On August 23rd, Lithuania, Latvia and commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the Baltic Way, when a human chain stretching 650 kilometres through the Baltic countries to mark the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that sealed the Soviet occupation for these nations. The gathering attracted world attention to the Baltics’ struggle for independence, with thousands of Baltic citizens participating in the chain, together with Belarusians, Jews, Russians, Poles, Moldavians, Armenians and other ethnic minorities. The Baltic Way became a symbol of peaceful resistance in the name of freedom.
On August 23rd in Canada, as leader of the Liberal Party, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement on the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe, also known as Black Ribbon Day:
“Today, I join communities around the world to remember the victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe. We stand with the survivors and their descendants, and with all those who continue to face violence and persecution from authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.
“On this day in 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, an agreement which led to the violent rearrangement of Eastern and Central Europe. Millions of Europeans were robbed of their basic rights, subjected to violence or murdered, and countless others were forced to flee to new lands.
“Many of those who escaped this persecution found refuge in Canada with the hope of building a new life. They, along with their descendants, have made extraordinary contributions to our country and have helped build the diverse and strong Canada that we know today.
“We all have a role to play in defending and protecting human rights and democracy, both here at home and around the world. Liberals will continue to work with our partners to prevent crimes like these from happening, and together, we will condemn crimes against humanity and hold those responsible accountable.
“Today, I invite all Canadians to honour the victims of Europe on Black Ribbon Day. For our part, we will continue to work hard to make Canada and the world a safer place to call home. To all those who continue to face life under threat of violent regimes, Canada stands with you.”