Yemen

International Development – in the House of Commons on 3rd February 2016.

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Photo of Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Trade and Investment)

What support her Department has given to organisations investigating alleged breaches of human rights and international law in Yemen.

Photo of Desmond Swayne Desmond Swayne The Minister of State, Department for International Development

DFID funds a number of organisations in Yemen to deliver aid, some of which have reported alleged breaches of human rights and international law.

Photo of Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Trade and Investment)

The Government have so far approved £5,600 million of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which several independent reports have connected to the bombing of civilian targets in Yemen. Given that figure and the independent reports, does the Minister believe that £75 million of aid delivered by the UK Government to Yemen represents a balanced approach to the conflict?

Photo of Desmond Swayne Desmond Swayne The Minister of State, Department for International Development

Actually, it is £85 million—£85 million of life-saving aid. Warfare makes it more difficult to deliver that aid and that warfare is a consequence of the violent removal of the lawful Government of Yemen—not anything the United Kingdom has done.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Conservative, Rutland and Melton

May I invite the Minister to reiterate that point? The greatest breach of international law in Yemen has been the removal of a legitimate Government by force. Although it is very, very easy to focus only on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and blame it, it is that initial use of force which has caused this problem and must be seen in the context of the solutions we now want to see around the negotiating table.

Photo of Desmond Swayne Desmond Swayne The Minister of State, Department for International Development

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. I pay tribute to his work as the Prime Minister’s special representative, and to the enormous amount he has done to bring peace and prosperity to Yemen.