CANADA: Activists to call for an end to weapons sales to Saudi Arabia

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SHAFAQNA – Arms deals are not merely a financial transaction. They are a powerful expression of political support and partnership between two governments. When Stephen Harper signed the $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia in 2014 – the largest contract in Canada’s history – he attempted to justify the controversial deal by pointing to Saudi Arabia as a partner in the fight against Islamic State. He also argued that cancelling the contract would unjustly punish the 3,000 Canadian workers who manufacture the weapons in London, Ont.

Chrystia Freeland’s tweet last month, which called for the release of detained human-rights activists in Saudi Arabia, triggered a Canadian-Saudi spat in which Saudi Arabia abruptly cut diplomatic and new-trade ties with Canada. It also pulled thousands of Saudi scholarship students from Canadian universities.

After Saudi Arabia’s punitive response to Ms. Freeland’s tweet, she stated that Canada would continue to stand up for human rights at home and around the world. But Canada’s so-called feminist and human-rights-oriented foreign policy rings hollow in the ever-expanding gravesites of Yemen.

Activists in Canada are determined to stand up for they view as “the only fair and humane course of action before the barbarity of a regime [Saudi Arabia] whose crimes have become too many to ignore and not stand guilty by silent association.”

CD4HR (Canadian Defenders for Human Rights) will march on September 19, 2018 calling for their government to end all weapons deals with Saudi Arabia and expert political pressure to see a quick resolution to the kingdom’s abysmal human rights track record.

 

 

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