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Arms Trade: Saudi Arabia

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN HL6672, tabled on 9 July 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they gave to the actions of the government of Saudi Arabia (1) in that country, and (2) in Yemen, when deciding to resume granting export licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia; and what assessment they have made of the compatibility of that decision with the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, announced on 6 July.

Answered on

20 July 2020

The Written Ministerial Statement of 7th July 2020 set out the steps that HM Government has taken to comply with the judgment of the Court of Appeal of 20th June 2019 regarding licences for military exports to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.

To address the Court of Appeal’s judgment, we have developed a revised methodology in respect of all allegations which it is assessed are likely to have occurred and to have been caused by fixed wing aircraft reflecting the factual circumstances that the court proceedings concerned.

To be clear, allegations have been subject to detailed analysis by reference to the relevant principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and in the light of information and intelligence available. An evaluation has then been made, in respect of each incident, whether it is possible that it constitutes a breach of IHL or whether it is unlikely that it represents a breach.

The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is a separate issue entirely though. This new sanctions regime will give the United Kingdom a powerful new tool to hold those individuals involved in serious violations of rights and responsibilities to account.