ANCC Launches Action Alert Calling Upon the Canadian Government to Immediately Halt Azerbaijani Arms Sales

Ottawa- The Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) has launched an online action alert calling upon the Canadian government to immediately halt the export of Canadian manufactured weapons to Azerbaijan.

The ANCC urges members and grassroots activists to take immediate action and demand the cancellation of this highly controversial arms deal. The action alert is live on the AYF Canada website and could be accessed via the following link:

Halt the Export of Canadian Manufactured Weapons to Azerbaijan

Recently, the ANCC learned that the Canadian government had granted an export permit for the transfer of highly sophisticated military equipment from the Toronto-based INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing over to the Republic of Azerbaijan.

In a letter addressed to Canada’s Minister of International Trade, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne on July 24, ANCC President, Shahen Mirakian said “Such transfers of dangerous weaponry to a rogue states such as Azerbaijan violate the very basic norms of Canada’s arms exports regulations and pose a significant danger to domestic and regional stability”

“As has been demonstrated repeatedly thus far, the Azeri regime is adamant on using such equipment not only to perpetuate regional instability by threatening the peace and security of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), but also to crack down on dissent at home.” added Mirakian.

As a matter of fact, in April of last year, Azerbaijan, armed with then-newly acquired lethal weaponry, initiated the Four-Day War which was the deadliest clash between Armenian and Azeri forces since the 1994 ceasefire, and has been culpable of countless ceasefire violations up to that point and ever since.

By allowing this export of military goods to Azerbaijan, Canada is contributing to the hostilities among Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. Such decisions are contrary to Canada’s commitment and full support of the OSCE Minsk Group negotiation process and for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

“In observance of Canada’s stated priorities and regulations regarding arms exports, namely preserving regional peace and stability, and protecting human rights, we urge the government to not allow the interests and motives of hostile nations trump our shared values of justice and democracy.” concluded Mirakian.

As responsible Canadians and concerned members of the Armenian-Canadian community, the ANCC urges all members and activists to take one minute and send a pre-written email to the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of International Trade and demand the reversal of this highly controversial and unacceptable decision.

***

The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues and works to eliminate abuses of human rights throughout Canada and the world.

ANCC Calls Upon the Canadian Government to Immediately Halt Azerbaijani Arms Sales

Ottawa- The Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) is appalled to learn that the Canadian government has granted an export permit for the transfer of highly sophisticated military equipment from the Toronto-based INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing over to the Republic of Azerbaijan.

In a letter addressed to Canada’s Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne on July 24, the ANCC called upon the Canadian government to immediately halt the transfer of weapons to Azerbaijan and take the necessary steps to reverse this wrong decision.

“Such transfers of dangerous weaponry to a rogue states such as Azerbaijan violate the very basic norms of Canada’s arms exports regulations and pose a significant danger to domestic and regional stability” said Shahen Mirakian, president of the ANCC.

“As has been demonstrated repeatedly thus far, the Azeri regime is adamant on using such equipment not only to perpetuate regional instability by threatening the peace and security of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), but also to crack down on dissent at home” added Mirakian.

In response to the decision taken by the Canadian Government, the ANCC has launched an online action alert campaign, urging members and grassroots activist to take immediate action and demand the cancellation of this highly controversial arms deal.

As a matter of fact, in April of last year, Azerbaijan, armed with then-newly acquired lethal weaponry, initiated the Four-Day War which was the deadliest clash between Armenian and Azeri forces since the 1994 ceasefire, and has been culpable of countless ceasefire violations up to that point and ever since.

By allowing this export of military goods to Azerbaijan, Canada is contributing to the hostilities among Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. Such decisions are contrary to Canada’s commitment and full support of the OSCE Minsk Group negotiation process and for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

As for its human rights record, Azerbaijan has been repeatedly condemned by prominent rights watchdogs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for what is deemed to be a recurring suppression of fundamental freedoms, most notably its continuing assault on independent journalism and human rights advocacy in the country.

“In observance of Canada’s stated priorities regarding arms exports, namely preserving regional peace and stability, and protecting human rights, we urge the government to not allow the interests and motives of hostile nations trump our shared values of justice and democracy” concluded Mirakian.

******

The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues and works to eliminate abuses of human rights throughout Canada and the world.

 

Կանադայի Հայ դատի հանձնախումբը կոչ է արել կառավարությանը անհապաղ դադարեցնել զենքի վաճառքը Բաքվին

(news.am) Կանադայի Հայ դատի հանձնախումբն իր վրդովմունքն է հայտնել՝ տեղեկանալով, որ Կանադայի կառավարությունը թույլ է տվել Տորոնտոյում գտնվող զրահապատ մեքենաների արտադրությամբ զբաղվող «INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing» ընկերությանը՝ բարձրտեխնոլոգիական ռազմական տեխնիկա արտահանել Ադրբեջան, հաղորդում է «Ասպարեզ»-ը:

Կանադայի միջազգային առեւտրի հարցերով նախարար Ֆրանսուա Ֆիլիպ Շամպայնին ուղղված նամակում Հայ դատնի հանձնախումբը կոչ է արել երկրի կառավարությանը անհապաղ դադարեցնել զենքի տրամադրումն Ադրբեջանին եւ անհրաժեշտ քայլեր ձեռնարկել այդ սխալ որոշումը չեղարկելու ուղղությամբ:

«Նման վտանգավոր զենքերի տրամադրումը այնպիսի «իզգոյ» երկրների ինչպիսին Ադրբեջանն է, խախտում է Կանադայի զենքի արտահանմանը վերաբերող ամենահիմնարար նորմերը եւ լուրջ վտանգ են ստեղծում ներքին եւ տարածաշրջանային կայունության համար»,- ասել է հանձնախմբի նախագահ Շահեն Միրաքյանը:

«Մինչ օրս բազմիցս ապացուցվել է, որ Ադրբեջանի վարչակազմը այդ զենքն օգտագործում է ոչ միայն սպառնալիք ստեղծելով Հայաստանի եւ Արցախի խաղաղությանն ու անվտանգությանը, ոչ միայն տարածաշրջանային անկայունություն ստեղծելու, այլեւ այդ երկրի ներսում այլախոհությունը հետապնդելու համար»,- հավելել է Միրաքյանը:

«Փաստացի, 2016-ի ապրիլին Ադրբեջանը նոր ձեռքբերված մահացու զինատեսակներով քառօրյա պատերազմ սանձազերծեց, որն ամենամահաբերն էր 1994 թվականի հրադադարի ռեժիմի հաստատումից հետո:

Թույլ տալով զենք արտահանել Ադրբեջան, Կանադան իր ներդրումն է ունենում Ադրբեջանի, Հայաստանի եւ Արցախի միջեւ ռազմական գործողություններին: Նման որոշումները հակասում են ԵԱՀԿ Մինսկի խմբի շրջանակներում բանակցային գործընթացին ամբողջությամբ աջակցելու Կանադայի պարտավորություններին:

Ինչ վերաբերում է մարդու իրավունքներին, Ադրբեջանը բազմիցս դատապարտվել է հայտնի իրավապաշտպան կառույցների կողմից, ինչպիսիք են Human Rights Watch-ը, Amnesty International-ը ՝ այդ երկրում մարդու իրավունքների վիճակի հետ կապված: Ադրբեջանը քննադատվել է երկրում հիմնարար ազատությունները ճնշելու, առաջին հերթին անկախ մամուլի դեմ արձակումների համար»,-ընդգծել է նա:

Les Arméniens de Canada, hostiles à la livraison d’armes de fabrication canadiennes à l’Azerbaïdjan

(NOUVELLES D’ARMÉNIE) Le Comité Hay Tad (Comité de défense de la Cause arménienne) du Canada a protesté auprès du gouvernement canadien contre la livraison de technologies militaires à l’Azerbaïdjan et notamment de blindés par la société canadienne basée à Toronto, la « INKAS Armored Vehicule Manufacturing » écrit le site d’informations arméniennes des Etats-Unis, « Asbarez.com ». Le Comité Hay Tad du Canada a écrit le 24 juillet au ministre du Commerce international du Canada, Philippe Champagne afin que la décision de livrer ces armes à l’Azerbaïdjan soit annulée. Le Comité Hay Tad écrit sous la signature de son représentant Chahén Mirakian qu’il est dangereux pour la stabilité de la région du Sud-Caucase de livrer des armes à l’Azerbaïdjan.

Canadian-Armenian community up in arms over Canadian defence exports to Azerbaijan

By Levon Sevunts

(RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL, 14 August) Canada’s Armenian community has launched a coordinated grassroots and lobbying campaign to convince the Liberal government to annul export permits for the sale of Canadian-made armoured personnel carriers to Azerbaijan, according to Armenian community leaders.

The campaign started after Radio Canada International and CBC reported in July that the Toronto-based manufacturer INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing has signed a deal with Azerbaijan’s interior ministry under which the company has already delivered “a few” Canadian-made armoured personnel carriers (APCs) to the oil-rich former Soviet republic.

The privately owned company has also set up a joint venture with an Azerbaijani firm to produce APCs in Azerbaijan, which has been embroiled in a simmering armed conflict with neighbouring Armenia since the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, said Roman Shimonov, vice-president of marketing and business development at INKAS.

Canadian Armenians dismayed

Chahé Tanachian, the Montreal-based president of the Canadian-Armenian Political Affairs Committee, the lobbying arm of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), one of the oldest and largest Armenian Diaspora organizations, sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to express the community’s concerns.

“Canadians of Armenian descent and human rights activists throughout the country are dismayed by Global Affairs Canada’s recent approval of the export of Canadian-made armoured personnel carriers (produced by INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing) to Azerbaijan,” Tanachian wrote.

“The decision to furnish arms to a country which regularly threatens peace in the region is one that violates all the principles that we as Canadians stand for, and which Global Affairs Canada seeks to promote in the world.”

The controversy over the sale of INKAS APCs to Azerbaijan comes as the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is dealing with the outcry over revelations by Radio Canada International that very similar armoured vehicles produced by another Canadian manufacturer, Terradyne Armored Vehicles, were used by Saudi security forces in their heavy-handed crackdown on a Shia-populated town in the kingdom’s restive Qatif region, as well as the ongoing controversy over the sale of $15 billion worth of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Grassroots campaign

Sevag Belian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC), one of the main groups lobbying the government on issues of concern of the Canadian-Armenian community, said the news of the exports of armoured personnel carriers to Azerbaijan created “great outrage” in the community.

“We reached out to the concerned governmental departments and agencies, namely Global Affairs Canada,” Belian said in an interview with Radio Canada International.

(click to listen to the interview with Sevag Belian)

The ANCC has also reached out to more than 50 Members of Parliament, requesting them to make either oral or written representations to Global Affairs to relay the message that the entire Canadian Armenian community “is absolutely appalled,” Belian said.

The ANCC has activated a national grass roots campaign and set up a mass email campaign appealing to the government to annul permits for the export of Canadian-made defence equipment to Azerbaijan, he said.

The campaign has bombarded the Liberal government with over 1,200 emails and letters, requesting a meeting with top government officials to discuss the issue, Belian said.

Meeting with government officials

Adam Austen, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s spokesman, said Parliamentary Secretary Matt DeCourcey will be meeting with the representatives of the Armenian community at the earliest possible convenience.

“Armenia is a close friend and ally of Canada,” Austen said. “We have strong people-to-people ties and an economic relationship that benefits both countries. We are proud to work closely with the Armenian community in Canada as well as the Armenian government.”

Community ‘hysteria’?

However, Azerbaijan’s envoy in Canada dismissed the campaign by the Armenian community as “hysteria.”

“The illegal presence of Armenian armed forces in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan remains a main cause for the escalation of the situation and continues to pose a threat to regional peace and stability,” Azerbaijan’s Chargé d’Affaires in Ottawa Ramil Huseynli said in a written statement. “In contrast, the acquisition of armoured personnel carriers from a Canadian company does not pose such a threat, as these vehicles are intended only for law enforcement and civilian transport.”

Cooperation between the Canadian company and its Azerbaijani counterpart creates jobs for Canadians, the envoy said.

“In this light, the hysteria of the Armenian community, who should put Canadian interests above the rest, is unintelligible,” said Huseynli.

‘Thorough crackdown on dissenting voices’

Groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Azerbaijan’s human rights record and accused it of a “thorough crackdown on dissenting voices,” as well as persistent reports of torture and other ill-treatment perpetrated by its law enforcement agencies.

In November 2015, Azerbaijani police used Israeli-made armoured personnel carriers similar to those produced by INKAS in a controversial security operation that resulted in the death of six people and dozens of arrests in the town of Nardaran, about 30 kilometres northeast of the capital Baku.

The federal government granted INKAS permits for the export of APCs despite its own ongoing concerns over Azerbaijan’s poor human rights record. In a statement sent to RCI earlier, Global Affairs officials admitted that Canada is “concerned with the recurring crackdown on fundamental freedoms in Azerbaijan, particularly with respect to journalists and human rights defenders in the country.”

In addition, INKAS and AZCAN, its joint venture company in Azerbaijan, laud the military applications of their vehicles in the sales pitch.

Weapons buying spree

According to data collected by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) over the last two decades, Azerbaijan has spent over $30 billion ($25 billion US) of its oil wealth to rearm and retrain its military, purchasing high-tech weapons and munitions from Russia, Israel, Turkey, Ukraine and Pakistan.

According to the 2016 Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada, Azerbaijan bought $378,705 worth of fire arms and ground vehicles in Canada. Ottawa, however, denied a permit for the export of automatic firearms to Azerbaijan in 2016 because it is not on Canada’s list of countries authorised for exports of such weapons.

Belian said they cannot accept assurances from Canadian officials that Canadian weapons being exported to Azerbaijan will not be used against civilians or Armenian soldiers along the frontline of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“It’s a matter of principle,” Belian said. “Canada is becoming complicit in further empowering the dictatorial regime in Baku and becoming complicit in their efforts of suppressing the very fundamental rights that Canadian soldiers have shed their blood for.”

Seeking peaceful solution

As a full member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Canada can play a pivotal role in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis by exerting pressure on Azerbaijan to make sure it agrees to a beefed up ceasefire monitoring regime along the frontline between the two opposing forces, Belian said.

Canada also fully supports the OSCE’s efforts to forge a peaceful and comprehensive settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karbakh region, Austen said.

“We fully agree with the OSCE Minsk group that a military solution is not the answer,” Austen said.

Գանատայի Հայերը Կը Բողոքեն Ատրպէյճանին Զրահապատ Ինքնաշարժներ Ծախելու Ծրագիրին Դէմ

(news.am) Գանատայի հայ համայնքը արշաւի մը սկսած է՝ Ատրպէյճանին գանատական զրահամեքենաներ ծախելու ծրագիրը ձախողութեան մատնելու նպատակով:

Համայնքին առաջնորդները ջանք կը թափեն կառավարութիւնը համոզելու, որ ջնջէ գործառքը, կը գրէ «Սի.Պի.Սի. Գանատա»ն:

Արշաւը սկսած է, երբ «Radio Canada International»ը եւ «Սի.Պի.Սի.»ն անցեալ Յուլիսին հաղորդած էին, թէ INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing ընկերութիւնը Ատրպէյճանի ներքին գործոց նախարարութեան հետ համաձայնագիր մը ստորագրած է, զրահապատ փոխադրամիջոցներ մատակարարելու համար:

Գանատայի Հայ Դատի յանձնախումը այս նպատակով նամակներ յղած է վարչապետ Ճասթին Թրուտոյի եւ խորհրդարանի աւելի քան 50 անդամներու՝ շեշտելով, որ այս լուրը ցնցած է գատահայութիւնը, որովհետեւ կարելի չէ զէնք տրամադրել այնպիսի երկրի մը, որ շարունակաբար կը սպառնայ տարածաշրջանի խաղաղութեան եւ կը խախտէ մարդկային տարրական սկզբունքները։

Գանատայի արտաքին գործոց նախարարի մամլոյ քարտուղարը յայտարարած է, որ խորհրդարանին մօտ նախարարին ներկայացուցիչը ամենականուխ առիթով հանդիպում մը պիտի ունենայ հայ համայնքի ներկայացուցիչներուն հետ, քննելու համար հայութեան մտահոգութիւնները։