Amnesty International Canada

Selling arms to Saudi arabia

Canadian Light Armoured Vehicles at risk of being used against civilians.

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Call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to suspend arms transfers to Saudi Arabia


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Join Our Call For Canada To Suspend Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

A bloody conflict has been raging in Yemen for more than five years – but largely ignored by the rest of the world. It is fuelled by arms sales from a dozen countries, including Canada, to Saudi Arabia. UN independent experts have found evidence of possible Saudi war crimes.

Thousands of civilians have been killed, including hundreds of children, since a Saudi-led military coalition launched airstrikes against Huthi armed groups in Yemen in March 2015. Over 3.5 million people have been displaced.

There is overwhelming evidence that the Saudi-led military coalition is failing to protect civilians, and that all parties to the conflict have committed violations of international law. Air strikes have targeted hospitals, schools, markets and mosques. Ground forces of both anti-Huthi and Huthi armed groups have been operating in residential neighbourhoods, putting everyone in the area at risk, including of reprisal attacks.

Canadian light armoured vehicles at risk of being used against civilians

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.

Join our call for Canada to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia.



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