War in Yemen

In accordance with the Court of Appeal's judgement in June last year, the Secretary of State for International Trade has retaken licensing decisions regarding military exports to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen on the correct legal basis.


New licence applications will be assessed against a revised methodology, which evaluates whether there is a clear risk that the equipment might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.  I have been assured that each application will be carefully assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria and that a licence will not be granted if to do so would be a breach of the criteria.


More broadly, I know the Government takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously and operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, based on the most up-to-date information and analysis available.


These Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require the Government to think hard about the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities.


Licence decisions take account of prevailing circumstances at the time of application and include human rights and international humanitarian law considerations. I understand the Government will not issue export licences where there is a clear risk that the goods might be used for internal repression or in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.


In addition the Government can attach conditions to licences, and in line with the Consolidated Criteria, it can review licences and suspend or revoke as necessary when circumstances require.


Given the strong feelings which many people have raised on this issue I have written to the Foreign Secretary and have asked him to consider the worries which have been raised by residents.