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Civil Society Coalition calls for independent, external review into reports of misuse of Canadian military exports by Saudi Arabia

    July 05, 2018
    Read the Open Letter
    "As civil society organizations with expertise and long-standing interest in strengthening Canada’s arms export controls, we are writing to call for an independent external review of the reports that emerged in the media last year that Canadian-built armoured vehicles may have been used by Saudi Arabian armed forces in violence directed at civilian populations in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province."

    A coalition of civil society organizations is calling on Canada to commit to an independent, external review following a flawed and inadequate internal investigation in the wake of media reports suggesting Canadian-built armoured vehicles may have been used by Saudi Arabian armed forces in violence directed at civilian populations in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.

    In an Open Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chystia Freeland, the coalition expressed grave concern that the internal government report, which was released publically in May 2018, revealed “major shortcomings” both in the investigation of the allegations and in interpretation of Canadian obligations under interna­tional law.

    “The report contains failings that undermine public confidence in its documentation and analysis,” the Open Letter states, noting “these shortcomings suggest that a thorough review conducted by an independent and impartial expert is now required to adequately address the serious questions and concerns that remain unresolved.”

    “Such an independent review not only would demon­strate Canadian commitment to transparency, to international human rights law, and to stronger export controls.”

    In particular, the coalition found the internal report contains failings with respect to:

    • lack of independence of the primary sources relied upon;
    • standard of proof that was applied;
    • approach taken to analyzing information that was available; and
    • the fact that a number of irrelevant considerations appear to have featured in the analysis.lack of independence of the primary sources relied upon;

    The Open Letter was endorsed by Project Ploughshares, Amnesty International Canada (English Branch), Amnistie internationale Canada francophone, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Quebec, the Rideau Institute, the Group of 78, Canadians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East and John Packer, Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa.

    Media Contacts:

    • Jacob Kuehn, Amnesty International Canada – jkuehn@amnesty.ca / 613-744-7667 ext. 236.