Weapons could be made use of in the conflict in Yemen, say rights teams, which are urging Ottawa to terminate exports to the Gulf kingdom.
Canada is violating worldwide law by providing weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to a new report by legal rights teams Amnesty Worldwide Canada and Challenge Ploughshares, which are urging Ottawa to suspend all arms exports to Riyadh.
Introduced on Wednesday, the report, titled ‘No Credible Evidence’: Canada’s Flawed Investigation of Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia, accuses Primary Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government of violating the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), an global settlement that Canada turned a bash to in 2019.
Canadian weapons transfers to the Gulf kingdom could be made use of to dedicate or facilitate violations of intercontinental humanitarian and human rights law, the legal rights groups observed, especially in the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
“It has been proven through investigations and qualified reviews that Canadian weapons exports to [Saudi Arabia] are contrary to Canada’s authorized obligations under the ATT,” the report reads.
The war in Yemen broke out in late 2014 when Houthi rebels seized massive swaths of the country, together with the money, Sanaa. The conflict escalated in March 2015 when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates assembled a army coalition in an attempt to restore the governing administration of Riyadh-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The ongoing war has pushed thousands and thousands to the brink of famine in what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, and at least 233,000 individuals have died, in accordance to a current UN estimate.
“There is persuasive proof that weapons exported from Canada to KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia], which include LAVs [light-armoured vehicles] and sniper rifles, have been diverted for use in the war in Yemen,” Wednesday’s report discovered.
“Given the overriding hazard posed by Canadian weapons exports to KSA, Canada need to immediately revoke existing arms export permits to KSA and suspend the issuance of new kinds.”
Several years-prolonged effort
A spokeswoman for Canada’s foreign affairs office, World wide Affairs Canada, explained to Al Jazeera on Wednesday that the govt “is dedicated to a arduous arms export system”.
“Canada has a single of the strongest export controls systems in the entire world, and regard for human legal rights is enshrined in our export controls laws,” Lama Khodr mentioned in an emailed statement.
“After a complete evaluate by officers, the Governing administration announced past yr that permits to KSA are now staying reviewed on a situation-by-case foundation. These permits are not issued mechanically and each individual of them are thoroughly scrutinized. Any allow application where by there is a considerable possibility of human rights violations will be denied,” she explained.
But for decades, Canadian civil culture groups have urged the federal federal government to terminate current weapons contracts with Saudi Arabia and suspend all upcoming permits, arguing that the arms could be applied in rights violations both inside the Gulf country and in Yemen.
In specific, rights teams have urged Canada to cancel a $12bn ($15bn Canadian) weapons contract to ship Canadian-built LAVs to the Saudi federal government.
That deal was attained beneath previous Key Minister Stephen Harper, but Trudeau’s govt gave it the remaining inexperienced light-weight. Early into his tenure as key minister, Trudeau had defended the exports, declaring they were dependable with the country’s human legal rights obligations and overseas coverage.
But in the aftermath of the murder of popular Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, he said his govt was seeking for a way out of the deal – and Ottawa purchased a assessment of weapons exports to Riyadh.
Khashoggi, a Washington Put up columnist, was assassinated by a Saudi hit squad in Oct 2018 at the country’s consulate in Istanbul. Global industry experts and more a short while ago, United States intelligence companies, concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s de facto chief, accepted the operation. The Saudi govt has denied that allegation.
Irrespective of world force after the killing, in April 2020 the Canadian government lifted its freeze on weapons export permits to Saudi Arabia right after a overview, declaring it experienced a sturdy technique in location to guarantee these permits satisfy Canada’s needs beneath domestic legislation and the ATT.
In a report following that overview, Canada reported “there is no substantial risk” that military items, including LAVs, “would be made use of to commit or aid critical violations of [international humanitarian law] in Yemen”.
Canadian weapons exports to Saudi Arabia totalled $1.05bn ($1.31bn Canadian) in 2020, according to authorities figures. That was second only to the US and accounted for 67 % of Canada’s total non-US arms exports.