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Defence written question – answered on 2nd November 2011.

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Photo of Mike Gapes Mike Gapes Labour, Ilford South

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) material and (b) technical support his Department provided to the Yemeni Government in each of the last five years.

Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Given the serious threat al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) poses to UK national security, Her Majesty’s Government have been working with the Yemeni Government for a number of years supporting them in disrupting AQAP. This support has included training, delivered both in Yemen and in UK, and the provision of a limited amount of non-lethal equipment. At the centre of our all training and support is a commitment to promoting human rights. The UK Government seek assurances that the forces we are involved with will not be deployed on operations outside of their mandate or in breach of human rights.

The UK has provided professional development training for officers of the Yemeni security forces as follows:

Number of students
2006 5
2007 7
2008 6
2009 7
2010 9

This training includes elements which enhance an individual’s understanding of the control and employment of security forces in accordance with the rule of law.

At the request of the Yemeni Government the UK provided training for the Yemeni Central Security Force Public Order Battalion in October 2010 and February 2011. The aim of this training was to reduce the use of lethal force in public order situations and address a source of grievance among Yemeni citizens by developing the capability of the Yemeni Central Security Forces to be able to deal with public order situations in an accountable and professional manner. The training, which was conducted in Yemen, included human rights and law of armed conflict training at the request of the Yemenis; escalation and de-escalation drills were included as were the principles of use of minimum force. As part of this training package a small amount of non-hazardous and non-lethal public order equipment, to the value of £90,000, was gifted to Yemen from surplus UK stocks in order to cover Yemeni capability gaps and to ensure that UK techniques could be taught and applied correctly. This equipment was delivered to the Yemeni Central Security Force in February 2011.

The UK has also worked with the Yemeni Counter Terrorism Unit, in concert with other donors, to increase Yemen's capability to tackle AQAP, including training and advice over the past five years and the provision of equipment and infrastructure in financial year 2010-11. The UK has also delivered training, advice and the provision of rigid inflatable boats to the Yemeni coastguard, based in both Sana'a and Aden, since 2005, as part of our wider counterterrorism and regional security efforts.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s counterterrorism programme is the principal funding stream for the Government’s counterterrorism work overseas, overseen by a cross-government programme board. A decision to fund a particular project is taken only after an assessment of possible impacts and human rights implications has been completed.

The political and security situation in Sana'a has deteriorated significantly this year; consequently this training was suspended in May 2011.

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