(Ottawa) January 9, 2016 – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP (Saanich – Gulf Islands), called on the government to release a report written in 2015 which assessed Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. Recently, Amnesty International released its own report stating that the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia “has steadily deteriorated” over the past year.
“I am deeply concerned that government officials have refused to release its own assessment on the state of human rights in Saudi Arabia,” stated May. “In this past election, Canadians made it clear they wanted “real change” and that’s what Canadians voted for – a transparent and accountable government instead of the veil of secrecy we witnessed under the Harper Conservatives. This government must now keep its word and honour those commitments.”
Deputy Leader, Bruce Hyer added, “I find it equally disturbing that the government has decided to proceed with the sale of weaponized armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia given that, this month alone, we have witnessed the execution of 47 people by the Saudi government, including Shia Muslim cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr. In 2015, over 151 people were executed in Saudi Arabia.”
Under the government’s own federal arms export regulations, it is prohibited to export weapons to countries that have “a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens.”
“Although I understand that there are jobs associated with the production and sale of these armaments, it is not the Canadian way, nor does it remotely reflect Canadian values,” said Hyer. “We need to be assured that the Saudis will not use these weapons against their own citizens. Releasing the report will help determine the probability of this happening.”
“Today, I call on the Prime Minister to reconsider this decision, stay true to his commitment of transparency, and release the government’s report on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record for all Canadians to see,” concluded Elizabeth May.