No country should be directly or indirectly supplying weapons, munitions, military equipment or technology that would be used to commit violations of international law.
In April 2016, then Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion signed off on 6 export permits authorizing the majority of the deal negotiated under the previous government. This includes Canada’s current $15 billion multi-year deal to sell Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia. Canadian-made LAVs transferred in previous years could be used to support ground attacks in Yemen. Images posted on social media by the Saudi Arabian National Guard appear to show Canadian-made LAVs being moved to the volatile border area.
On May 11, 2016, the Globe and Mail reported on video evidence of LAVs being used to suppress protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Export permits were put on hold pending the outcome of an internal government investigation into the possible misuse of Canadian-made LAVs by Saudi security forces in the Eastern Province. While government reports have concluded there is no “substantial risk” of Canadian LAVs being misused, serious questions have been raised about both the adequacy of the risk assessment process for weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia.
Over the past year many countries have responded to public pressure by partly or totally suspending arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other coalition members. Legal challenges in the UK and Belgium are underway, with the goal of compelling these governments to comply with their legal obligations to stop supplying arms for use in Yemen.