OTTAWA (Dispatches) – Canada is violating international law by refusing to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia, two rights groups have said.
Amnesty International and Project Ploughshares said in a report that Canada’s review of its arms exports to the kingdom was “fundamentally flawed”.
The report said the Canadian government’s 2020 review misinterpreted, or ignored, key pillars of the 2019 Arms Trade Treaty, an international agreement signed by Canada regulating the international trade in conventional arms.
“Contrary to what the federal government has said, Canada continues to ignore its international obligations to the Arms Trade Treaty,” Cesar Jaramillo, executive director of Project Ploughshares, said in a statement.
Jaramlillo added that the review of Saudi arms sales “cherry-picks through evidence to paint a picture of a weapons deal that is fully compliant with international law”.
The study said Canadian weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia could be used to commit or facilitate violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, particularly in the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
It added there was evidence that Canadian weapons exports, including light-armored vehicles (LAVs) and sniper rifles “have been diverted for use in the war in Yemen”, where Saudi Arabia and its allies have been embroiled since 2015.
“Given the overriding risk posed by Canadian weapons exports to KSA, Canada must immediately revoke existing arms export permits to KSA and suspend the issuance of new ones,” the report said.
Saudi Arabia, backed by the U.S. and regional allies, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi’s government back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah resistance movement.
Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.
The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases.
In the latest development in the country, a senior Yemeni official says the country’s army troops and fighters from allied Popular Committees will establish full control over the entire districts of the central province of Ma’rib in case Saudi-led militants refuse calls for a ceasefire in the strategic area.
Ma’rib provincial governor in Yemen’s National Salvation Government, Major General Ali Muhammad Taiman, told Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network that the Yemeni army troops and allies are now in control of 85% of the province, and are only about 6 to 7 kilometers away from the provincial capital of the same name.