Time for answers: Letter to Trudeau on the Saudi arms deal

Ploughshares Featured 2 Comments

…“freeze or entirely cancel an export permit.” She further affirmed that it was “essential for us as a matter of our national sovereignty to be able to control the movement of these goods out of our country.” In December 2018, you told Canadians that your government was trying to see if there is a way of “no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia.”

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Yemen has continued to deteriorate. According to recent information from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, almost two thirds of the Yemeni population require humanitarian or protection support. 17 million are food insecure. Three million have fled their homes. 14.5 million require access to safe drinking water…

Canadian Council of Churches urges Ottawa to support nuclear ban treaty

Ploughshares Featured, News, Nuclear Weapons, Publication 1 Comment

December 21, 2018

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

Re: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau

We, the undersigned, representing all 26 member denominations of The Canadian Council of Churches, write to urge that the Government of Canada support the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Click on image to read full letter.

GCR‘s whole-of-society approach to refugee protection: The unique complexities of South Asia

Ploughshares Featured, Forced Displacement and Migration Leave a Comment

…and cultural institutions, to name a few. Third, it recommends that refugees be consulted and that they engage in the design and implementation of any plans for refugee response. Finally, the GCR recognizes the role of established and traditional actors in the response regime—including the United Nations system, humanitarian organizations, and civil society actors—and aims to “ensure the complementarity” of their interventions.

This synergy and complementarity should be based on a thorough analysis of the risks and benefits of involving institutions that have not worked in this sector of activity, while trying to avoid potential pitfalls and maximize benefits to refugees. This is particularly true when considering the South Asian context discussed below.

What are the implications of the WoS…

Social media and conflict

Branka Marijan Featured Leave a Comment

…world that militaries need to respond more rapidly to what happens online.

But speedy virtual responses can have long-lasting and possibly devastating consequences in the real world.

Facebook and Myanmar

Social-media platforms were created and are controlled by private firms that continue to shape how information is categorized and which information is seen by users. Critics are concerned that these firms are not accepting responsibility for how their technology is used in conflict zones.

In Myanmar, Facebook was used to spread rumours and hate speech against the Rohingya population. Legislators from Rakhine province, where most Rohingyas lived, called for violent attacks against them. In August 2017, 6,500 Rohingyas were killed and many more displaced in what the United Nations described…

Bill C-47: Remarks to the Senate Standing Committee

Cesar Jaramillo Conventional Weapons, Featured Leave a Comment

…treatment afforded to the U.S. is obviously out of line with the expectations of consistency, objectivity, and non-discrimination specified in article 5.

Such exemptions would be incompatible with ATT obligations regardless of the recipient. In the case of the United States, they are especially problematic. The United States is the largest exporter of weapons and military equipment in the world. Canadian components can be incorporated into systems in the United States and then exported to third parties without requiring further authorization from Canada.

The United States is also, by far, the largest recipient of Canadian military goods. Despite the lack of transparency in this regard, Project Ploughshares estimates that Canadian exports of military goods to the U.S. are worth as…

It’s back: Space-based missile defence

Jessica West Featured, Space Security Leave a Comment

Like boomerangs, some bad ideas keep coming back. Space-based missile defence has been pursued intermittently by the United States since the launch of the Space Age. Now, under Donald Trump, America is once again dreaming that it can protect itself from nuclear-armed missiles by deploying a “shield” of interceptors in outer space. Closely resembling President Reagan’s derided “Star Wars,” this shield—we are told—is finally doable.

Published in The Ploughshares Monitor Volume 39 Issue 4 Winter 2018 by Jessica West and Paul Esau

But even if the technical problems have now been solved (and that’s a big if), enduring problems linked to cost, efficacy, geostrategic stability, and morality remain.

An elusive defence

The United States has been interested in ballistic missile

Canada and the Global Compact on Refugees

Sonal Marwah Featured, Forced Displacement and Migration Leave a Comment

…one-off resettlement responses, while relevant, are necessarily limited in their global impact.

The United Nations recommends that developed countries spend 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance (ODA), with 0.15-0.2% of GNI allocated to the least developed countries. The 0.7 per cent target was set in 1969 by a UN expert commission headed by former Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson and has been repeatedly endorsed by international development forums and committees.

In Canada, funds for international assistance programs come from the International Assistance Envelope (IAE), which covers ODA. Currently, Canada spends 0.26 per cent of GNI on development aid. Starting in 2018-19, the federal government is pledging to provide up to $2-billion over five years…

Why the chances of conflict in outer space are going up

Jessica West Featured, Space Security Leave a Comment

…UN First Committee on International Security and Disarmament this autumn. In its place stands an assertion by the United States that outer space has been “transformed into a warfighting domain” and mutual accusations by the United States, Russia, and their allies related to various weapons programs.

This confrontation is significant. Previous hard-won modes of diplomatic cooperation have been sacrificed. For the first time since 2008, the United States and Israel voted against the resolution “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” that urges work on this topic at the Conference on Disarmament. Both states, with Cameroon and Palau, also cast negative votes on the resolution “Transparency and confidence-building measures [TCBMs] in outer space” that is linked to implementation of…

The AI arms race: The Cold War mindset returns

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Featured Leave a Comment

reached by some is that more money should be put into the weaponization of emerging technologies, thus making such a race more likely.

New technologies appeal to militaries that fear being caught off-guard by their adversaries. One-up-manship abounds—each needs to get the latest advancement before the other. In this way, technologies escalate and the danger increases.

Old wine in new bottles

Among the countries that are making significant investments in AI defence/military technologies are China, the United States, Russia, Israel, India, the United Kingdom, and France. This past November, the UK and Australia held separate “Autonomous Warrior” exercises. Those in the UK were the “biggest military robot exercises in UK history,” with 70 systems tested.

The current competition between the…

We are ready for 2019

Cesar Jaramillo Conventional Weapons, Defence & Human Security, Featured, Forced Displacement and Migration, Nuclear Weapons, Space Security Leave a Comment

…Collaboration with a coalition of Canadian human rights, disarmament, and development civil-society organizations to address shortcomings in the Canadian government’s proposed legislation on accession to the Arms Trade Treaty (Bill C-47); Participation as a member of the international Control Arms Coalition in multilateral conferences on the Arms Trade Treaty, including the 4th Conference of ATT States Parties. Refugees and forced migration Collaboration with The Canadian Council of Churches on a legal challenge to the Safe Third Country Agreement, which prevents most migrants that enter Canada from the United States from claiming refugee status; Continued research and analysis on governance related to displaced persons, on such topics as the global compacts on migration and refugees, and the refugee crisis in the…