US, Canada, EU and UK imposed sanctions on Belarus

(CNN) — The governments of the United States, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom imposed sanctions on Belarus on Monday in response to the arrests of journalists Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega, after the forced landing of a Ryanair flight, and in the face of the “continued suppression of democracy and human rights ”in the country.

In a joint declaration Released Monday, the governments said they were “united in our deep concern over the Lukashenko regime’s continuing attacks on human rights, fundamental freedoms and international law.”

“We are committed to supporting the long-repressed democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus, and we stand united to impose costs on the regime for its blatant disregard for international commitments,” it was stated.

“We are united in calling on the regime to end its repressive practices against its own people. We are disappointed that the regime has chosen to move away from its human rights obligations, its adherence to democratic principles and its commitment to the international community, ”the joint statement said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during his swearing-in in Minsk in 2020.

“We are also united in our call for the Lukashenko regime to cooperate fully with the international investigations into the events of May 23; immediately release all political prisoners; implement all the recommendations of the mission of independent experts under the Moscow Mechanism of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); and engage in a comprehensive and authentic political dialogue between the authorities and representatives of the democratic opposition and civil society, facilitated by the OSCE ”.

“A strong signal”

In a official statement, The UK added that the joint sanctions affect seven people and one entity of the Belarusian government, in response to the arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega following the “illegal diversion” of Ryanair flight FR4978 in May 2021.

The measure also affects four people and one entity in response to the “continued suppression of democracy and human rights” in Belarus by Lukashenko and his government.

“The sanctions send a strong signal to the Belarusian authorities that the UK will not tolerate human rights suppressors coming to the UK or using our financial institutions,” the statement said.

The US government said it had taken punitive measures against dozens of Belarusian officials and entities in response to the crash landing of a Ryanair flight, “the politically motivated arrest” of a journalist and his partner, and “the continuing repression in Belarus, including attacks on human rights, democratic processes and fundamental freedoms, “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Monday.

Antony Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States. (Credit: OLIVIER HOSLET / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)

The State Department imposed visa restrictions on 46 officials “for their involvement in weakening or damaging institutions in Belarus, rendering these individuals generally ineligible to enter the United States,” Blinken said.

Coordinated actions

«These people hold key positions in the Presidential Administration, the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of the Interior, the Investigation Committee, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Sports and Tourism, the State Border Committee , the Ministry of Health, the Constitutional Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Minsk district courts, ”he added.

The Treasury Department sanctioned 16 other individuals and five entities, Blinken said, noting that “the persons appointed today have harmed the people of Belarus through their activities after the fraudulent presidential elections of August 9, 2020 and the subsequent crackdown. brutality of protesters, journalists and political opposition or have otherwise supported the repressive policies of Alexander Lukashenko within Belarus and abroad. “

“These actions, coordinated with Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom, are intended to promote accountability for the transnational repression of the Lukashenko regime and its affront to international norms,” ​​Blinken said.

A source told CNN that the Biden government tried to announce these sanctions during President Joe Biden’s first international trip, before he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the EU could not coordinate with this schedule and the United States decided wait and act alongside your allies.