Canada’s Statement at ICAO on flight PS752
March 19, 2021
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Canada recognizes that the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of the Islamic Republic of Iran has published its final accident investigation report into Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. When Flight PS752 was shot down by Iran, 176 innocent people—including 138 with ties to Canada—were killed. Today, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to support the families and loved ones of the victims through this painful and tragic time.
We also reaffirm our belief that, as partners in international civil aviation, we are able, but also responsible, for preventing this from ever happening again.
Canada, alongside our international partners, has been carefully reviewing the content of Iran’s report since its release. To remove doubt and relieve anxiety, Iran bears the full and complete burden to be comprehensive and transparent in substantiating its explanations with credible, compelling evidence. That is why Canada has repeatedly called for a comprehensive and transparent investigation according to international standards.
Today, we remain deeply concerned about the lack of convincing information and evidence, despite the publication of this investigation report.
The report makes no attempt to answer critical questions about what truly happened. It is incomplete and is missing key facts and evidence. Why did Iran not put in place the simplest measures to prevent such a tragedy, such as issuing a notification to airmen (NOTAM) or indeed a full closure of its airspace? The report also asserts that military details are outside the scope of its investigation, but then relays the official military version of events without analysis or evidence, thereby assigning responsibility to the missile operator and avoiding any scrutiny of senior military decision-making.
And though the report indicates that some unspecified safety actions have been taken to reduce the risk of this happening again, given the lack of detail, there is no way to confirm that these will actually reduce the risks to civil aviation operations within Iran’s airspace.
Our questions to Iran have not changed, especially with regards to:
- What was the sequence of events, including the technical, human and organizational factors that led to the missiles being fired and ultimately the downing of PS752? And,
- Why did Iran not alert airlines, pilots and passengers of potential hazards due to the presence of air defense units around Tehran that could take down civilian aircraft?
Without a comprehensive investigation of all relevant causes and contributing factors, including those that were immediate and systemic, the international community cannot be sure that what happened on the morning of January 8 in the skies over Tehran will not happen again.
Soon, the Government of Canada will disclose the results of its own examination. We will also continue to pursue our Safer Skies initiative, which so many esteemed members of this Council have supported, to truly ensure incidents like this never happen again.
The ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices should be a priority for the international community in order to ensure the safety of civilians. Canada is fully committed to work with all members of this Council as partners in this effort.
We take this opportunity to reiterate Canada’s commitment to seeking answers and justice by holding Iran accountable, and by ensuring that it takes full responsibility and makes full reparations for the harm caused to the families and loved ones of the victims of Flight PS752.
Thank you Mr. President.
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