Against arbitrary arrest – abroad

Canada initiates a declaration, and 57 countries support it. China views itself as a focus of attention and reacts sharply.

. A group of countries led by Canada are taking a stand against arbitrary imprisonment as a means of putting pressure on international politics. And the statement published in Ottawa on Monday said that such detentions, with which pressure should be exerted on other countries, are inconsistent with international law, and have been supported by more than 50 countries, including nearly all of the European Union. The background to the statement is the arrest of two Canadians in China two years ago.

The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs has been trying to get this ad for months. Canadian Foreign Minister Mark Garneau said when submitting the declaration that the aim was to pressure states that practice arbitrary detentions to make clear to them that “this is completely unacceptable and will have consequences in the end for countries that ignore it.”

Neither Garneau nor the advertisement explicitly mentioned China. However, the Canadian government accuses China of arbitrarily arresting Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Coffrig. The Canadians, known as “michaels” in Canada, were arrested in China at the end of 2018 after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of China’s Huawei high-tech group, in Vancouver at the request of the United States. . The US accuses Ming of using Huawei to undermine US sanctions against Iran and provide false information to US banks. Meng is currently under house arrest in Vancouver and faces extradition. Kovrig and Spavor will be held for exactly 800 days on Wednesday. They are accused of committing unspecified violations of China’s national security. Canada sees this as an attempt by China to persuade Canada to abandon the procedure provided in the extradition treaties with the United States and release Meng.

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Countries that support the declaration include almost all European countries plus the United States. Countries like China or Russia are not among them. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared: “Disputes between states should not occur at the expense of individual citizens. The arbitrary detention or imprisonment of foreign nationals is a violation of international standards. The basic human rights of prisoners are violated. In most cases they are just extortion.”

British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney said that authoritarian regimes concealed the practice of arbitrary detention in legal procedures to “legitimize the act.” She hopes more countries will sign the declaration and get more “teeth” in order to impose travel bans and financial penalties on politicians who violate it. The declaration has not yet threatened sanctions, but it calls on the international community to abandon the practice of arbitrary detention. You are in conflict with international law.

The Chinese embassy responded sharply. Canada’s position is “hypocritical and despicable.” A Chinese embassy spokesman accused Canada of arresting Meng Wanzhou, “an innocent Chinese citizen who did not violate Canadian law.” Canada acts as a partner to the United States, which Meng used as a bargaining chip to pressure Chinese companies. Canada should admit her mistake and release Meng immediately.

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