Hilary Benn – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Hilary Benn on 2015-11-03.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to his oral Answer of 22 October 2015, Official Report, column 444WH, what steps he has taken to assess whether British-manufactured arms have been used in a responsible manner in Yemen.

Mr Philip Hammond

The Government takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications are carefully assessed on a case by case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. A licence will not be issued, for any country, if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the 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. We are aware of reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen by all sides to the conflict and keep these under regular review. We have raised our concerns with the Saudi Government and have received repeated assurances of IHL compliance. We continue to engage with them on those assurances and urge all sides to investigate such incidents fully.