2011 - 3:50 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada is providing support for democratic initiatives in Belarus. Minister Cannon also announced that Senator Raynell Andreychuk led Canada's delegation to the Solidarity with Belarus International Donor Conference in Warsaw, Poland and to the Belarus International Implementers Meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania.

"We remain concerned that the regime in Belarus continues to flagrantly violate the human rights of Belarusians and impede the country's democratic development," said Minister Cannon. "Canada's increased funding will help those who are working toward a free and democratic Belarus. Of the $400,000 in new funds, $100,000 will be used to support the work of Belsat, a television station operating from Poland that provides independent news programming about Belarus for Belarusian citizens.

"In addition to support for Belsat, our government will earmark a further $300,000 over the next two years for initiatives promoting democracy, human rights and freedom of the media in Belarus."

The projects will be financed through the Global Peace and Security Fund's Glyn Berry Program for Peace and Security, which supports initiatives promoting democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights.

Canada condemned the Government of Belarus's use of violence and repression after the country's flawed December 19, 2010, presidential election and has remained concerned by the ongoing crackdown on opposition activists and independent media. The Government of Canada has called on the authorities to release those arrested and to uphold democratic principles, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Canada remains a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Belarus.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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