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Rasa News Agency - There Is a Clear Gap Between Human Rights Rhetoric and Action of Canadian Government
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Service : > Commentary
Time : Tuesday, June 12, 2018
News ID: 438215
 
There Is a Clear Gap Between Human Rights Rhetoric and Action of Canadian Government
Rasa - Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to defend his government’s decision to sign off on the sale of more than 900 armored vehicles – including dozens described as “heavy assault” and equipped with cannons – to Saudi Arabia, arguing that the deal is in line with Canada’s foreign and defense policies.

RNA - The $11.63 billion deal has been in the spotlight in recent months amid growing concerns about Riyadh’s human rights record and its illegal war on Yemen. Trudeau is arguing that his government had little choice but to respect the contract signed by the previous government. “Permits are only approved if the exports are consistent with our foreign and defence policies, including human rights,” says Trudeau. “Our approach fully meets our national obligations and Canadian laws.”

 

It doesn’t take a strategic mind to describe Trudeau’s argument as “flawed logic”, as it is up to his government to set out the parameters of Canada’s foreign and defence policy. It also flies in the face of international law and the UN Charter, even the human rights agenda of Canadian government, which is now being sold as the centrepiece of Canadian foreign policy. Yet at exactly the same time Canada is arming one of the most repressive and despotic regimes on the planet that has waged war on the poorest country in the Arab world, there is a clear gap between the rhetoric and the action of the Canadian government:

 

As the international organisations that track human rights continue to rank Saudi Arabia among the world’s worst violators, Canada has pushed forward with arms sales to Saudi Arabia – just like the United States and Britain. Together, these governments have a lot to explain to the world community why they back the continued Saudi-led airstrikes against the defenceless people of Yemen, claiming they are working “on behalf of the legitimate government” in that war-torn country.

 

Selling arms to the aggressors which only help prolong their war of aggression, kill and wound tens of thousands of civilians, and make millions more refugee, is wrong, well beyond the bounds of international morality and law. The international Arms Trade Treaty is clear on that:

 

The Treaty is a multilateral, legally-binding agreement that establishes common standards for the international trade of conventional weapons and seeks to reduce the illicit arms trade. The Treaty aims to reduce human suffering caused by illegal wars and irresponsible arms transfers, improve regional security and stability, as well as to promote accountability and transparency by state parties concerning transfers of conventional arms. 

 

Premier Trudeau knows that his irresponsible arms sales authorizations to the Saudis have done all this and more to the besieged people of Yemen, all while making his government complicit in the Saudi war crimes. He is aware that his government’s arms transfer authorization violates “obligations under measures adopted by the United Nations Security Council.” 

 

Premier Trudeau is aware that the Canadian arms are being used by the Saudis and their rogue partners in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, attacks directed against civilian objects and civilians protected as such, and other war crimes, including targeting of hospitals, patients, and medical staff. If not, all he needs to do is pick up the phone and call the Doctors Without Borders headquarters in Europe, or the United Nations Human Rights Council in New York.

 

Premier Trudeau is further aware that his arms sales authorizations to the Saudis continue to undermine peace and security throughout the Middle East. Specifically speaking, in Yemen, the Canadian-made armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, missiles, missile launchers, small arms and light weapons are vastly being used under the pretext of fighting terror to commit and facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. This includes acts of state-sponsored terrorism by the Saudi-led coalition. 

 

It is past time for the Canadian government to change course and be in full compliance with the international Arms Trade Treaty. Canada should stop its irresponsible arms exports and transfers to Saudi Arabia and its rogue partners in Yemen.

 

Premier Trudeau is in the know that the Saudis are using Canadian arsenals to devastate the poorest country in the Middle East - without the justification of self-defense and UN authorization, for territorial gain and subjugation, and in serious violation of the United Nations Charter, international human rights law, as well as conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and international organized crime.

 

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