August 17, 2021
Dear Minister Freeland,
We, the Belarusian Canadians and friends of the Belarusian People, residing all across Canada, are writing to you in connection with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) upcoming SDR issuance and Belarus’s share in it.
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that current Belarus ian government lacks legitimacy. Dictator Lukashenko lost presidential elections in August 2020 and is now holding power by force while engaging in continuing acts of terrorism against citizens of Belarus, EU and NATO countries as well as crimes against humanity.
The Government of Canada does not recognize Lukashenko as legitimate: between August 2020 and now Canada issued a number of official statements supporting its position and joined the US, UK and EU–led sanctions against the regime. Similarly, the majority of the IMF members do not recognize Lukashenko’s government.
Therefore, we politely insist that Lukashenko government’s access to the Belarusian account in the IMF’s SDR department be terminated.
We respectfully draw your attention to the fact that the IMF has already used such practices toward governments not recognized by its members. The IMF refused to consider Nicolás Maduro’s request for $5 billion to deal with the coronavirus pandemic because the international community does not recognize his government. Similarly, Maduro’s government will not have access to Venezuela’s share of the upcoming allocation.
The situation with the Belarusian government is the same as with Nicolás Maduro’s government of Venezuela. Thirty–six IMF members did not accept the results of the Belarusian presidential election. Four members have been questioning the legitimacy of the election.
The forty countries that have not recognized the legitimacy of Lukashenko comprise 2,829,935 IMF votes which is equal to 56.2% of the total. The 19 countries that officially accepted the election results have under 13% of the IMF votes. Consequently, there is no clarity and consent of IMF members regarding the issue of who the president of Belarus is.
Section 1 of the Article V of the Articles of Agreement states that the IMF interacts with its members “only through its Treasury, central bank, stabilization fund, or other similar fiscal agency, and the IMF shall deal only with or through the same agencies.” According to the Belarusian law, these agencies are the National Bank and the Ministry of Finance.
Lukashenko claims that those are headed, respectively, by Pavel Kallaur and Yury Seliverstau, but their terms have already ended. Furthermore, as stated above, Lukashenko lacks the legitimacy and any and all authority recognized by the IMF to appoint or prolong the terms of ministers.
Consequently, any communication from Lukashenko’s envoys to the IMF cannot be treated as from legitimate Belarusian fiscal agencies. The names of these illegal “fiscal officials” should be removed from the list of the IMF Governors and be replaced with a “Vacant” reference, as it was done in the case of Nicolás Maduro’s representatives.
In light of the foregoing, we respectfully ask you to vote to terminate access of the Lukashenko government to Belarus’s account in the SDR department and Belarusian share of the upcoming SDR allocation. Belarus’s share should be frozen, just like Venezuela’s, and be kept on the IMF books with further transfer to the Belarus’s internationally recognized government – when such appears.
In August 2020 Lukashenko lost the presidential elections to Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya, yet still claimed victory through ballot rigging and fraud [this is thoroughly documented]. The ensued nationwide peaceful protests were brutally suppressed by his government authorities. Between 2020 and 2021 over 40,000 Belarus citizens fell victims to unlawful detentions, arrests, torture, made–up
criminal charges and subsequent false imprisonment, and job loss due to their political opinion. As of today, there are 631 officially recognized political prisoners, whereas the real number is estimated to be closer to 8,000 people. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights is currently investigating post–election violence and had already issued a preliminary report documenting facts of hundreds of cases of torture by the hands of the regime.
We call on the IMF to take action to firmly prevent Lukashenko’s terrorist government from further endangering the lives and freedoms of Belarusian people.
We call on you as the Official Representative of the Government of Canada within IMF, and our Minister of Finance to: VOTE TO TERMINATE THE ACCESS OF THE LUKASHENKO GOVERNMENT TO BELARUS’ ACCOUNT IN THE SDR DEPARTMENT AT IMF AND “FREEZE” BELARUS’S SHARE OF THE UPCOMING SDR ALLOCATION.
We encourage Canada to show with concrete action that it remains committed to supporting democratic principles and freedom of People of Belarus.
Belarusian Canadians and friends of the Belarusian People