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Arms Exports: International Humanitarian Law

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 15 April 2021

What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that arms exported from the UK are not deployed in contravention of international humanitarian law. (914107)

All arms exports require an export licence. I can assure the House that we take our export control responsibilities very seriously. We rigorously assess every application on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, taking advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Ministry of Defence. We will not issue an export licence where to do so would be inconsistent with the consolidated criteria, including where there is a clear risk that the items might be used for a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

The Yemeni community in Liverpool would like to know how the Minister can possibly justify the decision of his Department to increase its sales of bombs and missiles for use in Yemen to new record highs, while his friends at the Foreign Office are simultaneously cutting the amount of humanitarian aid going to starving Yemeni children. Does he accept that this is not just wrong, but downright immoral?

Not only are Her Majesty’s Government one of the biggest donors of aid around the world, including to Yemen, but as was set out in the Secretary of State’s written statement, we have devised a clear and revised methodology to make sure we will only license such products if they are consistent with the consolidated criteria.