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PRESS RELEASE: Halifax peace activists highlight Raytheon’s role in bombing Yemen on Global Day of Action

This action will be held at noon today, outside Raytheon’s offices at Main Rd and Avenger Place, Shearwater (HRM).
Halifax peace activists highlight Raytheon’s role in bombing Yemen on Global Day of Action

Halifax/Kjipuktuk. Anti-war, Yemeni and humanitarian activists from over 300 organizations in 17 countries are coming together for an international day of action on January 25th 2021. In Halifax, peace activists are targeting arms manufacturer Raytheon, a supplier of missiles to Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition that is bombing and enforcing a blockade against Yemen.

Since the Yemen war began, Raytheon has booked at least a dozen major sales to Saudi and its partners worth more than $5 billion, including $3 billion in bombs and bomb parts. While these contracts are officially with Raytheon in the US, Raytheon in Canada supplies Raytheon in the US through subcontracts, including $63 million in missiles and components with Raytheon Missile Systems, which supplies Saudi Arabia according to Project Ploughshares.

Raytheon’s bombs have been linked to at least 12 attacks on civilians in the first two years of the war alone, including the bombing of a wedding that killed at least 140 people and left another 500 wounded.

“Bombing buses, weddings, funerals, fishing boats and countless everyday civilians is part of connecting the dots for Canada’s part in arms dealing,” says Kathrin Winkler of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, who was present at the demonstration. “Canadians must firmly confront flaws in their foreign policy, standing against our role in the devastating human rights abuses in Yemen.”

Canada is also supplying Saudi Arabia directly with light armoured vehicles manufactured in London Ontario and more than 30 large-calibre artillery systems and 152 heavy machine guns. This deal, valued at $15 billion, made Saudi Arabia the largest non-U.S. export destination for Canadian arms in 2019.

For a period of 19 months after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Canada put in place a moratorium on arms exports to Saudi Arabia, a ban that conveniently did not apply to existing contracts such as the $15 billion General Dynamics contract for light armoured vehicles. But then Canada lifted even this limited moratorium in April 2020, based on a flawed report from Global Affairs Canada, which ignored the documented evidence of Canadian weapons being used in human rights abuses, including the war in Yemen.

“Canada’s support for weapons sales to Saudi Arabia has never faltered. Even during the moratorium, arms shipments continued, including exports of light-armoured vehicles (LAVs),” explained Cesar Jaramillo of Project Ploughshares. “Still, it is utterly disappointing that only days after Canada endorsed the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, it decided to formally lift the moratorium and open the door to further arms exports to one of the world’s worst human-rights pariahs, who is also the chief instigator of the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Yemen.”

Yemen is home to the world’s worst humanitarian disaster according to the UN, with approximately 24 million people, or 80% of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance due to the on-going war.

Press Contact: Sakura Saunders, World Beyond War.

Sakura Saunders, she/they
board member, World Beyond War
twitter: sakura1979