UN special experts call for an arms embargo, continue to press for a ceasefire in Gaza to avoid a genocide in the making

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo by Alisdare Hickson from the ISHR website.

United Nations special experts, including Mary Lawlor, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, say: “Grave violations committed by Israel against Palestinians in the aftermath of 7 October, particularly in Gaza, point to a genocide in the making.” To stop this, the UN experts have demanded an “arms embargo on all warring parties.”

Amnesty International has also called on the international community to “impose a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict given that serious violations amounting to crimes under international law are being committed.”

Amnesty International adds: “States must refrain from supplying Israel with arms and military materiel, including related technologies, parts and components, technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance. They should also call on states supplying arms to Palestinian armed groups to refrain from doing so.”

Numerous others including Just Peace Advocates, the Campaign Against Arms Trade, CIVICUS, Fundación Mundubat, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the New Democratic Party of Canada, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Ontario Federation of Labour, and Project Ploughshares have also expressed their support for an end to arms transfers in accordance with international law obligations.

While Hamas reportedly may be receiving support from Iran and North Korea through, as CNN describes it, “a combination of guile, improvisation, tenacity”, the major exporters of weapons to Israel include the United States, Germany, Italy and Canada.

And yet, along with the Government of Canada’s refusal to call for a ceasefire, it has also not suspended its arms sales to Israel.

A review of Canada’s annual reports on exports of “military goods” reveals that over the last five years Canada has exported almost $100 million of these so-called “military goods” to Israel: $21,329,783.93 (in 2022), $26,092,288.99 (2021), $18,947,640.49 (2020), $13,744,727.53 (2019) and $15,950,952.12 (2018).

The CANSEC weapons show, scheduled to take place just six months from now on May 29-30, 2024, at the EY Centre in Ottawa, is connected to this concern.

As noted on the CANSEC webpage: “CANSEC showcases leading-edge technology, products and services for land-based, naval, aerospace and joint forces military units. This two-day event is the largest and most important defence industry trade show in Canada.”

That webpage further highlights that “50+ international delegations” are present at CANSEC and that of the “more than 12,000+ registrants from all over the world, including military leaders and government officials” of which 74% “have purchasing power”.

The “List of Exhibitors” at CANSEC include “Israel Representatives” and Elbit Systems Ltd., and its 2024 Sponsors include L3 Harris, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The Campaign Against Arms Trade and World Beyond War have provided information on the relationship between these companies and the Israeli military.

Stop CANSEC, May 29-30, 2024

For more on the annual protests against the CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa, please see this World Beyond War webpage.

Photo: Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed by the IDF is remembered at Stop CANSEC protest, May 28, 2023.

Further reading: Rather than calling for a ceasefire in Palestine and Israel, Canadian banks are profiting from holdings in weapons companies (Peace Brigades International-Canada, November 6, 2023) and The Breach barred from weapons show for ‘critical anti-war journalism’ (The Breach, May 31, 2023)

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