Statement of support for protest against weapons shipments to Saudi Arabia through Saint John
Fredericton – The migrant justice and anti-war group, No One Is Illegal Fredericton, expresses its support to those planning to protest the next scheduled shipment of Canadian arms to Saudi Arabia through the port of Saint John. The protest is planned for the King Street entrance to the port at 7:00 am on Saturday, December 22.
Why the protest?
1. Canada has been selling Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) and other weapons to Saudi Arabia as part of a $14.8 billion arms agreement. These weapons leave Canada through the port in Saint John under export permits approved by the Canadian government. Canadians are increasingly dissatisfied with this deal and are raising questions about the Canadian trade in military hardware.
2. Canada’s military export agreement with Saudi Arabia is supposed to require that the weapons not be used to violate the human rights of civilians. There is evidence, including video, that shows LAVs and other Canadian-made military equipment being used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and also against their own citizens. Canadians are increasingly distressed about our complicity in Saudi policies.
3. Saudi Arabia, in its war against neighbouring Yemen, has bombed water treatment plants, food storage depots and hospitals, blockaded shipments of food and water to ports, and killed many Yemeni people, including children. Canadians support humanitarian efforts, but these are contradicted by our participation in the arms trade.
4. According to UN agencies, some eight million people are on the verge of starvation, 20 million face food insecurity brought by a Saudi-imposed economic blockade and an estimated 85,000 children under five have starved to death over the last three years as a result of the war.
5. Saudi Arabia denies rights to its own citizens, especially women. The government jails women for seeking fundamental rights, and is currently threatening to behead at least one of them.
6. Germany and some other EU countries have already cancelled or suspended weapons sales to Saudi Arabia because of Saudi-led coalition atrocities in the war on Yemen. The US Senate passed a resolution to end US involvement in Yemen war over a conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and brought famine to the country and as a signal to punish Saudi Arabia for journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death.
We call on the Canadian government to:
1. Cancel the arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and all members of the Saudi-led coalition and stop the sale of all weapons to these countries.
2. Support a lasting ceasefire in Yemen and resumption of humanitarian aid through Yemeni ports immediately.