The House of Lords discusses arms sales and the war in Yemen
In regards to a statement regarding the ongoing war in Yemen and the UK's arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition, the following question was recently asked in the House of Lords.
Lord Collins of Highbury (Shadow Spokesperson Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Shadow Spokesperson International Development) asked on 7th November 2017
"Everyone would agree that the Houthi missile strike was totally unacceptable, but we also now face a blockade affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Some 800,000 people now suffer from cholera in Yemen. It is the biggest humanitarian crisis we face. Does the Minister agree that the blockade is unlawful and that it is some form of collective punishment against innocent people? In these circumstances, will the Government reconsider their position of arms sales to the Saudis until this matter is brought to a peaceful conclusion?"
To which Lord Bates (Minister of State, Department of International Development) replied:
"I thank the noble Lord for his questions. He is right about the situation on the ground in Yemen. It is horrendous. The cholera outbreak he referred to is the worst on record. It is appalling. Nearly 6.8 million people face extreme food shortages. Some 400,000 children aged under five suffer severe acute malnutrition and may die without treatment. This is a man-made catastrophe and it requires a man-made solution.
On working towards a solution, as I said in the Statement, we hold the pen on this at the UN Security Council. There is a quad meeting made up of the US, the UK, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They met under the chairmanship of my right honourable friend Alistair Burt in New York and a couple of weeks ago in London. We believe that that pursuit of a peaceful settlement is the best solution.
The UK Government take their arms export licensing responsibilities very seriously and operate one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. All export licences are assessed on a case-by-case basis against a consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criterion. That said, we recognise that we need a solution. We need talks to recommence between the parties because, as in all conflicts, the parties to the conflict need to be the parties to the peace."
ICFUAE urges the UK government to reconsider their position regarding arms sales to repressive regimes, including the UAE, especially when these arms are used to carry out human rights violations and commit war crimes.