Despite Trudeau's human rights concern, Canada sells weapons to Philippines

Champagne orders review of controversial helicopter deal with the Philippines
Canada sells 16 helicopters to Philippines after drug war row
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10 Февраля, 2018

Duterte also hinted that Canada should no longer expect the Philippines' help in times of trouble as long as he is president.

The Canadian government is not OK with the helicopters being used for those "internal security operations", however.

The Philippine government can consider other sellers of military helicopters, if the Canadian government refuses to push through with the deal, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.

Bell and the Philippine government had signed a deal last month to buy 16 Bell 412 helicopters for $233 million.

The deal represents another win for the Canadian defence industry when it comes to the Southeast Asian nation; Canada also sold eight Bell helicopters made in Montreal to the Philippines armed forces in 2015.

But a senior officer in the Philippines military, which has been accused of committing human-rights abuses in its war with local terrorists and rebels, admitted they would be used for internal security operations.

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Those include extrajudicial killings, the destruction of homes, unlawful arrests and other alleged violations.

"These are multi-purpose aircraft for anti-terrorism as well as HADR", he said, using military lingo that refers to disaster response and humanitarian missions. The most recent sale, Jagunos added, only underscores the need for answers and safeguards. "And we want the government to look into that to see if the helicopters are indeed being used in combat that are harming and killing civilians".

Opposition parties and human-rights groups have called for the cancellation of the sale of light-armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia over concerns they would be misused.

"I am directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) not to buy anymore (military equipment) from Canada or from the United States because there is always a condition attached", Duterte said in a news conference in Davao City.

The helicopter deal with the Philippines, he said, represents yet another example.

In November, Mr Trudeau raised the issue of human rights - and the ire of Mr Duterte - while in the Philippines for the Asean summit.

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