Together for Justice has expressed its shock at reports revealing that the federal government in Canada gave permission last year to a Canadian brokerage company to sell weapons worth $74 million to Saudi Arabia, at a time when calls for countries in the world to stop such transactions are increasing due to the disastrous war in Yemen, in which Saudi Arabia is a major player.
In 2020, Ottawa issued a brokering permit to a Canadian company that brokered an arms deal worth $73.9 million to Saudi Arabia. Some of these weapons, according to sources, were French-made, according to a recent report on military goods exports from Canada during 2020.
Under Canadian law, any foreign arms deals brokered or arranged by Canadians or Canadian companies located outside the country require Ottawa brokerage permits, which are statements the Canadian government issue without vetting about how these weapons are used.
It is worth noting that earlier this year, a committee of independent experts who monitor the conflict in Yemen for the United Nations considered Canada as one of the countries that contribute significantly to fueling the conflict in Yemen, thus joining France and the United States of America.
The Saudi airstrikes have caused thousands of casualties among Yemeni civilians, destroyed the country’s infrastructure, which has become one of the poorest countries in the world, in addition to causing the displacement of millions internally and externally, as well as the spread of diseases and epidemics, hunger and unemployment.
Today, Yemen is witnessing the “worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world,” as described by the United Nations. Millions are without shelter, food, and clothing. However, we find that many of the world’s governments refuse to take a moral and serious stance to stop this war and save the Yemeni people, by continuing military cooperation with the Saudi regime, which is largely responsible for the catastrophic effects of the war in Yemen.
We demand the international community, including governments, regimes, and parliaments, to stop military deals with the Saudi regime, suspend arms exports to it, and pay more attention to human rights and the lives of innocent people instead of prioritizing commercial and economic interests.
We stress that these deals make Canada a facilitator for the transfer of military explosives to a country that repeatedly violates international humanitarian law, which makes it complicit in the crimes committed at times, as Saudi violations in Yemen, and the human losses suffered by civilians there is no longer a secret.