Yemen: UK Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:31 pm on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Purvis of Tweed Lord Purvis of Tweed Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (International Trade) 3:31 pm, 20th February 2019

My Lords, I have the pleasure of serving on the committee under the noble Lord, Lord Howell, and I returned from a visit to the wider region yesterday. Since the war began there, the UK has sold £5.5 billion-worth of arms to the coalition, which includes training in targeting and weapons use. I visited the Sudan, where there have been an estimated 14,000 militia—including, the UN has verified, nearly 1,000 child soldiers—in the conflict. It is simply not acceptable for the United Kingdom to be satisfied that we are even narrowly on the right side of international humanitarian law. The situation is so severe and the situation is now so tense with the peace process that, for the United Kingdom to give the moral leadership which we currently do by humanitarian assistance and diplomatically, we can no longer effectively turn a blind eye to the need for a pause on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. That will provide the moral leadership so that we can be fully on the right side of international humanitarian law.