Colombia can now buy prohibited automatic firearms from Canada
On December 13th, 2012 the Government of Canada eased its ban on automatic firearms sales to Colombia and added Colombia to its Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL). Although controls remain on exporters, Canadian gun merchants now have the possibility of selling fully automatic weapons with high-capacity magazines — banned in Canada — to Colombia. Details of this story can be found in the following CBC report.
This announcement would raise concerns if these weapons were destined for anywhere in the world. After all, why would Canada export weapons deemed dangerous and unsuitable for Canadians? But the export of these weapons to Colombia is particularly egregious.
Colombia has suffered decades of violent conflict. Although a peace process was recently initiated, it is very fragile, and violence and serious human rights violations continue. Canada completed a controversial free trade deal with Colombia, but concerns remain.
Amnesty International and the ecumenical organization Project Ploughshares provided a joint submission to the review panel opposing the addition of Colombia to the list based on worries that the firearms would be used in human rights violations or diverted to illegal use.
For more information on Canadian military sales to Colombia, see this recent London Free Press article.
For more information on KAIROS’ work with Colombian partners, please contact Rachel Warden, Latin America Partnerships coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org