Following the January 2nd government announcement in the Canada Gazette, media reports revealed that Colombia was added to Canada’s Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL) (see here for example). This means that Colombia is now eligible to purchase automatic firearms such as assault rifles from Canada. Prior to the announcement, Canadian exporters of automatic firearms could not sell such weapons to Colombia, a prohibition that remains on more than three-quarters of the world’s states.
Prior to the announcement the government conducted a public consultation about adding Colombia to the AFCCL. The announcement revealed that there were three respondents, two of which opposed the addition. These were Project Ploughshares and Amnesty International Canada, which provided a joint submission in October 2012. The submission notes that the sole formal requirement for an AFCCL addition is an intergovernmental defence arrangement between Canada and the prospective state. Such an arrangement between Canada and Colombia was announced in November (see here). Ploughshares and Amnesty recommended that assessments be based on additional criteria — including compliance with human rights standards, meeting obligations under international humanitarian law and the risk of diversion. If states fail any of these assessments they should not be added to the list. Currently in Colombia there are substantial risks that imported automatic firearms will be used in human rights violations or diverted to illegal use.
The joint Ploughshares-Amnesty submission followed a similar joint submission in May 2012 regarding the proposed addition of Austria, India, Ireland, Kuwait and Switzerland to the AFCCL. To date the government has not announced the addition of any of these states to the list.