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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 the risk that UK weapons are being used to commit or facilitate a breach of international humanitarian law, in the light of reports of indiscriminate airstrikes in Yemen by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, including the destruction of schools and hospitals.

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

We are aware of reports of 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 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 are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant factors 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. Our export licensing system allows us to respond quickly to changed circumstances, with options to suspend or revoke licences if necessary.

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