Bishops ask Government about conflict in Yemen and use of British weaponry

On 10th April 2019 the Bishops of Coventry and St Albans received written answers to questions on the war in Yemen: efforts to bring the conflict to an end, and the use of weapons made or sold by British companies –

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: (HL14938) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to facilitate an end to the war in Yemen.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK has played a leading role in diplomatic efforts, including bringing together key international actors to try to find a peaceful solution. We continue to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and the UN-led peace process. All parties have reaffirmed their support for the peace process and the Government of Yemen have agreed to the UN redeployment plan but, at this stage, the Houthis have not agreed to the UN plan. It is important that neither side exploits the redeployment process. We urge all parties to co-operate with the Special Envoy and act in good faith to implement the agreements made in Stockholm, including the redeployment of military personnel.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: (HL14976) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 28 March (HL14604), whether third parties have provided information about weapons made or sold by British companies that were subsequently used in Yemen; if so, which reports they have received; and what assessment they have made of any such reports.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: We are aware that some UK licensed weapons have been used by Saudi Arabia in the conflict in Yemen. We examine every export licence application rigorously on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria including an assessment of whether there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law (IHL). We regularly raise the importance of compliance with IHL with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition and draw on a range of sources in making assessments, including NGOs and international organisations and continue to monitor the situation closely, seeking further information where appropriate. We welcome any further information NGOs and international organisations can provide.

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