Amid COVID crisis, Canada lifts moratorium on arms exports to Saudi Arabia

April 15, 2020

Did Global Affairs Canada (GAC) consider the ironic contradictions of the announcements it made just one day apart last week?

On April 10, GAC issued an official statement in support of a global ceasefire, in response to the high-profile appeal on March 23 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The day before, however, it had announced that it was lifting a moratorium on arms-export permits to Saudi Arabia, one of the worst violators of human and women’s rights on the planet.

The Secretary-General’s appeal was intended to focus the energies of the international community on defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, while also drawing attention to the special vulnerability of populations in war-ravaged countries. Serving as a poignant example, impoverished Yemen, now in its sixth year of armed conflict and with its infrastructure in shatters, reported its first COVID-19 case last week.

Saudi Arabia is the chief perpetrator of the catastrophe engulfing Yemen, which the UN called the worst in the world weeks before the pandemic began. A UN panel has denounced the “widespread and systematic” targeting of Yemeni civilians by the Saudi-led coalition – acts that constitute war crimes.

Read the full article in The Globe and Mail.Photo: Image taken from September 2019 that appear to show Canadian light armoured vehicles being used in Yemen. Al Masirah TV / Al Jazeera

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