Canadian PM Stresses Probe into Reports of Saudi Abuse

Canadian PM Stresses Probe into Reports of Saudi Abuse
Sun Jul 30, 2017 14:26:08

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is taking “very seriously” reports that Saudi Arabia is using Canadian-made armored vehicles in a crackdown on Shias in the Middle Eastern country.

“We are looking at these claims very seriously... and have immediately launched a review,” Trudeau said during a visit in central Canada on Saturday.

The investigation was prompted after Canadian daily The Globe and Mail on Friday reported the apparent use of Canadian combat vehicles in Saudi Arabia’s mainly Shia-populated Qatif region, which has been the scene of protests since 2011 against the regime’s repressive policies and human rights abuses against the Shia population.

The daily cited military experts as identifying the vehicles appearing in photos and videos of the Saudi operations as Gurkha RPVs, manufactured by Terradyne Armored Vehicles in Newmarket, Ontario.

A statement released by the Canadian government after the report said Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was “deeply concerned about this situation and has asked officials to review it immediately.”

“If it is found that Canadian exports have been used to commit serious violations of human rights, the minister (Freeland) will take action,” the statement said.

“The end use and end user of exports, as well as regional stability and human rights, are essential considerations in the authorization of permits for the export of military goods from Canada,” it added.

But it was not clear what action would be taken.

This comes as export control rules in Canada bar arms exports to countries that have poor human rights records and a record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens.

Additionally, human rights groups have called on the federal government to cancel permits for the export of Canadian military and defense equipment to Saudi Arabia.

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