During a week of virtual sessions hosted in September at the Geneva offices of the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Canada remained silent. Not once in the last year has Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs focused on autonomous weapons when explaining Canada’s foreign policy priorities.
On October 24, Radio Canada International reported that Canadian-based Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) had suspended the export of aircraft engines to “countries with unclear usage.” This action followed reports that these engines were being used in Turkish-built Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that Turkey had sent to support Azeri forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
On October 5, under mounting pressure from civil society and the Armenian diaspora community, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) suspended exports of Canadian-made L3Harris WESCAM surveillance and targeting sensors to Turkey. These sensors had been found on Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) that were illicitly diverted to Azerbaijan by ally Turkey for use in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Canada’s accession to the Arms Trade Treaty last year necessitated some welcome changes to Canada’s arms-control policies. But it appears that the export regime’s human-rights protections are still flawed. In this article, we focus on the activities of the Canadian Commercial Corporation.
Since 2017, Turkey has been a major customer for WESCAM products, second only to the United States. During this time, the Turkish military has not only been active in trying to put down an insurgency in southeast Turkey, but has become increasingly involved in armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2 14 May 2020 Re: Final Report – Review of Export Permits to Saudi Arabia Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, The undersigned, representing a cross-section of Canadian civil society organizations focused on arms controls, human rights, and international security, are writing in …
On April 10, GAC issued an official statement in support of a global ceasefire, in response to the high-profile appeal on March 23 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The day before, however, it had announced that it was lifting a moratorium on arms-export permits to Saudi Arabia, one of the worst violators of human and women’s rights on the planet.