End weapons exports and military relations with Israel, Indonesia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia

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Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

 We are calling on you to review and cancel Canadian weapons exports and all military collaboration with Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

These countries are all involved in not only severe human rights abuses, but also imperial occupation of their neighbours.

Israel enforces a racist and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people, abusing their human rights since 1948. Palestinians in the West Bank live under a regime and are subjected to checkpoints, punitive home demolitions, unequal access to water, electricity and other discriminatory racist measures. Palestinians in Gaza have limited access to food and other basic necessities and forced to live on 4 hours of electricity per day. Protests are met with teargas, arrests, rubber coated steel bullets, and live fire.

Indonesia has been militarily occupying the island nation of West Papua since 1969, when the entire area was forcibly annexed. A shotgun referendum was forced at gunpoint and the 1000 elders voted to join Indonesia. Since then, Indonesia has been waging a murderous occupation of the island that has of now claimed the lives of an estimated 400,000 people. Indonesian soldiers also arrest, torture and murder West Papuan independence activists. While the people of West Papua suffer higher rates of poverty and infant and child mortality rates than anywhere in Indonesia, Indonesian backed mineral extraction firms make billions of dollars for the benefit of the government in Jakarta.

In January 2018, Turkey launched an armed invasion of Afrin, a Kurdish majority province in Syria. During the invasion of Afrin, hundreds of Kurdish civilians were killed by Turkish military airstrikes and shelling. Afrin is currently occupied by Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army militias, who are engaged in a continuing pattern of theft, torture, displacement, and kidnappings. Since January, some one thousand young Kurdish men have “disappeared”. Between July 2015 and December 2016, the Turkish military launched massive “anti-terrorist” operations in Kurdistan. Turkish government forces raped, tortured, and extrajudicially executed hundreds of Kurdish people.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has been heavily engaged in a civil war in Yemen that has contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Saudi pilots are bombing Yemeni farms and ports, increasing food shortages that contribute to starvation. Food and medicine shipments have been denied entry into certain ports of the country. This contributed to a massive cholera epidemic as well the death from starvation of 50,000 Yemeni children in 2017. The Saudi air force is also dropping cluster bombs and other indiscriminate weapons on residential areas, schools, mosques, and hospitals. Of the 15,489 air attacks by the Saudi and Coalition Air Force in Yemen, one of every three strikes has hit civilian targets.

 

Israel, Indonesia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia all receive Canadian military weapons exports and their militaries have a working relationship with the Canadian Armed Forces.     

In 2016, the Canadian government sold $9,725,298.07 worth of weapons to Israel’s government, including among others included missiles and ground vehicles and components. The Canadian Air Force uses Israeli drones, and Canadian Air Force high ranking officers visit their Israeli counterparts and Canadian and Israeli militaries take part in joint training exercises.

In 2016, the Canadian government exported $519,850.14 worth of weapons to Indonesia’s government, including chemical or biological toxic agents, automatic weapons, and “riot control agents”. Canadian and Indonesian military officials give joint training sessions to military personnel from other countries in the MTCP (Military Co-operation and Training Program).

In 2016, the Canadian government sold the government of Saudi Arabia $142,207,669.41 of military equipment, including automatic weapons, ammunition, ground vehicles, missiles, and 24 military aircraft. Saudi pilots come to Canada to receive training in the NFTC (NATO Flying Training in Canada) program.

In 2016, the Canadian government sold Turkey $3,994,423.41 of military equipment. Military exports to Turkey included automatic weapons, missiles, and ground vehicles and components. As members of NATO, the Canadian and Turkish militaries both enjoy a working relationship.

 

Canada can no longer be allowed to be complicit in the human rights abuses of these nations, which we are by selling them weapons and continuing military relations. We demand you cut off all weapons exports to Israel, Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia and cease all military co-operation and relations until they stop abusing the human rights of the Palestinian, Kurdish, West Papuan and Yemeni people.

 

Sincerely,



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