Arms Trade: Saudi Arabia

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 14th January 2015.

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Photo of Roger Godsiff Roger Godsiff Labour, Birmingham, Hall Green

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he takes to ensure that equipment for which arms export licences to Saudi Arabia have been granted is not used for internal repression.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

The UK aims to operate one of the most rigorous and transparent export control systems in the world. All export licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account all prevailing circumstances at the time of application. Exports to Saudi Arabia continue to be subject to close scrutiny, in particular under Criterion Two which concerns the ‘respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country for international humanitarian law’. The Government will not issue an export licence if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression.

Export licences are kept under review in the light of changing international circumstances. A cross-government mechanism can suspend or revoke extant licences when a changing situation, such as an outbreak of conflict or acts of internal repression, means the licence would no longer be consistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

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