Reports: Saudi Arabia Using Canadian Military Trucks against Own Civilians


According to a report published by the British paper, the Guardian, these allegations have prompted renewed scrutiny over Ottawa's recent decision to sign off on a billion-dollar arms deal with the kingdom, Bahrain Mirror reported. Also several sources told the Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail that the vehicles being used appeared to be Gurkha RPVs made in Ontario by Terradyne Armoured Vehicles. Canadian officials said they were deeply concerned by the reports. "We are looking at these claims very seriously ... and have immediately launched a review," Justin Trudeau told reporters. The ministry of global affairs said it was concerned over the escalating violence in eastern Saudi Arabia. In a statement issued last week, it highlighted the casualties among civilians and security forces and urged Riyadh to confront its security challenges in "a manner that abides by international human rights law". Days later, the ministry said the government was actively seeking more information about the reports of civilian casualties and claims that Canadian-made vehicles were involved. "If it is found that Canadian exports have been used to commit serious violations of human rights, the minister will take action," a spokesperson for department told the Guardian. He did not answer questions around what kinds of actions this could entail. Terradyne Armored Vehicles did not respond to a request for comment. In Canada, Amnesty International pointed to the indications that Canadian vehicles are being used against civilians to call on the Liberal government to reverse its support of the billion-dollar arms deal. "Mounting tensions and conflict in Eastern Saudi Arabia, about which the Canadian government has rightly expressed public concern, further indicate how fraught it is for Canada to have authorized the sale of light armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia at this time," secretary-general Alex Neve said in a statement. The Guardian further noted that videos and photos posted on social media in recent days allegedly show Riyadh using Canadian equipment in a violent crackdown on minority Shia dissidents in Eastern Saudi Arabia. Last week at least five people were killed as security forces flushed out suspected militants in the town of Awamiya. In 2016, Saudi Arabia ranked among the largest importers of Canada-made military goods, purchasing more than C$142m worth of goods, nearly 20% of all Canadian military exports that year. On a related note, this month, a high court in London ruled that the UK could proceed with arms sales to Saudi Arabia. "Saudi Arabia has been, and remains, genuinely committed to compliance with International Humanitarian Law; and there was no ‘real risk' that there might be ‘serious violations' of International Humanitarian Law in its various manifestations such that UK arm sales to Saudi Arabia should be suspended or cancelled," the court said. Campaigners called the ruling a "green light" for the UK to sell arms to "brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers"