At a well-attended press conference on Parliament Hill today, Roy Culpeper (Group of 78), Peggy Mason (Rideau Institute), Alex Neve (Amnesty International Canada), and Cesar Jaramillo (Project Ploughshares) released an open letter to the Prime Minister on the Saudi arms deal. The letter had been signed by a total of 15 Canadian non-governmental organizations, listed below. The letter states in part:
We, the undersigned, wish to express our profound concerns about the issuance of export permits for Canada’s multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, despite the flagrant incompatibilities of this contract with the human rights safeguards of our export controls.
To provide such a large supply of lethal weapons to a regime with such an appalling record of human rights abuses is immoral and unethical. The spirit and letter of both domestic export controls and international law support this view. The government has had every opportunity to uphold this position, but has chosen not to. We therefore ask the government to rescind the export permits, ensuring that this deal does not go ahead unless and until relevant human rights concerns have been resolved. ….
Of this we are convinced, Prime Minister: the decision to proceed with this arms deal undermines not only the public’s trust in our export control system, but also the core values that define Canada’s character as a nation.
Click on the link for the full copy of the open letter to the Prime Minister.
Pour la version française, cliquez LETTRE_OUVERTE_AU_ PM_L’Arabie_Saoudite_25 April 2016.
For the Globe and Mail article on the press conference, click on Human rights groups ask Trudeau to end ‘immoral’ arms deal with Saudi Arabia (Steven Chase and Robert Fife, Globe and Mail, 27 April 2016). See also Canada breaking export control rules, violating Trudeau’s feminism with Saudi deal, say critics (Janice Dickson, iPolitics, 27 April 2016).
The organizations that signed the open letter are listed below:
Roy Culpeper, Chair: Group of 78
Fergus Watt, Executive Director: World Federalist Movement Canada
Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director: Project Ploughshares
Pierre Jasmin, Vice-President: Artists for Peace
Peggy Mason, President: Rideau Institute
Béatrice Vaugrante, Directrice Générale: Amnistie internationale Canada francophone
Alex Neve, Secretary General: Amnesty International Canada English
Julia Sanchez, President-CEO: Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
Monia Mazigh, National Coordinator: International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Thomas Woodley, President: Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Paul Hannon, Executive Director: Mines Action Canada
Silke Reichrath, Director: Brooke Valley Research for Education in Nonviolence
Professor John Packer, Director, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa
Nicole Filion, Coordiatrice: Ligue des droits et libertés
Metta Spencer, President: Science for Peace