February 22, 2011

Canadian Military Exports to the Middle East & North Africa

From COAT (Coalition to End the Arms Trade)

For decades, Canadian governments--Conservative and Liberal alike--have preached peace and human rights, while facilitating the steady flow of weapons, ammunition, tear gas, armoured vehicles and many other military and so-called "security" products to repressive, undemocratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa. These governments are responsible for widespread, violent and systematic abuses of human rights, such as torture and murder. By exporting military and police products to these countries, Canada is complicit in aiding and abetting numerous authoritarian, U.S.-backed regimes that maintain a tight grip on power through propaganda, intimidation and sheer brute force.

Inspired by popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and growing protests throughout the region, the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has compiled information on military exports and produced data tables for 16 recipient countries in the Middle East and North Africa. COAT's tables show the value of "Munitions" in 22 categories from "Group 2" of Canada's "Export Control List," as published in reports by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) called "Export of Military Goods from Canada."

Here are links to the individual country tables showing Canada's munitions exports:
Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Yemen

According to DFAIT's official reports--which unfortunately only document some of Canada's military exports--the Canadian government permitted military sales valued at more than $1.8 Billion to the Middle East and North Africa between 1990 and 2006. (The Government of Canada has failed to produce any reports since 2009, when it released data on 2006.) Unfortunately, DFAIT's reports do not document the export of any "dual use" military products, even when these have been sold directly to the armed forces of foreign governments. Neither do DFAIT's reports include any data on military exports to the U.S., despite the fact that: (1) the U.S. receives about 3/4 of Canada's military exports, and (2) Canadian military products are assembled into complete weapons systems in the U.S. and are then re-exported to other countries. Because of the inadequacies in DFAIT's transparency on Canadian arms exports, the data assembled in COAT's tables is--regrettably--incomplete. However, this is the best publicly-available information on Canada's military exports to the Middle East and North Africa.

Human Rights: To accompany its data tables on military exports, COAT has also produced lists of web resources on human rights abuses for each of the 16 Middle East countries receiving military and/or police products from Canada. These resources contain ample evidence to corroborate the assertion that Canada should immediately stop exporting the tools of war and repression to states where military and police forces have impunity, and where human rights abuses are so extreme and endemic.

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