Dion con­cerned for se­cu­rity of hu­man rights sources in Saudi Ara­bia

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

OTTAWA — For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Stephane Dion says he doesn’t want to risk the safety of sources who give the govern­ment sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion on hu­man rights con­di­tions in their coun­tries. Dion was re­spond­ing to the grow­ing clam­our over the govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to al­low an On­tario com­pany to sell $15 bil­lion worth of light ar­moured ve­hi­cles to Saudi Ara­bia in spite of its ques­tion­able hu­man rights record. Amnesty In­ter­na­tional has called on the govern­ment to re­lease an in­ter­nal fed­eral hu­man rights as­sess­ment on Saudi Ara­bia in light of the deal. Dion said Mon­day he wants to make pub­lic a redacted ver­sion of the re­port, and has asked for ad­vice from his of­fi­cials on how to do so. ``The doc­u­ments are in­tended for in­ter­nal use and are clas­si­fied. I would be pleased to re­lease, upon re­quest, un­clas­si­fied ver­sions,’’ he said in a state­ment. ``I want to en­sure that we re­spect the safety and se­cu­rity of iden­ti­fied sources.’’ Global Affairs Canada is in the process of up­dat­ing its 2011 as­sess­ment on Saudi Ara­bia. Canada con­ducts reg­u­lar hu­man rights as­sess­ments of for­eign coun­tries, but doesn’t do new re­ports ev­ery year, in part be­cause of the slow pace of change in many coun­tries.

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