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SANG LAV-III Light Armored Vehicles

From 1993 to 2016, GLDS-C was granted export permits by the Government of Canada for nearly 3,000 Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) to Saudi Arabia. Canada had sold LAV’s to Saudi Arabia in the past with 1,000 delivered in the 1990’s and 700 more in 2009. By 2015 the SANG inventory of LAVs of various configuratiosn was about 2,500 vehicles.

In March 2011, Saudi Arabia sent armored vehicles to help quell peaceful civilian protests in neighboring Bahrain. The Canadian government doesn’t deny this happened; it says only that it doesn’t believe the vehicles were used to combat protests. Videos dated from 2012 and 2015, show Saudi authorities using LAVs (albeit not Canadian-made ones) against Shia dissidents in Eastern Province,

On February 14, 2014 the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and Danny Deep, Vice President, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, announced a historic contract worth 15 billion Canadian dollars (US$11 billion) for vehicles and associated equipment, training and support services. Minister Fast said Canada beat out competition from France and Germany to win the contract to supply vehicles. The announcement was made in London, Ontario, where the light armoured vehicles will be designed and manufactured and which would become the epicentre of a cross-Canada supply chain directly benefiting more than 500 local Canadian firms. This 14-year contract will create and sustain more than 3,000 jobs each year in Canada, with southern Ontario accounting for approximately 40 percent of the supply base.

The largest arms exports contract in Canadian history, coverage of the deal is strangely silent on the total number of vehicles inovlved, but it might be imagined that the contracts provide for the complete replacement of the existing 2,500 vehicle fleet over the period 2018 to 2028. At the time that the Saudi deal LAV-3 was announced in February 2014, the required export permits had not been issued. The contract, valued at $14.8-billion, was awarded during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, with average annual shipments worth at least $1-billion. It dwarfs any other military exports contracts brokered by the CCC. With the total value of all military export contracts for 2013-2014 at $15.5-billion, the Saudi deal accounted for more than 95% of military exports for the fiscal year. According to Canada’s export control policies, “once an application to export goods or technology has been received, wide-ranging consultations are held among human rights, international security and defence-industry experts” at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), the Department of National Defence, and, “as necessary, other government departments and agencies”.

The contract was negotiated by the conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and endorsed by his liberal successor, Justin Trudeau, whose government sealed the contract in April 2016. On April, 11, 2016, the record of the decision of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to approve six permits for export of light armoured vehicles and associated weapons systems, spare parts and technical data to Saudi Arabia was filed in federal court. The decision of the Minister, informed by the recommendation of Global Affairs Canada, was taken on April, 8, 2016.

Critics argue that the delivery of weapons to Saudi Arabia, which is engaged in a bloody camping to quash a rebellion in Yemen on behalf of the country’s ousted president, may violate Canada’s commitments to human rights. “To give arms to a country that uses them to violate human rights is to contribute to that violation,” Andre Lesperance, a former federal lawyer, told a federal court in Montreal. “It’s beyond willful blindness.”

Project Ploughshares worked with governments, churches and civil society in Canada and abroad to advance policies and actions that prevent war and armed violence and build sustainable peace. In this context, efforts to track arms exports and to strengthen export controls have been a key focus of our activities. It is the view of Project Ploughshares that the effectiveness of Canada's export control regime is contingent upon its ability to produce objective, reliable assessments related to export permit applications.

Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director, Project Ploughshares testified 01 June 2016 before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Right" Saudi Arabia is one of the worth human rights violators in the world. By any modern standard, Saudi Arabia is indeed a human rights pariah. According to Washington-based Freedom House, the country is among the worst of the worst human rights offenders in the world. Year after year, authoritative organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch condemn the consistent, systematic repression of the Saudi civilian population by the governing regime.

"not only do authoritative organizations that track human rights internationally warn of a worsening human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, but Global Affairs Canada's own 2015 human rights report on the kingdom points to "a significant increase in the number of executions, restrictions on universal rights, such as freedom of expression, association and belief, lack of due process and fair trial rights." .... if Saudi Arabia is deemed to be an eligible recipient of Canadian-made military goods, who would not be? "

Amnesty International urged all states to ensure that no party to the conflict in Yemen is supplied – either directly or indirectly – with weapons, munitions, military equipment or technology that would be used in the conflict until they end such serious violations. This also applies to logistical and financial support for such transfers. The embargo call went far beyond existing international sanctions on parties to the conflict in Yemen. UN Security Council Resolution 2216, adopted in April 2015, imposed an arms embargo on Huthi/Saleh loyalist forces only. A non-binding European Parliament resolution adopted on 25 February called for the EU to seek to impose an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, but not other parties to the conflict.

Among the arms transfers Amnesty International believed should be suspended in the current context is Canada`s $15 billion multi-year deal to sell Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia. As the conflict in Yemen continued and intensified, the organization became increasingly concerned that the LAVs transferred in previous years could be used to support ground attacks. Images posted on social media by the Saudi Arabian National Guard (but not verified by Amnesty International) appear to confirm that Canadian-made LAVs were moved to the volatile border area with Yemen months ago.

Some of the armored combat vehicles Canada is selling to Saudi Arabia in a controversial $15-billion arms deal will feature medium- or high-calibre weapons supplied by a European subcontractor. Details about the turreted weapons were slow to emerge as both General Dynamics Land Systems (Canada) and its Belgian supplier CMI Defence, part of CMI Groupe, said little about the contract and subcontract. Belgian media said it would be worth €3.2-billion (CN$4.9-billion) and last more than 15 years, a transaction involving about 700 vehicles. The Dutch Parliament passed a resolution concerning an arms embargo to Saudi Arabia. The European Parliament has a non-binding resolution but it has symbolic value. The European Parliament also passed a resolution concerning an arms embargo to Saudi Arabia and urged all its members to make it binding and to act on it. Sweden cancelled existing contracts with Saudi Arabia after they had been authorized. Some media outlets, including The Globe and Mail, recently reported that the Swedes themselves say the cost of that decision has not been particularly high. It was just related to that particular deal in question as it relates to Saudi Arabia but otherwise they made a decision to stand on principle and to cancel that.

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Page last modified: 19-02-2017 20:00:49 ZULU