Bishop of St Albans asks Government about British arms exported to Saudi Arabia used in Yemen conflict

St Albans 2On 25th June 2019 the Bishop of St Albans asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of weapons exported from the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia on the conflict in Yemen”. The Lord Bishop, Rt Revd Alan Smith, then asked a follow-up question:

Earl of Courtown (Con): My Lords, Her Majesty’s Government take their arms export responsibilities seriously. We draw on a range of sources in making assessments, including from NGOs and international organisations which detail political and humanitarian developments in Yemen. We also consult regularly with colleagues at our overseas missions and in other government departments to ensure that we have all the relevant information to make an informed decision.

Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply. I was given an assurance in a past written response to a Question that every sale of arms from the UK undergoes a rigorous assessment in the light of serious violations of international humanitarian law. Yet in 2018 a Minister in the other place said:

“The MOD does not investigate allegations of IHL violations”,

and in 2016, as evidenced in the Court of Appeal last week, the decision was made that there would be no assessment of past violations of international humanitarian law with regard to Saudi Arabia. Can the Minister clarify whether international humanitarian law is taken into consideration when selling weapons?

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Bishop of Leeds asks Government about Saudi Arabia – arms sales, reforms and extremism

On 15th November 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received  written answers to three questions on Saudi Arabia: on arms exports, reforms, and violent extremism:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the value of UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia in (1) 2015, (2) 2016, and (3) 2017.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent announcement that he intends to return Saudi Arabia to a path of “moderate Islam”.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the relationship between (1) reports that Saudi Arabia funds organisations that promote a Salafist Wahhabist ideology, and (2) the growth of violent extremism. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about Saudi Arabia – arms sales, reforms and extremism”

Bishop of Derby supports Bill to regulate arms brokers

DerbyOn the 10th June 2016 the Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern spoke during the Second Reading debate of Baroness Jolly’s Register of Arms Brokers Bill. The Bishop drew parallels with similar work he had undertaking in the area of  supply chain transparency during the passage of the Modern Slavery Act. 

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I rise to support the noble Baroness, Lady Jolly, and to make three simple points about why this such a powerful and necessary case. First, it builds upon existing legislation about licensing and export control, so we have a set of criteria and an assessment process in place so that all companies involved are scrutinised and licensed. We are doing the work that would provide the register. So the principle of identifying and monitoring arms brokers is established.

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