In August, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland’s tweet criticizing Saudi Arabia’s arrest of a female activist trigged a strong Saudi backlash. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia has a disgraceful record on political and civil rights. This position paper discusses Canada's complex and contradictory relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Montreal, October 25, 2018 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) calls on Canada to end, once and for all, its arms trade with Saudi Arabia. The brazen murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi authorities in Istanbul further highlights the brazen and repressive attitude of the Saudi leadership. CJPME believes that Saudi Arabia’s authoritarian and oppressive practices have, for far too long, betrayed Canada’s purported support for human rights and international law. Learning that Canada faces a penalty of $1 billion if it suspends the arms deal is just one more sign that the paradoxical sale should be terminated.Read more
Montreal, August 29, 2018 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) opposes Saudi Arabia’s repressive actions against human rights defenders, most recently demonstrated through the arrests of Saudi activist Omar Abdulaziz’s family and friends. CJPME points out that Saudi Arabia’s authoritarian actions betray Canadian democratic values, and calls the Canadian government to condemn these most recent Saudi violations of basic human rights.Read more
Montreal, January 24, 2018 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) urges the Canadian government to follow the example of the German government vis-à-vis relations with Saudi Arabia. On January 19th, the German government announced that it will be suspending all arms sales to Saudi Arabia, due to the Saudi documented human rights violations in Yemen. CJPME applauds Germany’s principled position, and calls on the Canadian government to likewise suspend all arms sales to the Saudis.Read more
Montreal, July 31, 2017 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) demands that the Canadian government immediately review its existing $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Over the weekend, news sources published videos and photographs of Canadian-made armoured personnel carriers (APC) being used by the Saudi government to crackdown on Saudi civilian dissidents. The APCs that appear in the video were manufactured by Terradyne Armored Vehicle Inc., a privately owned company in Newmarket, Ontario.Read more
Montreal, May 10, 2016 — The Saudi Arabian ambassador to Canada has declined to respond to a letter asking him to explain his country’s position on the $15 billion arms deal for light armoured vehicles (LAVs) with Canada. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) sent a letter to the Saudi Ambassador last week, and followed up repeatedly, but failed to elicit a response from the Saudi representative to Canada. CJPME had invited the ambassador to address concerns by Canadian human rights organizations that the LAVs could likely be used to commit human rights abuses.Read more
Montreal, April 27, 2016 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) joined with over a dozen prominent Canadian human rights groups signing an open letter opposing the recent issuance of export permits for Canada’s $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The list of Canadian organizations signing the open letter is impressive, and includes Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, the Rideau Institute and others. The organizations addressed the letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and demanded that the government rescind the export permits for the arms deal, many of which have been recently signed.
CJPME Factsheet 197, published April, 2016: 2016 began violently in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom began the year with the execution of 47 Shiites accused of “terrorism.” Despite this violence directed specifically against a Saudi minority group, the Canadian government continued to defend its contract of $15 billion with the Saudis for the sale of armoured vehicles. In the face of such dealings, Canadian human rights groups question the probity of Saudi-Canadian relations.
Montreal, April 21, 2015 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) calls on the Canadian government to push diplomatically for a ceasefire in Yemen. Not only is the civil war in the country causing widespread death and destruction, but the Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes are adding to the mayhem and obstructing humanitarian efforts. “While it may be difficult to intervene neutrally in a civil war, Canada should certainly do everything it can to stop the Saudi-led airstrikes. These airstrikes are carried out in clear violation of international law,” asserts Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME.Read more
CJPME Political Blog, April 2, 2015: Earlier this month, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström had planned to deliver a speech on democracy and women’s rights at an Arab League conference in Cairo. Though it appears that her remarks were intended to be quite general in nature, she had planned to condemn the public flogging of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, which has made headlines in recent months. However, Wallström’s speech was quickly and effectively blocked by the delegation from Saudi Arabia who felt that the speech was “incompatible with the fact that the constitution of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is based on Sharia [law].”Read more