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Use of UK-manufactured arms in Yemen inquiry launched

10 March 2016

The Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) launch an inquiry into the use of UK-manufactured arms in the conflict in Yemen.

The inquiry will look at the size of arms sales to the gulf region and ask questions about the role the trade plays in advancing UK interests there. It will also examine if weapons manufactured in the UK have been used by the Royal Saudi Armed Forces in Yemen, if any arms export licence criteria have been infringed and discuss what action should be taken in such cases.

The four House of Commons Select Committees that comprise the CAEC are: the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, the Defence Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the International Development Committee and was first formed in 1999. Its remit is to examine the Government's expenditure, administration and policy on strategic exports, specifically the licensing of arms exports and other controlled goods.

Chair's comments

Committee chairman, Chris White, said:

"The defence and security industry is one of the UK’s most important exporters, however it is vital that its financial success does not come at a cost to the nation’s strategic interests. We have launched this inquiry to understand what role UK-made arms are playing in the on-going conflict in Yemen. Have the criteria set by the government for granting arms export licences in the region been respected and what should be the consequences if they have not? We will also ask if greater consideration should be given to the impact that arms sales have on the sustainable development of the regions where they are bought, and may be used, and the role the Department for International Development should play in this assessment."

Terms of reference

Written submissions are invited on the following issues:

  • What are the UK’s strategic interests in the region and wider afield? To what extent and how are those strategic interests being advanced?
  • What significance does the region play in terms of the UK defence and security industry?
  • Are UK-manufactured arms being used by the Royal Saudi Armed Forces in the conflict in Yemen?
  • Have there been any infringements of the UK Government’s criteria for the granting of arms export licences with regard to the use of UK-manufactured arms in Yemen? If so, what should be done as a consequence?
  • Should DfID’s formal involvement in granting arms export licences be extended to consider the impact on the sustainable development of both the recipient country and countries where British arms may ultimately be used?

The deadline for written submissions is 25 March 2016.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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