Trade Secretary update on High Court ruling on Saudi Arabia trade

20 June 2019

The Trade Secretary updates the Commons as High Court Ruling finds the UK's licensing exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia unlawful.

Citing research by Amnesty UK, United Nation and various NGOs, it found that the licences could be being used to supply arms to the conflict in Yemen.

Responding, the Trade Secretary said that there would be a suspension of the issuance of new licenses to Saudi Arabia while the Government appeals the ruling. He said;

"Today’s judgement is not about whether the Government has made the right or wrong decisions about granting export licenses, but concerns the rationality of the process used to reach decisions. […] The Government will not grant a license if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law"

Responding for the Opposition, Barry Gardiner, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade criticised the Government for not properly assessing the humanitarian consequences of the export licences granted. He said,

"We are supposed to be the guardians of international humanitarian law, not the people found in breach of it. […] The Court of Appeals ruling today is a damning inditement of this Government’s handling of export licenses to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, finding they did not lawfully do so." 

Image: Anthony O'Neil via Geograph

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