WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion recently announced that Canada will sell $15 billion worth of light armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia.
"[I]n light of the increasing global backlash against Saudi violations in Yemen, Mr. Dion’s announcement about the military sales was something of a surprise," Human Rights Watch researcher Belkis Wille stated on Monday.
Wille noted that the Saudi authorities have used light armored vehicles to suppress protests in eastern parts of the country.
Moreover, she expressed concern about Canada selling any military equipment to Saudi Arabia in light of Riyadh’s year-long bombardment of Yemen that has killed and injured thousands of civilians.
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners began launching airstrikes against Houthi rebel fighters in Yemen. The United Nations has recorded more than 3,200 civilian deaths during the conflict, 60 percent of which it attributes to coalition airstrikes, but Yemeni media has claimed the number is several-fold greater.
Human Rights Watch has documented 15 Saudi airstrikes in Yemen that involved cluster munitions, which are banned under international law.