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Yemen: Military Intervention

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 30th December 2015.

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Photo of Lord Ahmed Lord Ahmed Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the assurances by the government of Saudi Arabia that it is complying with international humanitarian law in its military intervention in Yemen suffice for the UK to meet its obligations under Article 6(3) of the Arms Trade Treaty.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

The UK supports the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition military intervention, which came at the request of legitimate President Hadi. We have been clear with all parties that military action should be taken in accordance with international humanitarian law. We are aware of reports on alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition and take these very seriously. We have regularly raised with Saudi Arabia the need to comply with international humanitarian law in Yemen, and continue to engage with them on this. We have offered advice and training to demonstrate best practice and to help ensure continued compliance with international humanitarian law. The Ministry of Defence monitors alleged international humanitarian law violations, using available information, which in turn informs our overall assessment of international humanitarian law compliance in Yemen. We consider a range of evidence from government sources, foreign governments, the media and international non-governmental organisations. The UK is satisfied that we are not in breach of our international obligations. The UK operates one of the most rigorous and transparent export control regimes in the world. All exports of arms and controlled military goods to Saudi Arabia are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant information at the time of the application, to ensure compliance with our legal obligations. A licence will not be issued, for any country, if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the UK Licensing Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that it might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

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