For Immediate Release
21 March, 2011
Prevent military vehicle shipments to Saudi Arabia: Rideau Institute
(Ottawa, ON) The federal government is being urged to prevent further shipments to Saudi Arabia of military vehicles made in Canada, and to institute an embargo on the export of all military goods to the region during the current political turmoil.
On March 14, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates entered Bahrain in an effort to shore up the Bahraini government, which has been facing escalating demands from citizens for democratic reforms. Several civilians have been killed.
Based on video footage broadcast by media outlets, it appears that light armoured vehicles used by Saudi troops were the same type that is manufactured in Canada.
In the 1990s and early 2000s Canada sold more than 1200 LAVs, built by General Motors Diesel Division (now General Dynamics Land Systems Canada) of London, Ontario, to the Saudi Arabian National Guard.
According to a report published by The Washington Post on November 25, 2009, a shipment of 724 light armoured vehicles produced in Canada was expected to be delivered in April 2011 to the Saudi Arabian National Guard. The status of the deliveries is unclear.
“Arms built in Canada should not be used to prevent democracy in Bahrain or anywhere else,” said Steven Staples, President of the Rideau Institute. “As more people in the Middle East and North Africa demand more accountability from their governments, Canadians should be very concerned about Canada exporting arms to that region.”
The Government of Canada’s export control policies are intended to “closely control” military exports to countries “involved in or under threat of hostilities” and countries “whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens.”
The Rideau Institute is an independent research, advocacy and consulting group specializing in defence policy, based in Ottawa.
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For further information:
Steven Staples, President | t. 613 565-9449 | c. 613 290-2695
“General Dynamics gets $2.2 billion deal.” The Washington Post, Nov. 25, 2009.
YouTube video (starts 2:20)