PBI-Canada supports civil society call to suspend all trade in arms and military technology with Israel

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Peace Brigades International-Canada has signed this statement calling for an arms embargo on Israel that, in part, says:

As the catastrophe wrought by Israel’s continued assault on Gaza grows, Canadian civil society organizations across multiple sectors are calling on the Canadian government to immediately suspend all trade in arms and military technology with Israel.

United Nations human rights experts warn that sending Israel weapons, ammunition or components that it would use in Gaza likely violates international humanitarian law, and the United Nations Human Rights Council has called on all states to immediately ‘cease the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel.’

Canada’s own laws, based on the Arms Trade Treaty, require that it stop permitting the export of military technology when there’s a substantial risk those exports could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law, or commit serious acts of violence against women and children.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that there is a ‘plausible’ case that Israel is committing acts of genocide in Gaza, and that Palestinians there face a ‘real and imminent risk’ of genocide. By reiterating that States have an obligation to prevent genocide, the ICJ ruling puts Canada on notice that, as a party to the Genocide Convention, it must do everything within its power to prevent genocide in Gaza.

Canadian companies export weapons, components, and military technology to Israel, including via the United States. These military exports, whether directly or by way of intermediaries, put Canada at risk of complicity in Israel’s grave human rights violations in Gaza and the West Bank.

Canada also buys and permits the import of military technology from Israel. It is Israel’s sixth largest arms buyer. Gaza and the West Bank function as a laboratory for Israeli arms manufacturers. The weapons deployed against Palestinians, including during Israel’s wars on Gaza, are marketed to international customers like the Government of Canada as ‘battle-tested’ and ‘combat-proven.’ Canadian tax-dollars pay for these Israeli-made weapons, providing profits to the Israeli arms industry and giving Israel moral cover for using those weapons against Palestinians. 

While the Minister of Foreign Affairs has verbally committed to pausing approvals of future arms export permits to Israel, Canada must go further. It must cancel existing export permits, close all export loopholes, and implement an Arms Embargo under Canada’s Special Economic Measures Act, which recognizes the necessity of a two-way prohibition.

We call on the Canadian government to uphold its moral and legal responsibilities and impose a full and immediate arms embargo on Israel.


We join with many other organizations who have already signed this statement including 350 Canada, Amnistie internationale Canada, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers), Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR), Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Community Peacemaker Teams, Environmental Defence, Greenpeace Canada, Independent Jewish Voices, Indigenous Climate Action, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, International League of People’s Struggle in Canada, Jews Say No to Genocide, Labour Against the Arms Trade, Labour for Palestine, Leadnow, Mennonite Church Canada Palestine-Israel Network, National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), OPIRG Toronto, Palestinian Youth Movement, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Rights Action, WILPF Canada, World BEYOND War, and many others.

To ask your Member of Parliament to sign this statement, click here. As of today (May 22), World Beyond War Canada reports that 19 MPs have signed.

Further reading: More than 800 human rights defenders killed in Palestine over the past six months (April 26, 2024) and PBI calls for respect for international law, protection of human rights defenders and an immediate cease-fire in Gaza (February 28, 2024).

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