Peace lies at the very heart of the good news proclaimed by Jesus. The United Church believes that peacebuilding and justice making should together guide all our actions for peace in our world.
In a recent letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion on behalf of the United Church, Executive Minister Michael Blair called on the government to halt its contract to sell armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. According to Canada’s own regulations, Canada “strives to ensure that Canadian military exports are not prejudicial to peace, security or stability in any region of the world or within any country.” Canada is also required to closely control military exports to countries “whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens.”
Project Ploughshares, a Canadian church agency providing research and leadership for action on peace, has expressed concern about the lack of transparency surrounding this deal. Worth $15 billion, it is the largest military export in Canadian history.
By arming Saudi Arabia—one of the worst violators of human rights in the world—“any Canadian attempt to speak out on international efforts to protect human rights will soon be met with skepticism and disdain,” stated Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director of Project Ploughshares, in a recent Globe and Mail article. Whether or not the equipment included in this sale will be used to violate human rights, Canada has a responsibility to uphold international law and promote human rights.