June 21, 2021

Canada, UK, US, and EU impose coordinated sanctions against Belarusian regime

On June 21, 2021, the governments of Canada, EU, UK and the US impose coordinated sanctions on Belarus, and released a joint statement expressing shared concern for the “Lukashenka regime’s continuing attacks on human rights, fundamental freedom and international law,” in response to the May 23, 2021 forced landing of a commercial Ryanair flight in order to arrest journalist Raman Pratasevich and his companion Sofia Sapega.  The countries agree to collectively impose costs on Belarus for it “blatant disregard of international commitments” and called upon the regime to end the repressive tactics used against its own people.  The governments also made a unified call for the Lukashenka regime to cooperate fully with international investigations into the events of May 23, 2021, release all political prisoners, and cooperate with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Moscow Mechanism and its efforts to facilitate a dialogue of opposing views. 

As part of the coordinated sanctions against Belarus, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs announced new sanctions against 17 individuals and 5 entities under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) in response to the human rights violations that occurred in Belarus.

The Council of the EU imposed restrictive measures on a total of 78 Belarusian individuals and 8 entities in response to the serious human rights violations in Belarus, including 7 individuals and 1 entity that were designated for the unlawful forced landing of the Ryanair flight on May 23, 2021.  The restrictive measures imposed by the EU include asset freezes and travel bans against the designated parties.

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office imposed sanctions against 7 individuals and 1 entity in response to the events of  May 23, 2021, and designated 4 individuals and 1 entity for the Lukashenko regime’s continued suppression of democracy and human rights – sanctions that include travel bans and asset freezes against certain senior-level officials in Belarus.

Finally, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated 16 individuals and 5 entities in response to recent actions taken by Belarusian regime.  OFAC also issued Belarus General License 3 and frequently asked questions 912 and 913 to clarify the provisions in general license for the general public.  GL 3 authorizes transactions, that are otherwise prohibited under Belarus Sanctions Regulations, that involve the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (the Belarusian KGB) for the limited purpose of purchasing or using licenses or permits by the Belarusian KGB for the importation, distribution or use of information technology products in Belarus, provided that the goods are subject to the Export Administration Regulations and do not exceed $5000 in any calendar year.  

Joint Statement | Canada Press Release | Council of EU Press Release | UK Press Release | US Department of Treasury Press Release | General License 3