Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on implementing sanctions against Libya

Ottawa, Ontario
27 February 2011

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today made the following remarks announcing Canada’s implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 adopting sanctions on Libya:

“Once again, I want to take this opportunity to update you on Canada’s actions regarding the situation in Libya.

“Our priority remains the safe evacuation of Canadians from that country.

“To date, Canada has facilitated the evacuation of more than 230 Canadians on a number of flights and vessels.

“Work to evacuate remaining Canadians continues around the clock in close cooperation with the British and our other allies.
“A second C-17 has now arrived in Malta.  The Canadian Armed Forces, in coordination with our allies, will deploy these aircraft, as circumstances permit, to evacuate Canadian citizens and those of allied countries.

“We are also deploying two C130J Hercules aircraft to the region to provide additional and more flexible capacity.

“The Emergency Operations Centre of the Department of Foreign Affairs is continuing to contact registered Canadians by phone, where possible, regarding opportunities to leave the country by any means possible.  Consular advice is also available through

“Meanwhile, our Government continues to work with key allies and the international community to intensify pressure on the Libyan regime.

“Canada had called for the Security Council to act and we are pleased that it has done so.  The unanimous passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 yesterday sends a very clear message: the murder of its own citizens by the Libyan regime, and the gross violations of the population's human rights will not be tolerated by the international community, and will carry serious consequences.

“Therefore, Canada earlier today implemented the following binding sanctions contained in the Resolution:

  • An arms embargo requiring all states to prevent the sale or supply of arms into Libya, or the export of arms from Libya;
  • The inspection of cargo going into Libya;
  • A travel ban on Muammar Qadhafi and 15 individuals closely associated with him; and
  • An asset freeze against Muammar Qadhafi and members of his family.
“Canada also welcomes the creation of a Security Council sanctions committee that will monitor implementation of Resolution measures, designate additional individuals under the travel ban and asset freeze, if warranted; and will report within 30 days to the Security Council on its work.

“In addition, Canada has decided to go beyond the Security Council Sanctions.  Our Government will impose an asset freeze on, and a prohibition of financial transactions with the Government of Libya, its institutions and agencies, including the Libyan Central Bank.

“These actions will help restrict the movement of, and access to money and weapons for those responsible for violence against the Libyan people. 

“As you know, Canada also called for the referral of the situation in Libya to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to help ensure that those responsible for ordering and carrying out atrocities are held accountable.  I am pleased that the Security Council has taken action on this.

“The Resolution clearly expresses the will of the international community that the Libyan regime put an end to violence, act with restraint, provide immediate access for international human rights monitors, ensure the safety of foreigners, allow safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies and lift restrictions on the media.

“Canada demands that the Libyan regime comply with all aspects of this resolution immediately, and that it respect its human rights obligations as well as the will of the Libyan people.

“A government’s first and most fundamental responsibility is to protect the safety and security of its citizens.  Mr. Qadhafi has blatantly violated this most basic trust.  Far from protecting the Libyan people against peril, he is the root cause of the dangers they face.  It is clear that the only acceptable course of action for him is to halt the bloodshed and to immediately vacate his position and authority.

“Thank you.”