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Closing Remarks by Minister Garneau at the Launch of Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations

February 15, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.

Thank you, Ministers, for your expressions of solidarity in reaffirming that citizens are not bargaining chips.

And that the rule of law cannot be bent for political expediency.

It is important that we stand together to denounce all forms of coercive arbitrary detention, regardless of whose citizens are involved. Indeed, this is how we will keep all our citizens safe.

The Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations is only the beginning, and I am encouraged and inspired by the support and enthusiasm we have seen so far.

We have 59 global endorsements today—58 countries plus the European Union—and we will work to maintain the global momentum with the goal of encouraging even more countries to endorse the Declaration and end this practice.

It makes no difference where in the world the practice is occurring: today’s event sends a clear and resounding message that coercive arbitrary detention is unacceptable.

This Declaration also reaffirms that all victims of arbitrary arrest, sentencing or detention for diplomatic leverage should be released immediately.

And that a truly global range of partners remains committed to a rules-based international order built on principles of mutual respect, trust, accountability and fair play between states.

Our opposition to this practice must—and will—be heard.

I want to stress that Canada intends to continue working toward a world free of arbitrary detention for diplomatic leverage, and we certainly welcome your partnership.

We will continue to champion the values of this Declaration in multilateral forums such as the UN, the G7 and others, just as we will continue to shine a light on the issue and collaborate with civil society partners to strengthen policy options.

By presenting a common front against this practice and by denouncing it as an unacceptable violation of international judicial norms, we decrease both its attractiveness and its effectiveness as a tool.

With the goal of eradicating it completely.

We are consulting with our partners, and we will continue this very important dialogue with you in the weeks and months to come.

But for now, allow me to reiterate my sincere appreciation to each of you for your firm and steadfast support for the declaration.

And for your continuing to defend human rights and the rule of law, particularly on behalf of those unable to defend themselves.

You will be hearing from us soon.

Thank you.

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