Parliamentary Questions

BooksIndicative of increasing attention is the rise in number of questions asked by Parliamentarians. We track and analyse all drones-related Parliamentary Questions.

The table below is regularly updated.  Further information can be found at Hansard.

 

 

DATE
QUESTION
ASKED BY
RESPONSE
URL
Coding
Location
28 Februrary 2018To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answers by Lord Ahmad of Wimbeldon on 28 February, whether their current assessment of the ability of Iraqi legal capacity and expertise indicates that prosecuting Daesh fighters in their courts will be possible soon; and whether they are considering the possibility of UN-sanctioned regional tribunals, in the territories of Iraq and Syria, in order to prosecute Daesh fighters. Lord Alton of Liverpool, Liberal DemocratDaesh must be held accountable for their crimes. Daesh fighters – regardless of their nationality – should be brought to justice according to legal due process.

The Investigative Team established under UN Security Council Resolution 2379 will gather evidence of Daesh crimes, beginning in Iraq. The Terms of Reference for the UN Investigative Team have been agreed and I look forward to its deployment. The UK has contributed £1 million to support the establishment of this team. We are encouraging other States to contribute to it. The UK is funding a project that builds Iraqi organisations' capacity to document and present evidence of gender-based violence.

The Investigative Team will collect evidence of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide to the highest standards and ensure the broadest possible use of evidence. Iraq will be the primary intended recipient of the evidence, but it can be used to support prosecutions elsewhere. It may be that some form of international or hybrid justice mechanism may be appropriate in the future, but it is too early – and not for the UK alone – to pre-determine that.

We are working with the Iraqi judiciary to build their capacity. The Resolution calls on member states to provide similar support. The UN will soon deploy a 'Needs Assessment Mission' to Iraq to determine where member states and the UN should target their capacity building.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2018-02-28/HL5931due processIraq
10 January 2022To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what role RAF Croughton has in facilitating US drone operations in the Middle East; and how that base is linked to the US military facility at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.Kenny MacAskill, Alba Party, East Lothianhttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-01-10/100701Partner Assistance
7 January 2022To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether it is the Government's policy to support a legally binding instrument on lethal autonomous weapons; and what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the UN 6th review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons held in December 2021.Jonathan Edwards, Independent, Carmarthen East Dinefwrhttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-01-07/99321Technology
15 December 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Written Statement of 8 December 2021, HCWS449, on Trade Policy Update, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of new arms licensing criteria in preventing (a) internal repression and (b) the commission of violations of international humanitarian law.Alyn Smith, Scottish National party, StirlingThe revised Criteria announced in the Written Statement of 8 December 2021, HCWS449, reflect the UK’s policy considerations and take into account a full range of factors including our international legal obligations including the Arms Trade Treaty. HM Government is satisfied that the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework for assessing all export licence applications. With regard to internal repression and the commission of violations of international humanitarian law, the key tests are Criterion 2a and Criterion 2c. These criteria have not substantially changed; indeed they have been made stronger by the addition of “facilitation” within their scope.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-12-15/93899Partner Assistance
13 December 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that no UK-origin arms are being used to abuse human rights in Ethiopia.Ms Lyn Brown MP, Labour, West HamWe are extremely concerned by reports of widespread human rights violations and abuses in Ethiopia committed by all sides to the conflict and I raised our concerns with Ethiopian State Minister Redwan on 18 November and the Ethiopian Minister of Justice, Gedion, on 6 December. All those responsible for human rights violations and abuses should be held to account. I encourage all parties to implement the joint investigation's recommendations and ensure that victims have access to support. Our Ambassador in Addis Ababa and I continue to raise human rights issues in our discussions with all parties to the conflict, and more broadly we have reminded all warring parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Our priority is to ensure that Ethiopians, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and political affiliation, receive life-saving aid and that humanitarian access to areas affected by conflict and insecurity is restored.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-12-13/91895International Law, Partner AssistanceEthiopia
7 December 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the level of need for international agreement on the limits on the development of AI weapons systems, including AI decision-making over the use of nuclear weapons.Jonathan Edwards, Independent, Carmarthen East DinefwrThe UK’s focus is on setting clear international norms for the safe and responsible development and use of AI, to ensure compliance with International Humanitarian Law through meaningful and context-appropriate levels of human control. We engage extensively with the international community and NGOs on this issue including through discussions at the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. More broadly, the UK is at the forefront of work internationally to champion strategic risk reduction, reduce the risk of nuclear conflict and enhance mutual trust and security. We will continue to promote and engage with international dialogue aimed at identifying and addressing strategic risks, including any risks that might arise from the incorporation of AI in strategic systems. In terms of UK strategic systems, we will ensure that human political control of nuclear weapons is maintained at all times.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-12-07/88688Technology
19 November 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the development of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems; and whether her Department will support a global ban on the development of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems at the meeting of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons on 2 December 2021.Alyn Smith, Scottish National party, StirlingThe UK - alongside many other states - is unconvinced of the utility of a global ban on the development of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems. Existing International Humanitarian Law provides a robust, principle-based framework ideally suited to the regulation of new technologies. The UK believes that efforts within the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons are better focused on the establishment of a set of positive obligations to ensure autonomy is used responsibly, ethically and in compliance with international law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-11-19/78502Technology
17 November 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that British manufacturers that make products for Israeli distributors are not being used to demolish homes in the occupied Palestinian territories.Neil Coyle, Labour, Bermondsey and Old SouthwarkFor items that are subject to an export licence, HM Government takes its strategic export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant a licence authorising the supply of controlled items anywhere in the world, if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used for internal repression. We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories closely, and we will take action to suspend, refuse or revoke licences – in line with the Consolidated Criteria – if circumstances require.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-11-17/76707Civilian ProtectionPalestine
9 November 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of whether arms and equipment provided by the UK to the Saudi and Emirati Governments may have been acquired by Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces; and if she will make a statement.Chi OnwurahThe UK takes its export control responsibilities and obligations extremely seriously. We assess all export licence applications in accordance with strict licensing criteria. These criteria include prohibitions under arms embargoes and an assessment on the risk of diversion. We work closely with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Sudan and, along with the US, issued a Sudan Quad statement on 3 November calling for the full and immediate restoration of Sudan's civilian-led transitional government following the military coup on 25 October.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-11-09/72419Civilian Protection, Partner AssistanceSudan
21 October 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the difference between the mechanisms the US use and the mechanisms his Department uses, to monitor and investigate instances of possible civilian harm from airstrikes with the US-led Coalition in Iraq and Syria.Lloyd Russel-Moyle, Brighton, KemptownThe UK follows robust procedures and uses all available evidence when conducting battle damage assessments. Parliament will always be informed of any instance where we assess a UK airstrike is responsible for a civilian casualty incident, whether incurred during a new strike, or as a result of re-examining historic strikes using new information. Specifically under Operation SHADER, the UK's contribution to the US-led Coalition, Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, the UK has conducted airstrikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The UK has accepted responsibility for one civilian casualty that occurred during an airstrike on Daesh fighters in eastern Syria on 26 March 2018. This incident was subject to a Written Ministerial Statement on 2 May 2018. However, we accept the possibility that there could be other instances of civilian casualties about which we are unaware, despite our best efforts to assess battle damage. For that reason, in 2016, the then Defence Secretary committed that MOD officials would work with civil society organisations on this issue. As a result, we always re-examine any new information relating to a potential incident submitted to us by such organisations, where it is possible that UK forces may have been involved.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-10-21/60497Civilian Protection, Partner AssistanceIraq & Syria
21 October 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the number of civilian casualties as a result of British airstrikes against ISIS as part of the US-led Coalition in Iraq and Syria.Lloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownThe UK follows robust procedures and uses all available evidence when conducting battle damage assessments. Parliament will always be informed of any instance where we assess a UK airstrike is responsible for a civilian casualty incident, whether incurred during a new strike, or as a result of re-examining historic strikes using new information. Specifically under Operation SHADER, the UK's contribution to the US-led Coalition, Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, the UK has conducted airstrikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The UK has accepted responsibility for one civilian casualty that occurred during an airstrike on Daesh fighters in eastern Syria on 26 March 2018. This incident was subject to a Written Ministerial Statement on 2 May 2018. However, we accept the possibility that there could be other instances of civilian casualties about which we are unaware, despite our best efforts to assess battle damage. For that reason, in 2016, the then Defence Secretary committed that MOD officials would work with civil society organisations on this issue. As a result, we always re-examine any new information relating to a potential incident submitted to us by such organisations, where it is possible that UK forces may have been involved.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-10-21/60494Protection of Civlians, Remote warfareIraq & Syria
21 October 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what accountability standards and reporting mechanisms for civilian harm the UK requires of Saudi Arabia for the exports of arms and military equipment; and what the evidence basis is for those requirements.Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour, BrightonLicence applications for the export of arms and military equipment are rigorously assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). A key test for licensing in these circumstances is Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria, which considers whether there is a clear risk that the items to be exported might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law. These assessments take into account all relevant sources of information, and the then Secretary of State for International Trade’s written statement of 7th July 2020 (HCWS339(opens in a new tab)) set out the methodology that is applied to credible incidents of concern in detail.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-10-21/60498Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
21 October 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of investigating, and reinvestigating where necessary, specific instances of possible civilian harm resulting from UK airstrikes as part of the US-led Coalition in Iraq and Syria flagged by monitoring organisations; and if he will publish the results of those investigations.Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour, BrightonThe UK follows robust procedures and uses all available evidence when conducting battle damage assessments. Parliament will always be informed of any instance where we assess a UK airstrike is responsible for a civilian casualty incident, whether incurred during a new strike, or as a result of re-examining historic strikes using new information. Specifically under Operation SHADER, the UK's contribution to the US-led Coalition, Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, the UK has conducted airstrikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The UK has accepted responsibility for one civilian casualty that occurred during an airstrike on Daesh fighters in eastern Syria on 26 March 2018. This incident was subject to a Written Ministerial Statement on 2 May 2018. However, we accept the possibility that there could be other instances of civilian casualties about which we are unaware, despite our best efforts to assess battle damage. For that reason, in 2016, the then Defence Secretary committed that MOD officials would work with civil society organisations on this issue. As a result, we always re-examine any new information relating to a potential incident submitted to us by such organisations, where it is possible that UK forces may have been involved.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-10-21/60496Protection of Civlians
21 October 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of using open source data and other information from monitoring organisations to support investigations into possible civilian harm incidences from UK airstrikes.Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour, BrightonThe UK follows robust procedures and uses all available evidence when conducting battle damage assessments. Parliament will always be informed of any instance where we assess a UK airstrike is responsible for a civilian casualty incident, whether incurred during a new strike, or as a result of re-examining historic strikes using new information. Specifically under Operation SHADER, the UK's contribution to the US-led Coalition, Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, the UK has conducted airstrikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The UK has accepted responsibility for one civilian casualty that occurred during an airstrike on Daesh fighters in eastern Syria on 26 March 2018. This incident was subject to a Written Ministerial Statement on 2 May 2018. However, we accept the possibility that there could be other instances of civilian casualties about which we are unaware, despite our best efforts to assess battle damage. For that reason, in 2016, the then Defence Secretary committed that MOD officials would work with civil society organisations on this issue. As a result, we always re-examine any new information relating to a potential incident submitted to us by such organisations, where it is possible that UK forces may have been involved.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-10-21/60495Protection of Civlians
15 October 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many civilians have been injured by British airstrikes against ISIS-K as part of the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria, including the number of (a) children and (b) identifying family groups.Kim Leadbeater, Labor, Batley and SpenThe UK has not conducted any airstrikes against ISIS-K under Operation HERRICK or Operation TORAL. Under Operation SHADER, the UK's contribution to the US-led Coalition, Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, the UK has conducted airstrikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The UK has accepted responsibility for one Civilian Casualty that occurred during an airstrike on Daesh fighters in eastern Syria on the 26th March 2018. This incident was subject to a Written Ministerial Statement on 2 May 2018.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-10-15/56690Protection of Civlians, Remote warfareIraq & Syria
15 October 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to help ensure that there is oversight and accountability of the UK's military partnerships and that key policies and processes governing those relationships involve Parliament.Fabian Hamilton, Labour, Leeds North EastMOD Ministers are committed to their accountability responsibilities to Parliament on key policies and processes regarding our relationships with our international partners. The Department makes regular announcements on defence activity to ensure Parliament is kept up to date and we also ratify legally binding instruments through Parliament to ensure proper oversight and accountability of these agreements. Parliament holds the Department to account through monthly Defence questions, regular Parliamentary Questions, requests for information through Ministerial Correspondence, Ministerial Statements and announcements, and Select Committee inquiries.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-10-15/56590Law domestic & International
22 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, entitled The cost of repression, published on 6 July 2021, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of that report that the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Joint Incident Assessment Team, beneficiaries of the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), have been accused of perpetrating illegal drone strikes against civilians in Yemen and conducting inadequate investigations into potential war crimes in Yemen; and if the Government will suspend GSF programmes pending an independent inquiry into their human rights implications.Mr Alistair Carmichael, Orkney and Shetland, LDAll training and assistance to both the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) - as well as any programmes funded by the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF) - are subject to an Overseas Security Justice and Assistance Assessment (OSJA). These OSJAs consider human rights concerns about the institution/unit that will receive the assistance, are refreshed on a yearly basis, and are endorsed by Ministers.

GSF funded assistance to the Royal Saudi Land Forces is intended to support Saudi Arabia's efforts to protect their national security while improving their compliance with international humanitarian law.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-16/50625deployments; IHL; IHL violations; war crimes; investigations into war crimes; principle of distinction; UK complicity
22 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the UK’s contribution to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) in fulfilling their stated objective to take all necessary measures to ensure rapid, dynamic and integrated effective protection of civilians under threat of physical violence in the provinces where the Mission is currently deployed; and if he will make a statement.Caroline Lucas, Brighton, Pavilion, Green PartyThe UK is deeply concerned about violence and instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), especially in the east. We are committed to promoting stability and supporting peacebuilding in DRC, both bilaterally and through the multilateral system. In 2020/21 we provided approximately £52 million and three military staff officers to support the UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO. Protecting communities in the DRC from violence is an immediate priority, which is why the UK, alongside other UN Security Council members, has ensured that it remains central to the mandate of MONUSCO. We also mandated MONUSCO to reinforce its troops in Beni, North Kivu during the Mission's last mandate renewal.

We are working with MONUSCO and international partners to support more effective operations against armed groups, in particular through reforms to the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB). Enhanced Quick Reaction Forces, an adequately manned HQ and enhanced in-theatre intelligence capabilities should allow the FIB to be more robust in tackling the continued threat of armed groups in North Kivu and Ituri. We expect tangible progress and results by the end of 2021. We continue to urge the DRC Government and the UN to work together to better protect civilians.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-14/49089deployments; UN peacekeeping mission
20 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the desertion rates among Mali’s (a) police and (b) military.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyDesertion rates amongst Mali's defence and security forces were high in late 2019, but subsequently appear to have improved. Given the role of the UK Armed Forces in Mali as part of the UN Mission, there we keep the security situation under regular review.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-14/49287deployments; UK troops in Mali
16 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, entitled The cost of repression, published on 6 July 2021, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of that report that the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Joint Incident Assessment Team, beneficiaries of the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), have been accused of perpetrating illegal drone strikes against civilians in Yemen and conducting inadequate investigations into potential war crimes in Yemen; and if the Government will suspend GSF programmes pending an independent inquiry into their human rights implications.Mr Alistair Carmichael, Orkney and Shetland, LDAll training and assistance to both the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) - as well as any programmes funded by the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF) - are subject to an Overseas Security Justice and Assistance Assessment (OSJA). These OSJAs consider human rights concerns about the institution/unit that will receive the assistance, are refreshed on a yearly basis, and are endorsed by Ministers.

GSF funded assistance to the Royal Saudi Land Forces is intended to support Saudi Arabia's efforts to protect their national security while improving their compliance with international humanitarian law.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-16/50625IHL violations; IHL; investigations into IHL violations; IHRL
16 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, entitled The cost of repression, published on 6 July 2021, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of that report that the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Joint Incident Assessment Team, beneficiaries of the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), have been accused of perpetrating illegal drone strikes against civilians in Yemen and conducting inadequate investigations into potential war crimes in Yemen; and if the Government will suspend GSF programmes pending an independent inquiry into their human rights implications.Mr Alistair Carmichael MP, Liberal Democrat, Orkney and ShetlandAll training and assistance to both the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) - as well as any programmes funded by the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF) - are subject to an Overseas Security Justice and Assistance Assessment (OSJA). These OSJAs consider human rights concerns about the institution/unit that will receive the assistance, are refreshed on a yearly basis, and are endorsed by Ministers. GSF funded assistance to the Royal Saudi Land Forces is intended to support Saudi Arabia's efforts to protect their national security while improving their compliance with international humanitarian law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-16/50625Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
15 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of recent reports that the Turkish army attacked a refugee camp in the Zaxo region of Northern Iraq on 30 August 2021 housing Yazidi refugees displaced during the ISIS genocide.John McDonnell, Lab, Hayes and HarlingtonWe are aware of reports of an explosion in a refugee camp in Zaxo in Northern Iraq on 30 August. Allegations of attacks against refugee camps are deeply concerning. We continue to reiterate the importance of dialogue and cooperation between Iraq and Turkey to combat terrorism, ensure regional security and protect civilians. We welcome discussions between Iraqi and Turkish Defence Ministers regarding Ankara's military operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a proscribed terrorist group, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The Foreign Secretary discussed the stability of Iraq and the KRI with the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, President Nechirvan Barzani, during his visit to London on the 15-17 September.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-15/49942Counter-terrorism; partner assistance.
14 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the UK’s contribution to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) in fulfilling their stated objective to take all necessary measures to ensure rapid, dynamic and integrated effective protection of civilians under threat of physical violence in the provinces where the Mission is currently deployed; and if he will make a statement.Caroline Lucas, Green Party, BrightonThe UK is deeply concerned about violence and instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), especially in the east. We are committed to promoting stability and supporting peacebuilding in DRC, both bilaterally and through the multilateral system. In 2020/21 we provided approximately £52 million and three military staff officers to support the UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO. Protecting communities in the DRC from violence is an immediate priority, which is why the UK, alongside other UN Security Council members, has ensured that it remains central to the mandate of MONUSCO. We also mandated MONUSCO to reinforce its troops in Beni, North Kivu during the Mission's last mandate renewal. We are working with MONUSCO and international partners to support more effective operations against armed groups, in particular through reforms to the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB). Enhanced Quick Reaction Forces, an adequately manned HQ and enhanced in-theatre intelligence capabilities should allow the FIB to be more robust in tackling the continued threat of armed groups in North Kivu and Ituri. We expect tangible progress and results by the end of 2021. We continue to urge the DRC Government and the UN to work together to better protect civilians.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-14/49089Assests and DeploymentsDemocratic Republic of Congo
13 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many members of Mali's security forces the UK has helped to train since 2013; and what the cost of that training has been.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyThe UK is committed to long-term peace and security in Mali and the wider region, including through training of Mali's security and defence forces. Our training is focussed on gender sensitisation, compliance of international humanitarian law, and protection of civilians. We also support the reduction in threats from serious and organised crime and corruption, including through capacity building of security forces. Following the military coups in August 2020 and May 2021 we temporarily suspended training of the security forces. We do not have easy access to figures from 2013. We did not have a UK diplomatic presence in Mali until 2015, with our conflict, stability and security programming starting shortly after. Since Financial Year 2018/19 we have trained around 150 security personnel at a cost of circa £850k.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-08/45277deployments; UK troops in Mali
13 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what military equipment, if any, was left behind during the recent evacuation of British forces from Afghanistan.Mr Mark Francois, Rayleigh and Wickford, ConservativeDuring Operation PITTING and the withdrawal of the UK military from Afghanistan spare capacity was used on flights to return as much equipment to the UK as possible. However, people were prioritised over equipment at all times to evacuate UK nationals and eligible persons under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP). Consequently, a small amount of equipment was left behind or gifted to partner nations.

All sensitive equipment and anything considered attractive to criminal and terrorist organisations was recovered during withdrawal.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-03/41725assets and deployments
13 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if his Department will make an estimate of the number of armed conflicts currently occurring across the international community.Dr Matthew Offord, Hendon, ConservativeThe FCDO monitors a range of armed conflicts around the world. We draw on a number of data sources to do this. Each of these sources has different definitions and thresholds of armed conflict.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-07/44306international law; threshold of armed conflict; use of force
10 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has received any representations on the reported use of internationally prohibited ammunition by the Israeli Defence Force in Beita.Louise Haigh, Sheffield, Heeley, LabourAccording to UN OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), since the beginning of May, seven Palestinians, including two children, have been killed around Beita as a result of live fire from Israeli Security Forces. On 5 August the British Consul General and Heads of Mission and representatives from a number of likeminded countries visited Beita.

In instances where there have been accusations of excessive use of force, we urge the Government of Israel to conduct swift and transparent investigations. We also continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children, and urge restraint in the use of live fire.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-21/37522use of force; IHL; IHL violations; principle of distinction
9 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how long his Department plans for the RAF to continue to be deployed in Afghanistan after military troops are withdrawn.

Jim Shannon, Strangford, DUPRAF assets have all now been withdrawn from Afghanistan.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-21/37470deployments; RAF
8 September 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to develop, and (2) to build support for, a regional counter-terrorism programme in Central Asia; from where they will seek to build support for any such programme; and what assessment they have made of their ability to build any such support in the absence of cooperation with the Taliban to counter international terrorist threats from (a) Al-Qaida, (b) ISIS, and (c) related splinter groups.Baroness D'Souza, Life peerWe must prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a haven for terrorism, including from Al-Qaida and ISIS, and an exporter of instability.

We will continue to convene partners both bilaterally and through the G7, the UN Security Council, and NATO and we expect that NATO will continue to have a role in fighting terrorism. We will work with our partners to use all levers at our disposal to disrupt terrorist groups' access to resources. This will include leading an international approach to prevent and deter Foreign Terrorist Fighters travelling to Afghanistan and effective implementation of counter-terrorism focused sanctions against terrorists in Afghanistan.

We will engage regional governments, in particular India and Pakistan, to work to prevent Afghanistan becoming a haven for terrorism. I visited Uzbekistan on 14 September, after visiting Uzbekistan and Tajikistan the week of 30 August for discussions on Afghanistan. The former Foreign Secretary also visited Islamabad to address the issue of terrorism and discussed it with the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers. We will build regional resilience to prevent any spread of instability/extremist and to counter radicalising narratives.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-08/hl2538Counter-terrorism; partner assistance; policy.
8 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many members of Mali's security forces the UK has helped to train since 2013; and what the cost of that training has been.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyThe UK is committed to long-term peace and security in Mali and the wider region, including through training of Mali's security and defence forces. Our training is focussed on gender sensitisation, compliance of international humanitarian law, and protection of civilians. We also support the reduction in threats from serious and organised crime and corruption, including through capacity building of security forces. Following the military coups in August 2020 and May 2021 we temporarily suspended training of the security forces. We do not have easy access to figures from 2013. We did not have a UK diplomatic presence in Mali until 2015, with our conflict, stability and security programming starting shortly after. Since Financial Year 2018/19 we have trained around 150 security personnel at a cost of circa £850k.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-08/45277UK troops in Mali; deployment; IHL
8 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the Government has taken to provide safe passage to the UK for Afghan special forces.John Healey, Wentworth and Dearne, LabourWe owe a debt of gratitude to those who put their lives at risk working alongside UK forces in Afghanistan, and believe that nobody's life should be put at risk because they supported the UK Government. For this reason, the ARAP scheme will remain open for those who worked with the UK in Afghanistan, including Afghan special forces, and we will facilitate relocation, from third countries if possible, for those eligible.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-03/41646deployments; special forces
8 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) political and (b) security situation in Mali.Ruth Jones, Newport West, LabourI [Minister Duddrdige] condemned the coup in May 2021, including the forced resignation and detention of government figures. In country and at the UN Security Council we continue to urge the transitional authorities to respect the conditions set by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). We have also called for progress on the Peace Process and a renewed commitment to tackling impunity for human rights abuses and violations. I [Minister Duddridge] welcomed the lifting of all restrictions on the former President and Prime Minister in August 2021, and called for the release of all others who remain detained without charge following events in May.

The UK is concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Mali, and condemns all attacks against civilians, and national, regional and international forces. Through our recent deployment to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and our programmatic support for stabilisation and conflict resolution, the UK is committed to building long-term peace and stability in the Sahel. We also use our humanitarian assistance to support those worst affected by conflict.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-21/37580deployments; UK tropps in Mali; UN peacekeeping missions
8 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 22 July 2021 to Question 35571, whether the state-sanctioned use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment will remain an act that could lead to the variation or suspension of a nation’s preferential treatment under her new Developing Countries Trading Scheme.

Emily Thornberry, Islington South and Finsbury, LabourDecisions on the Developing Countries Trading Scheme have not yet been taken, given the ongoing public consultation. When considering the conditions that could lead to varying or suspending preferences, HM Government will give due consideration to the views expressed through the consultation.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-22/38175torture; arms sales; arms licences; war crimes; IHL violations
7 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has been made of the effectiveness of Police Scotland's training programme in Sri Lanka in reducing instances of torture and human rights violations.Sam Tarry, Ilford South, LabourThe UK's police training programme has focused on developing community policing, supporting women in the Sri Lankan police service, and improving the response to sexual and gender-based violence. The UK's programme work in Sri Lanka is subject to regular and robust Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments that analyse the potential human rights, international humanitarian law, political and reputational risks of any proposed assistance to ensure that it supports our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations. The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) programme in Sri Lanka is also subject to an annual review, which can be found by visiting https://devtracker.fcdo.gov.uk/projects/GB-GOV-3-CSSF-09-000003/documentshttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-07/44476IHL; IHL violations; IHRL; deployments
7 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence set out in the Government’s 2017 Humanitarian Reform Policy are the guiding principles of his Department's humanitarian work.Preet Kaur Gill, Birmingham, Edgbaston, LabourThe Government's Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy sets out the UK's continued commitment to principled humanitarian action and championing International Humanitarian Law and humanitarian access. The UK will maintain its role as a force for good at times of crisis, focusing on those countries where the need is greatest, for example, those most affected by risk of famine, and responding rapidly to unanticipated events.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-07/44426IHL
7 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Afghan armed forces soldiers were evacuated from Afghanistan to the UK since the start of Operation Pitting on 13 August 2021.John Healey, Wentworth and Dearne, LabourThroughout the 14 days of Operation Pitting, over 100 RAF flights relocated many thousands of people to the UK, including Afghan nationals who were employed by Her Majesty's Government to work alongside UK forces in Afghanistan. These individuals and their families were eligible for relocation to the UK under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

Regrettably, we were not able to evacuate all those we wanted to. We owe a debt of gratitude to all Afghan armed forces soldiers who put their lives at risk working alongside UK forces in Afghanistan, and recognise the threat they may now face from the Taliban due to their ties to the UK. For this reason, the Home Office is working quickly to establish the details of the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme (ACRS). This scheme will provide protection for those identified as most at risk, such as women and girls. The Government has committed to take around 5,000 refugees in the first year and up to 20,000 over the coming years.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-03/41650deployments; RAF
6 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the estimated cost is of upgrading the A400M fleet with additional equipment to replace the C-130J Hercules in the special forces transport role.Mr Mark Francois, Rayleigh and Wickford, ConservativeIt is longstanding policy not to comment on Special Forces equipment and capabilities.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-08-18/40702deployments; special forces
6 September 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessments were logged with his Department by (a) the Ministry of Defence, (b) the Home Office and (c) other departments and agencies, in relation to overseas requests for case-specific assistance in (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17, (iii) 2017-18, (iv) 2018-19, (v) 2019-20 and (vi) 2020-21.Emily Thornberry MP, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyThe Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Guidance sets out which human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) risks must be considered prior to providing justice or security sector assistance. It specifies that an assessment must be made of the potential impact of any proposed assistance on those risks, as well as on reputational or political risk, prior to the provision of any assistance. The Guidance applies to both case specific assistance and broader, often longer term capacity building assistance. While the FCDO is responsible for updating and maintaining the Guidance, responsibility for completing and filing the assessment sits with the department or agency delivering the assistance. An estimate of the number of OSJAs completed each year is published in the Annual Human Rights Report.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-06/43450Policy Declaration, International Law
18 August 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on diplomatic steps to help ensure that (a) charity, (b) NGO and (c) humanitarian work can continue in Afghanistan following the Taliban offensive in August 2021.Sarah Owen, Luton North, LabourOne of the UK's immediate priorities is to work with international partners to ensure that life-saving humanitarian aid can reach those who need it most. The UN is seeking commitments from the Taliban to enable humanitarian work to continue. These must include respect for humanitarian principles, humanitarian access, international humanitarian law and guarantees for female aid workers.

The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights, humanitarian access, safe passage and preventing terror.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-08-18/41309IHL; international human rights law
28 July 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possibility of designating the destruction of cultural heritage as an early warning sign of atrocity crimes, in line with the requirements of the UN Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes; and what plans they have to support (1) the preservation of the cultural heritage, and (2) the protection of places of worship, of endangered (a) ethnic, and (b) religious, communities in (i) Iraq, and (ii) Syria.Lord Alton of LiverpoolThe UK remains active and committed in this field. The UK was a penholder on UN Security Council Resolution 2347, which treats protection of cultural heritage as an issue of key importance to international peace with implications for national security. In Iraq and Syria, UK support for cultural heritage protection has ranged from providing psycho-social support to Yazidi women trafficked by Daesh, to addressing illegal antiquities trafficking through the flagship Cultural Protection Fund. The UK government is considering further work in both Iraq and Syria through the next round of the Cultural Protection Fund.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-14/hl1989international law; war crimes; Iraq; Syria
28 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assistance his Department has provided to the Kurdish people to help tackle terrorist groups affecting those people.Jim Shannon, Strangford, DUPThe UK continues to support the Kurdish people at multiple levels to combat the Daesh threat in Iraq and Syria.

In Iraq, the Kurdish Peshmerga have played a leading role in the Global Coalition's successful campaign against Daesh. As a key partner, the UK has trained more than 9,100 Peshmerga fighters and supplied them with technical and military support to enhance their capacity and capability to tackle the threat from Daesh. Furthermore, the UK has gifted over 2,000 tonnes of lethal and non-lethal aid to Kurdish and Iraqi security forces (ammunition, body armour, first aid equipment etc) to support them in their fight against Daesh.

Whilst in Syria, the UK has consistently provided tactical support and funding through the Global Coalition to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces in their efforts to prevent the resurgence of Daesh in the region.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-20/36632assets and deployments
23 July 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to part 3.1 of the policy paper Global Britain in a Competitive Age, the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, published on 16 March, what "doctrinal threats" they believe would warrant a nuclear response.The Lord Bishop of St AlbansI can assure the Rt. Rev Prelate the Lord Bishop that the UK would consider using nuclear weapons only in the most extreme circumstances of self-defence, including the defence of our NATO Allies. While our resolve and capability to do so if necessary is beyond doubt, to avoid simplifying the calculations of potential adversaries, we will remain deliberately ambiguous about precisely when, how and at what scale we would contemplate the use of our nuclear weapons.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-12/hl1918IHL; self-defence
22 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the presence of Somali troops fighting alongside Eritrean forces in Tigray, Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement.

Neil Coyle, Bermondsey and Old Southwark, LabourWe have not received corroboration of reports of Somali troops being present in Tigray. The continued presence of Eritrean forces fuels insecurity. These forces must leave Ethiopia immediately. The UK has consistently urged for an end to the conflict in Tigray. There can be no military solution. We continue to urge all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-22/38277IHL; UK troops in Mali; deployments
22 July 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to his Department's Human Rights and Democracy report published on 8 July 2021, whether his Department conducted a review of 124 open torture cases in December 2020.
Tulip Siddiq, Hampstead and kilburn, LabourI can confirm that, as reported in our Human Rights and Democracy report for 2020, we reviewed a total of 124 open cases of torture and mistreatment in December 2020. This report is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/human-rights-and-democracy-report-2020(opens in a new tab).https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-19/35807torture; international human rights law; IHL violations
20 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the 2016 coup d'etat attempt on the level of Turkish support for (a) the Muslim Brotherhood and (b) other extremist Islamist groups.
Andrew Rosindell, Con, RomfordWe are aware that the Turkish government regards the Muslim Brotherhood as a political movement, not a terrorist organisation; and that Muslim Brotherhood figures have lived in Turkey, and associated media outlets have operated there, for many years. We continue to take concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood seriously. Turkey takes the fight against all forms of terrorism, including Daesh and ISIS, extremely seriously and we work in close cooperation on those issues bilaterally and in international fora such as the Counter Daesh coalition.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-20/36566Counter-terrorism; partner assistance; policy.
20 July 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the confiscation by Israeli forces of a prefabricated building which served as a clinic in the South Hebron Hills.Baroness Sheehan, LDThe UK regularly raises the issue of demolitions and forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes with the Government of Israel. The Foreign Secretary raised ongoing evictions, demolitions and settlement activity with the Israeli Authorities during his visit to the region on 26 May. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions and evictions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-20/hl2239IHL; violations of IHL; principle of distinction
20 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his planned timetable is for the A400M aircraft to replace the C-130J Hercules aircraft in the special forces transport role; and what estimate he has made of the cost of converting the A400M aircraft to undertake the role previously performed by the C-130J Hercules aircraft.Mr Mark Francois, Rayleigh and Wickford, ConservativeIt has been the longstanding position of successive Governments not to comment on the capabilities of the UK special forces, as to do so would put personnel and operations at risk.

Capability performance is assessed against the contribution it will make to counter the threats we face, now and into the future. The A400M, as the successor to the C-130J, is a highly capable modern aircraft, offering many advantages over the current C-130J capability, including a greater range and payload capacity.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-20/36550deployments; special forces
20 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what reviews his Department has conducted into torture and rendition since December 2019.Tulip Siddiq, Hampstead and kilburn, LabourThe UK unreservedly condemns the use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as well as rendition. We do not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone such practices for any purpose. The UK supports torture prevention initiatives globally and partners with the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Association for the Prevention of Torture to fund projects such as monitoring the first hours of detention and police custody in Brazil, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines and Rwanda. More information can be found in the FCDO's Human Rights & Democracy report for 2020: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999607/Human_Rights_and_Democracy_the_2020_Foreign__Commonwealth___Development_Office_report.pdfhttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-15/33997torture; war crimes; international human rights law; IHL violations
19 July 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports this month that the Israeli military blocked the UN from delivering aid to Palestinians whose homes had been demolished in the Jordan Valley.Baroness Janke, LDWe are aware of these reports. The UK regularly raises the issue of demolitions and forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes with the Government of Israel, most recently on 12 July. The Foreign Secretary raised ongoing evictions, demolitions and settlement activity with the Israeli Authorities during his visit to the region on 26 May. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and are clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, evictions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-19/hl2151IHL; violations of iHL
19 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports by Human Rights Watch that torture is being practised at a Saudi-run prison camp at Al-Ghaydah airport in Yemen.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyThe UK condemns all alleged human rights violations in Yemen and urges the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and uphold their responsibilities under relevant international law.

We regularly raise the importance of complying with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. The Foreign Secretary raised IHL with Saudi National Security Advisor al-Aiban during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 7 June.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-13/32522IHL; IHL violations; international human rights law; arms sales
19 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports by Human Rights Watch that torture is being practised at a Saudi-run prison camp at Al-Ghaydah airport in Yemen.

Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyThe UK condemns all alleged human rights violations in Yemen and urges the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and uphold their responsibilities under relevant international law.

We regularly raise the importance of complying with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. The Foreign Secretary raised IHL with Saudi National Security Advisor al-Aiban during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 7 June.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-13/32522torture; IHL; iHL violations; arms sales; arms licences; investigation into IHL violations; UK complicity
13 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports by Human Rights Watch that torture is being practised at a Saudi-run prison camp at Al-Ghaydah airport in Yemen.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyThe UK condemns all alleged human rights violations in Yemen and urges the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and uphold their responsibilities under relevant international law.

We regularly raise the importance of complying with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. The Foreign Secretary raised IHL with Saudi National Security Advisor al-Aiban during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 7 June.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-13/32522international human rights law; IHL; IHL violations; arms sales
13 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the value was of exports of arms and military equipment to (a) Iraq, (b) Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, (c) Libya, (d) Mali, (e) Myanmar, (f) Nicaragua, (g) Pakistan, (h) Russia, (i) Saudi Arabia, (j) Somalia, (k) South Sudan, (l) Sri Lanka, (m) Sudan, (n) Syria, (o) Turkmenistan, (p) Uzbekistan, (q) Venezuela, (r) Yemen and (s) Zimbabwe in 2020.Alyn Smith, Stirling, SNPSuch exports require an export licence, which are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”).

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The most recent publication was on 13th July 2021.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-08/29903arms sales; arms licences
12 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on the potential merits of deploying RAF coordinated airdrops of food and other essentials into the Tigray Region in Ethiopia.Mr Andrew Mitchell, Sutton Coldfield, ConservativeThe UK Government is deeply concerned about the grave humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and shares the concerns outlined in the report on 24 June by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Ensuring assistance gets to those who need it most remains our priority in Tigray. We continue to explore all options with partners to expand humanitarian access by both air and land including the possibility of air bridges into Tigray. At this point the FCDO assess that airdrops would not be a viable response to the current situation.

On 14 June I [Minister Duddridge] announced that the UK will allocate a further £16.7 million to the crisis in Tigray. This will support civil-military coordination to help aid get to those in need and address famine risk through the provision of healthcare, sanitation, and nutritional support. This allocation is on top of the existing £27 million in 2020-21 already directed to the response, and an additional £4 million allocated to support nutrition and vaccinations in Tigray. This brings UK total funding to support response to the crisis to £47.7 million. We continue to urge all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-12/31320deployments; IHL
12 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Saudi and Emirati led coalition on ensuring the protection of children during the conflict in Yemen.Wayne David, Caerphilly, LabourWe regularly raise the importance of complying with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. The Foreign Secretary raised IHL with Saudi National Security Advisor al-Aiban on 7 June. The UK is committed to ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers and protecting all children in armed conflict. We condemn in the strongest terms all grave violations and abuses committed against children in Yemen and urge all parties to the conflict to immediately cease all violations of applicable international law, respect human rights and exercise restraint. We continue to press all parties to engage constructively with UN-led peace efforts, which is the only way to end the cycle of violence.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-12/31323IHL; violatons of IHL; international human rights law; principle of distinction
12 July 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use by the government of Israel of semi-autonomous machine-gun robots to guard the border with Gaza.Baroness Sheehan, LDWe have not made an assessment of these reports. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation. All countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-28/hl1497IHL; violations of IHL; principle of distinction
12 July 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish a list of the 39 countries that were classified as "not free" by Freedom House to which the UK exported arms in the last 10 years.Lord Roberts of Llandudno, LDThe UK operates one of the most robust export licensing systems in the world. We publish quarterly and annual statistics on all our export licensing decisions, including details of export licences granted, refused and revoked. Data on licences issued since 2008, including end user destinations, are published as official statistics on GOV.UK.

Her Majesty's Government takes its strategic export control responsibilities very seriously. We will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, including respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-28/hl1493arms sales; arms licences; IHL
12 July 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 21 June (HL766), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, what assessment they have made of the proportionality of the government of Israel's recent military actions in Gaza.Baroness Janke, LDWe repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation. All countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We call on Israel to adhere to the principles of necessity and proportionality when defending its legitimate security interest.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-28/hl1471principle of proportionality; self-defence; IHL
12 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Consolidated Guidance to Service Personnel on overseas detention and reports by Human Rights Watch of torture being practised by Saudi forces at al-Ghaydah airport, what assessment he has made of the compliance with that guidance of the deployment of UK military personnel to Al-Ghaydah airport in Yemen.

Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyI am aware of speculation in the media regarding UK military personnel operating in Yemen. The UK is not a member of the Saudi-led Coalition. Since the conflict in Yemen began, the then Defence Attache accompanied the then Foreign Secretary on his trip to Aden in March 2019. In 2020 the UK attached a military officer to the office of the UN Special Envoy in an advisory capacity. This military officer has visited Yemen several times in this role. Overseas operational deployments of military personnel are notified to Parliament in line with the longstanding convention of successive Governments.

Separately, the UK Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone unlawful killing, the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“CIDT”), or extraordinary rendition.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-06/28336deployments; torture; IHL violations; war crime
12 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether UK military personnel have reported any concerns on torture or mistreatment at Al-Ghaydah airport in Yemen in the last 12 months.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyI am aware of speculation in the media regarding UK military personnel operating in Yemen. The UK is not a member of the Saudi-led Coalition. Since the conflict in Yemen began, the then Defence Attache accompanied the then Foreign Secretary on his trip to Aden in March 2019. In 2020 the UK attached a military officer to the office of the UN Special Envoy in an advisory capacity. This military officer has visited Yemen several times in this role. Overseas operational deployments of military personnel are notified to Parliament in line with the longstanding convention of successive Governments.

Separately, the UK Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone unlawful killing, the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“CIDT”), or extraordinary rendition.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-06/28334deployments; torture; IHL violations; war crime
12 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his policy is on updating the House on the deployment of British military personnel in Yemen.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyI am aware of speculation in the media regarding UK military personnel operating in Yemen. The UK is not a member of the Saudi-led Coalition. Since the conflict in Yemen began, the then Defence Attache accompanied the then Foreign Secretary on his trip to Aden in March 2019. In 2020 the UK attached a military officer to the office of the UN Special Envoy in an advisory capacity. This military officer has visited Yemen several times in this role. Overseas operational deployments of military personnel are notified to Parliament in line with the longstanding convention of successive Governments.

Separately, the UK Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone unlawful killing, the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“CIDT”), or extraordinary rendition.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-06/28333deployments; Yemen; torture
12 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many British military personnel have operated from Al-Ghaydah airport in Yemen in the last 12 months; what their role has been; and what regiment they serve in.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyI am aware of speculation in the media regarding UK military personnel operating in Yemen. The UK is not a member of the Saudi-led Coalition. Since the conflict in Yemen began, the then Defence Attache accompanied the then Foreign Secretary on his trip to Aden in March 2019. In 2020 the UK attached a military officer to the office of the UN Special Envoy in an advisory capacity. This military officer has visited Yemen several times in this role. Overseas operational deployments of military personnel are notified to Parliament in line with the longstanding convention of successive Governments.

Separately, the UK Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone unlawful killing, the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“CIDT”), or extraordinary rendition.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-06/28332deployments; Yemen; torture
9 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to ensure (a) an investigation into and (b) accountability for potential violations of international law in the context of Israel’s May 2021 military offensive on Gaza.Margaret Ferrier, Rutherglen and Hamilton West, IndependentIsrael has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that Israel ensures its actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and that it makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation, including raising concern about Israel's actions when warranted.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-09/30365IHL; self-defence; violations of IHL
7 July 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that British personnel working on (1) UN, (2) EU, and (3) African Union, (a) military, (b) humanitarian, and (c) hybrid missions, are supported in reporting (i) observations, and (ii) allegations, of human rights abuses, including the use of child labour; and what steps they take to ensure that any such reports are passed to the highest levels of the relevant international oversight bodies.Lord MoonieWe work bilaterally to raise specific cases of concern as appropriate and take regular action on the international stage, including through the Human Rights Council to press countries to improve their record on human rights. The UK Government also has an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) policy, which provides a rigorous assessment framework to assess whether UK engagement may directly or significantly contribute to a violation of human rights or international humanitarian law, prior to any justice or security sector assistance being provided.

In UN peacekeeping, training on human rights is central to preventing violations and abuses, and should remain an essential prerequisite by field missions and at UN Headquarters level. In this regard, the UK ensures British military and police personnel deployed to the UN receive training on all core UN modules, including identifying human rights violations and abuses, actions to take if human rights abuse and violations are observed, and their duties as peacekeepers to protect and promote the rights of children.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-23/hl1355deployments; UN peacekeeping missions; international human rights law; IHL; IHL violations; embedded personnel
5 July 2021What contribution [are] UK armed forces making to counter-Daesh operations in Syria and Iraq[?]Mr Marcus Fysh, Conservative, Yeovil; Royston Smith, Conservative, SouthamptonOur armed forces continue to provide support to the Iraqi Government in tackling the threat posed by Daesh. The RAF has flown more than 8,700 sorties and released more than 4,300 precision weapons to target Daesh in Iraq and Syria. On the ground, we have trained in excess of 120,000 Iraqi and Kurdish personnel in everything from engineering to countering improvised explosive devices. We remain wholly committed to the coalition and supporting our ally Iraq in countering Daesh.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-07-05/debates/67346738-849E-429E-8A2D-DC39742F0F33/Counter-DaeshOperationsSyriaAndIraq?highlight=operation%20shader#contribution-796F8EE6-2595-4C41-9355-A017CF9D2CEFassets and deployments; UK Troops in Iraq; UK Troops in Syria; RAF
5 July 2021What conclusions have our Ministers and strategists drawn from our use of military force from outside the borders of states such as Syria and Iraq that might help to prevent the re-emergence of Afghanistan as a base and a launchpad for international terrorism campaigns like those of Daesh and al-Qaeda following the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan?Dr Julian Lewis, Conservative, New Forest EastMy right hon. Friend knows from our previous exchanges on this matter that we have absolutely reserved the right to counter terrorist threats to the United Kingdom that may re-emerge in Afghanistan. He is absolutely right to point us towards an outside-in model such as that prosecuted from Cyprus in support of Operation Shader. That is very much in the thoughts of those who are planning for that eventuality in Afghanistanhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-07-05/debates/67346738-849E-429E-8A2D-DC39742F0F33/Counter-DaeshOperationsSyriaAndIraq?highlight=operation%20shader#contribution-796F8EE6-2595-4C41-9355-A017CF9D2CEFOperation Shader; assets and deployments; UK troops in Afghanistan
2 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will call on the Government of Israel to investigate the firing of two missiles at a two-storey home in Gaza City’s Al-Manara neighbourhood on 11 May 2021.Andy Slaughter, Labour, HammersmithIsrael has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-23/21166violations of IHL; Self-defence; IHL; principle of distinction; UK definition of 'self-defence'
2 July 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will call on the Government of Israel to investigate the firing of two missiles at a two-storey home in Gaza City’s Al-Manara neighbourhood on 11 May 2021.Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith, LabourIsrael has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-23/21166IHL violations; IHL; definition of self-defence; principle of distinction; principle of proportionality
28 June 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the (a) African Union and (b) United Nations on humanitarian access, food insecurity and allegations of serious human rights abuses and atrocities in EthiopiaFeryal Clark, Labour, Enfield NorthI have discussed the situation in Tigray with the African Union's Peace and Security Commissioner Bankole on several occasions. I also expressed my concerns about Tigray to the speaker of the Ethiopian House of Peoples Representatives when we met in Zambia last week. We are supporting the African Union Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights Inquiry into Tigray and are calling on the Government of Ethiopia to allow the Inquiry's access to the Tigray region.

The UK has made clear at the UN Security Council our concerns over the continued lack of progress with humanitarian access, and ongoing human rights abuses and violations. We are seeking a full discussion of Tigray at the Security Council. We are supporting a joint investigation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into human rights violations and abuses in Tigray to ensure the investigation is independent, transparent and impartial. The UK is also working with partners to raise the situation in Tigray at the Human Rights Council. The Government of Ethiopia has announced a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray. We welcome this and continue to call for all parties to respect international humanitarian law and prevent their forces from doing anything to hinder the critical work of the UN and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-28/23380IHL; violations of IHL
24 June 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on child safety of the UN Secretary-General’s exclusion of (a) the Saudi and Emirati-led Coalition and (b) the Israeli security forces in his annual list of perpetrators of grave violations against children.Caroline Lucas, Green, Brighton, PavilionThe UK continues to call on the UN Secretary General for greater transparency on listing decisions. The UK condemns in the strongest terms all grave violations and abuses committed against children in Yemen, and we urge the parties to the conflict to uphold their human rights obligations under applicable international law. While Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We are gravely concerned by UN reports that medical installations, schools, and houses in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged. The UK is providing £3.2 million of new UK aid to the UN agency for Palestine refugees.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-24/21868self-defence; IHL; violations of IHL; Israel; Palestine
23 June 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that British personnel working on (1) UN, (2) EU, and (3) African Union, (a) military, (b) humanitarian, and (c) hybrid missions, are supported in reporting (i) observations, and (ii) allegations, of human rights abuses, including the use of child labour; and what steps they take to ensure that any such reports are passed to the highest levels of the relevant international oversight bodies.Lord MoonieWe work bilaterally to raise specific cases of concern as appropriate and take regular action on the international stage, including through the Human Rights Council to press countries to improve their record on human rights. The UK Government also has an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) policy, which provides a rigorous assessment framework to assess whether UK engagement may directly or significantly contribute to a violation of human rights or international humanitarian law, prior to any justice or security sector assistance being provided.

In UN peacekeeping, training on human rights is central to preventing violations and abuses, and should remain an essential prerequisite by field missions and at UN Headquarters level. In this regard, the UK ensures British military and police personnel deployed to the UN receive training on all core UN modules, including identifying human rights violations and abuses, actions to take if human rights abuse and violations are observed, and their duties as peacekeepers to protect and promote the rights of children.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-23/hl1355assets and deployments; UK forces abroad; international law; violations of international law; violations of international humanitarian law; IHL
21 June 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the proportionality of the government of Israel's recent military actions in Gaza.Baroness JankeThe UK welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life. All countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-07/hl766Self-defence; IHL; violations of IHL; Israel; Palestine; principle of proportionality
16 June 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which Minister in his Department is responsible for the implementation of the UK Government’s Protection of Civilians policy.Alyn Smith, SNP, StirlingWithin the Ministry of Defence, the Protection of Civilians policy is the responsibility of the Minister for the Armed Forces. This forms an important part of the Department's Human Security policy.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-16/16958Protection of civilians
14 June 2021The British Government must assess, in line with all our obligations, the use of exported arms and equipment in the recent conflict. We need a report to Parliament setting out whether any licences for exports could be used to commit acts of internal repression, external aggression or violations of international law.Wayne David, Caerphilly, LabourThe Government take their export control responsibilities very seriously, and operate one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We consider all export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework. We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard. We continue to urge all parties to work together to reduce the tensions in the west bank, including East Jerusalem, so that, hopefully, we will not see images as we saw during May.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-06-14/debates/1DA741DA-7D79-4FB1-A769-6B81320154BC/IsraelAndPalestine?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-647E8835-B4AD-4B2B-8EC4-E0E6D80277C0arms sales; arms licences; IHL; IHL violations
14 June 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to Exercise Falcon Strike 2021, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on joint training with the Israeli air force of that air force's recent bombing of the Associated Press office in Gaza.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyEx Falcon Strike is a joint multinational exercise with participants from the United States working with Italy, Israel and the United Kingdom. Cooperation of this kind helps significantly to prepare our armed forces to tackle threats to the UK.

The UK military does not engage with the Israeli Defence Force in matters relating to public order and internal security activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The UK is a staunch defender of media freedom and proponent that journalists must be able to operate safely. We are concerned by reports that Hamas is again using civilian infrastructure and populations as cover for its military operations. All Israeli military action taken must be necessary, proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-08/12308IHL violations; IHL; deployment; UK complicity
14 June 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the joint communication issued by nine UN Special Rapporteurs on the recent hostilities in Gaza which found that potential war crimes had been committed in that conflict, what steps he is taking to ensure accountability for violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.Tommy Sheppard, Edinburgh East, SNPThe UK is a steadfast supporter of international justice and does not hold back from voicing or raising concern about Israel's actions when warranted. However, Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-08/12189war crimes; IHL
11 June 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to support the armed forces of (a) Mali, (b) Chad, (c) Mauritania, (d) Niger and (e) Burkina Faso in preventing attacks by militants.Mark Pritchard, The Wrekin, ConservativeThe UK provides a range of support for partner forces in the Sahel, focused on increasing their capacity and resilience, and preventing conflict, violent extremism and instability across the region.

In Mali, we have provided assistance through the funding of a small number of professional development courses for Malian personnel. However, following the coup in June 2021, we have adjusted this limited support to focus on broader stabilisation programmes such as reducing community-level violence, improving the conditions for political settlement, enhancing the understanding of International Humanitarian Law and improving the effectiveness of stabilisation efforts.

In Chad, the UK’s capacity building programme is delivered through the Multi National Joint Task Force, supporting operations against violent extremists in the Lake Chad Basin. The programme is primarily designed to tackle the threat from Improved Explosive Devices, but also provides training on operational planning and strategic communications.

The UK is not currently providing assistance to the Mauritanian armed forces, but has previously worked with them on maritime security, specifically improving their capability to protect their Exclusive Economic Zone.

In Niger and Burkina Faso, we have supported places on a small number of professional development courses. We have also helped the regional counter terrorism force, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, to improve its strategic communications capacity as a way of building trust with local populations.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-07/11513UK troops in Mali; deployment; IHL
8 June 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the joint communication issued by nine UN Special Rapporteurs on the recent hostilities in Gaza which found that potential war crimes had been committed in that conflict, what steps he is taking to ensure accountability for violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.Tommy Sheppard, SNP, Edinburgh EastThe UK is a steadfast supporter of international justice and does not hold back from voicing or raising concern about Israel's actions when warranted. However, Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-08/12189self-defence; IHL; violations of IHL
8 June 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to Exercise Falcon Strike 2021, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on joint training with the Israeli air force of that air force's recent bombing of the Associated Press office in Gaza.Kenny MacAskill, Alba Party, East LothianEx Falcon Strike is a joint multinational exercise with participants from the United States working with Italy, Israel and the United Kingdom. Cooperation of this kind helps significantly to prepare our armed forces to tackle threats to the UK.

The UK military does not engage with the Israeli Defence Force in matters relating to public order and internal security activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The UK is a staunch defender of media freedom and proponent that journalists must be able to operate safely. We are concerned by reports that Hamas is again using civilian infrastructure and populations as cover for its military operations. All Israeli military action taken must be necessary, proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-08/12308principle of distinction; self-defence; violations of IHL; assets and deployment; IHL
7 June 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to support the armed forces of (a) Mali, (b) Chad, (c) Mauritania, (d) Niger and (e) Burkina Faso in preventing attacks by militants.Mark Pritchard, Conservative, The WrekinThe UK provides a range of support for partner forces in the Sahel, focused on increasing their capacity and resilience, and preventing conflict, violent extremism and instability across the region.

In Mali, we have provided assistance through the funding of a small number of professional development courses for Malian personnel. However, following the coup in June 2021, we have adjusted this limited support to focus on broader stabilisation programmes such as reducing community-level violence, improving the conditions for political settlement, enhancing the understanding of International Humanitarian Law and improving the effectiveness of stabilisation efforts.

In Chad, the UK’s capacity building programme is delivered through the Multi National Joint Task Force, supporting operations against violent extremists in the Lake Chad Basin. The programme is primarily designed to tackle the threat from Improved Explosive Devices, but also provides training on operational planning and strategic communications.

The UK is not currently providing assistance to the Mauritanian armed forces, but has previously worked with them on maritime security, specifically improving their capability to protect their Exclusive Economic Zone.

In Niger and Burkina Faso, we have supported places on a small number of professional development courses. We have also helped the regional counter terrorism force, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, to improve its strategic communications capacity as a way of building trust with local populations.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-06-07/11513assets and deployment; personnel embedded with partners; UK troops in Mali; UN peacekeeping
7 June 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what countries UK Reaper drones have launched strikes in, without parliamentary approval, since 2015.Lord Coaker, LabourOn 21 August 2015 an RAF Reaper RPAS precision airstrike was conducted in Syria and Parliament were notified of this operation on 7 September 2015 by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron. This strike preceded the Parliamentary vote of 2 December 2015 which saw Parliament support a motion to extend the UK's support to the global-coalition's counter-Daesh operations into Syria. We will continue to ensure that Parliament is kept informed of significant major operations and deployments of the Armed Forces

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-24/hl473deployments; RAF; drones
2 June 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to make a statement that the Palestinians under occupation are entitled to security and self-defence.Baroness Sheehan, LDThe recent violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories demonstrates the urgent need to make progress towards peace. The UK worked actively to urge the parties to work with mediators towards an immediate ceasefire. We also fully supported Egyptian, Qatari and UN efforts to that end, working closely with the US. The UK welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life.

We agree with President Biden's recent remarks that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy. Our long-standing objective is a negotiated two-state solution which will allow Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace, lessening the likelihood of politically driven violence and incitement to violence. We continue to believe that the best way to advance a two state solution is through dialogue. We therefore urge all sides to show maximum restraint and refrain from taking actions which endanger civilians and make peace more difficult.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-17/hl311self-defence; IHL
2 June 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the importance of accountability for war crimes.Baroness Janke, LDThe UK is committed to the principle that there should be no impunity for those who perpetrate the most serious crimes of international concern, including war crimes. This commitment underpins our support for international criminal justice and accountability as a global Force for Good.

The UK has always been, and remains, a strong supporter of an effective International Criminal Court (ICC), alongside other international tribunals. In addition, we provide political, financial and practical support for accountability mechanisms such as the Independent Impartial Investigative Mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Syria since March 2011. We also provide support to the United Nations Investigative Team to promote accountability for crimes committed by Da'esh.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-18/hl354war crimes; IHL; international law
27 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether British arms exported to Israel were used in recent air strikes on Gaza.Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and AbingdonHM Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We consider all export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-27/900776Partner Assistance
27 May 2021While we ask the Minister to speed up the route to justice for perpetrators of genocide, may I seek an assurance that effort will also be given to finding ways to intervene and stop genocide while it is actually taking place, and so save and protect precious lives?The Lord Bishop of BlackburnI assure all noble Lords that we work quite systematically on this important agenda, from early warning mechanisms to diplomatic engagement and development programme support, as well as defence: we use all those to strengthen the international system. They are all part of our approach to ensure that it is not just waiting; it is about acting early and quickly. As set out in our integrated review, we are committed to a more integrated approach to our work on conflict and instability, placing greater emphasis on addressing the underlying causes and strengthening the resilience, particularly of fragile countries, to external influence.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-27/debates/7537BE2B-5FD4-44BB-A59B-2130A42F5F96/GenocideBringingPerpetratorsToJustice?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7549B1AB-5452-476C-9FC4-1A50897CCCE4
27 May 2021I commend the Government on its proactive work on UN Resolution 2379, establishing an investigative body on Daesh’s atrocities in Iraq, and for the good work that has been done collecting and preserving evidence for future prosecutions. However, similar steps need to be taken in the case of the atrocities in Xinjiang; I urge Her Majesty’s Government to create a mechanism that will collect and preserve the evidence of the atrocities against the Uighurs for future prosecutions. I acknowledge that while China has the P5 veto, the Security Council may not be the right vehicle for such a mechanism, but I urge my noble friend the Minister to examine the proposals put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Alton.

If we want to ensure that justice is done in future, we must ensure that evidence is not destroyed and witnesses are not pressurised into silence. However, we must be consistent. After the atrocities of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994, the perpetrators, including high-level government officials and other key figures, fled to Europe and North America. Some returned home to Rwanda to be tried. Others were extradited back to Rwanda or prosecuted in domestic courts of the country of their residence under the principle of universal jurisdiction—but, sadly and embarrassingly, not here in the UK.

Since 2006, efforts to extradite the five known Rwandan suspects alleged to have been involved in the genocide against the Tutsi have failed, as have efforts to try them here in the UK. The newly constituted All-Party Parliamentary Group on War Crimes is campaigning hard to urge Her Majesty’s Government to do the right thing. Five suspects accused of heinous crimes against humanity are living peacefully on our shores. I ask my noble friend the Minister: what is the point of campaigning for justice abroad if we fail to deliver justice at home?

Lord Polak, ConservativeI also accept the premise rightly raised by many noble Lords, including my noble friend Lord Polak, on Rwanda and those who seek to be or are currently in the UK. While that case is under way, it would be remiss of me to comment too deeply, but I assure my noble friend that this was the direct purpose of a conversation that I had with President Kagame while I was in Rwanda, to give him the assurance that he needed of our commitment to ensuring that all perpetrators are held to account.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-27/debates/7537BE2B-5FD4-44BB-A59B-2130A42F5F96/GenocideBringingPerpetratorsToJustice?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7549B1AB-5452-476C-9FC4-1A50897CCCE4
27 May 2021My Lords, I personally went through two traumatising experiences of genocide in the 1990s when I was Britain’s representative on the UN Security Council: Rwanda in 1994 and Srebrenica in 1995. That is why I strongly support and welcome my noble friend Lord Alton’s debate today. If proof was needed that the lack of any enforcement provisions in the 1948 convention against genocide left a wide-open door to that most reprehensible of crimes, that was it.

Since then, attempts have been made to remedy that lacuna, with the establishment of regional courts and then the International Criminal Court, and with the endorsement by the 2005 UN summit of the emerging norm of the responsibility to protect. But, as the evidence before us of genocide committed against Iraq’s Yazidis and Myanmar’s Rohingya, and of the threats to the Uighurs of Xinjiang and the Tigrayans of Ethiopia, demonstrates, these attempts have fallen short of what is needed. So, what should be done to bring perpetrators of genocide to justice and thus strengthen the deterrent effect which the 1948 convention was intended to have?
Lord Hannay of Chiswickhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-27/debates/7537BE2B-5FD4-44BB-A59B-2130A42F5F96/GenocideBringingPerpetratorsToJustice?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7549B1AB-5452-476C-9FC4-1A50897CCCE4
27 May 2021Three images come to my mind when I think of bringing perpetrators to justice. The rows of senior Nazis at Nuremberg is the first; the other two feature Radovan Karadzic. One is of him smiling with Ratko Mladić—the butcher of Srebrenica, to which the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, referred—both of them assuming that they would never be brought to justice. The third image is again of Karadzic, this time at The Hague as the judgment was delivered. There was no smile then. But Xi Jinping must be smiling today because, while we debate, the Uighurs die. While we agonise over their genocide, they suffer the agony of despair. Time is of the essence, but will we act before it is too late?Lord Shinkwin, ConservativeRegarding situations elsewhere in the world and bringing perpetrators to account, my noble friend Lord Shinkwin rightly raised issues of justice and time. But we should be heartened that in 2016, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found Radovan Karadzic guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws or customs of war, committed during the conflict in and around Bosnia and Herzegovina. This conviction brought accountability for some of the horrors of the Yugoslav wars and, following a request to the UK from the successor body to the tribunal, Radovan Karadzic will be transferred to a prison in the UK to serve his sentence. I hope that this underlines that no matter when such a crime takes place, we will continue to pursue international criminals, uphold the rule of law and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-27/debates/7537BE2B-5FD4-44BB-A59B-2130A42F5F96/GenocideBringingPerpetratorsToJustice?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7549B1AB-5452-476C-9FC4-1A50897CCCE4
27 May 2021My question to the Government, borne out of the frustration of the ineffectiveness of the UN in this regard, is that, since the Security Council is incapable of consensus on these matters, will they work with like-minded countries such as those in the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, to establish a risk register to monitor the slow burn of genocide so that human rights violations in a given country that point in the direction of genocide can be monitored? The international community can then use responsibility to protect and other measures in coalitions of the willing to take the necessary actions that they may need to before the act occurs.Baroness Falkner of MargravineThe issue of preventing atrocities was raised by the right reverend Prelate, my noble friend Lord Shinkwin and the noble Baroness, Lady Falkner. I assure all noble Lords that we work quite systematically on this important agenda, from early warning mechanisms to diplomatic engagement and development programme support, as well as defence: we use all those to strengthen the international system. They are all part of our approach to ensure that it is not just waiting; it is about acting early and quickly. As set out in our integrated review, we are committed to a more integrated approach to our work on conflict and instability, placing greater emphasis on addressing the underlying causes and strengthening the resilience, particularly of fragile countries, to external influence.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-27/debates/7537BE2B-5FD4-44BB-A59B-2130A42F5F96/GenocideBringingPerpetratorsToJustice?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7549B1AB-5452-476C-9FC4-1A50897CCCE4
27 May 2021My Lords, the Minister can be in no doubt of the feeling of Members of your Lordships’ House about the question of genocide. My noble friend—I do call him a friend—the noble Lord, Lord Alton, has on so many occasions raised the issue of genocide. Many of these issues that we have talked about this evening have been rehearsed again and again. The Government in the integrated review and in the gracious Speech stressed that they want to play an important role in the world and be a beacon of democracy and human rights. To do that, we need also to be able to take a stand on genocide, upholding our own commitments under the genocide convention of 1948, and finding a way to hold regimes to account when there are cases of genocide.

On so many occasions, as the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, and others pointed out, the Government have claimed that decisions need to be made by a court, and yet the nature of the UN Security Council and the vetoes of the P5 countries, when we know that China and Russia and the US under Donald Trump would not accept any moves on genocide, mean that we need to look again. Can the Minister tell us whether there has been any thought in the Government about taking up the French idea of the veto not being used in cases of genocide? Can the Minister tell us when we are likely to see the joint parliamentary committee, so that Parliament can begin to take a stand on genocide and hold the Government to account in their decisions and actions in this area as well?
Baroness Smith of Newnham, LDThe noble Baronesses, Lady Smith and Lady Goudie, my noble friend Lord Forsyth, and the noble Lord, Lord Alton, rightly raised the progress being made to create the promised mechanism of a parliamentary committee to examine allegations of genocide. The provisions relating to trade agreements and genocide within the Trade Act will commence from 30 June 2021. The relevant commencement order has now been made. I will write to noble Lords, in the interest of time, on what the processes will be thereafter.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-27/debates/7537BE2B-5FD4-44BB-A59B-2130A42F5F96/GenocideBringingPerpetratorsToJustice?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7549B1AB-5452-476C-9FC4-1A50897CCCE4
27 May 2021My Lords, I very much welcome the continued focus on issues of genocide from the noble Lord, Lord Alton. Sadly, however, there is too often a gap between what Ministers say and what they do. Despite the Gambia putting forward a case to the International Court of Justice, as my noble friend Lady Nye highlighted, in which Myanmar stands accused of genocide, the UK has so far been unprepared to support the case. Why?Lord Collins of Highbury, LabourThe noble Baroness, Lady Nye, the noble Lord, Lord Collins, and others, raised the action of the Gambia at the ICJ. We are supportive of that. There are various dates, including the right of Myanmar to respond to the initial report. I assure noble Lords that we continue to consider where we would consider, at the appropriate time, the formal support of a UK intervention in this respect.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-27/debates/7537BE2B-5FD4-44BB-A59B-2130A42F5F96/GenocideBringingPerpetratorsToJustice?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7549B1AB-5452-476C-9FC4-1A50897CCCE4
26 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the UK's policy on Israel's right to self-defence.Andrew Rosindell, Romford, ConservativeThe Foreign Secretary delivered a message of de-escalation in his calls to Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 11 and 16 May, and with Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh on 12 May. I spoke to the Israeli Ambassador, and to the Palestinian Head of Mission in London on 19 May, to urge them to de-escalate and restore calm. The UK is clear that Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The UK welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-18/2906definition of self-defence; international law; IHL; violations of IHL; distinction of proportionality
26 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the UK's policy on Israel's right to self-defence.

Andrew Rosindell, Romford, ConservativeThe Foreign Secretary delivered a message of de-escalation in his calls to Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 11 and 16 May, and with Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh on 12 May. I spoke to the Israeli Ambassador, and to the Palestinian Head of Mission in London on 19 May, to urge them to de-escalate and restore calm. The UK is clear that Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The UK welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-18/2906self-defence; IHL
24 May 2021I welcome recent reports that the RAF contributed to an important 10-day operation in April, clearing Daesh terrorists from the Makhmur mountain region, which is a Daesh stronghold in northern Iraq. With approximately 10,000 Daesh terrorists still at large across Syria, will my right hon. Friend confirm that the UK remains committed to Operation Shader?Aaron Bell, Conservative, Newcastle-under-LymeThe Government are committed to Operation Shader and will continue to be so. The threat of ISIS has not gone away. Indeed, throughout her deployment, the carrier will also potentially take part in operations to support it. It is very important that we continue to degrade ISIS capability, because of its destabilising effect in Iraq and the threat it poses directly to ushttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-05-24/debates/34FEBE2C-E7F2-4D79-B248-398AC2200050/TopicalQuestions?highlight=operation%20shader#contribution-488106BA-FB6C-49E5-B4D1-061A540B1EA0RAF; Operation Shader; assets and deployment
19 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the similarities between (a) active export licences for Israel and (b) the twelve licences that the Department for Business identified as being for components which could be part of equipment used by the Israel Defence Forces in Gaza on 12 August 2014.Kenny MacAskill, Allba Party, East LothianOn 12th August 2014, HM Government said it was concerned that, in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities, it would not be able to clarify if the export licence criteria were being met and, accordingly, would suspend the twelve licences identified.Today, HM Government is satisfied that we are able to assess extant licences and new applications against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘the Consolidated Criteria’).We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories closely and keep relevant licences under review. We will take action to suspend, refuse or revoke licences – in line with the Consolidated Criteria – if circumstances require. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-19/4043Partner AssistanceIsrael; Gaza
19 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of deaths of (a) children, (b) non-combatant adults and (c) combatant adults in Gaza following military action by Israel beginning on 11 May 2021.Ms Lyn Brown, West Ham, LabourThe ongoing violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning. Civilian deaths, both in Israel and Gaza are a tragedy. As the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have made clear, this cycle of violence must stop, and every effort must be made to avoid loss of life, especially that of children.

The UK condemns the firing of rockets at civilian populations and we urge all parties to de-escalate immediately. Any attacks targeted against civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable. All countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-12/656IHL; violations of iHL; principle of distinction
19 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the remarks of Sri Lanka's Minister of Community Police Services, Dilum Amunugama, on Sri Lanka's president acting like Adolf Hitler on 12 April 2021, what assessment he has made of the appropriateness of the UK providing Sri Lanka with community policing training.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyAll UK police assistance in Sri Lanka is subject to robust Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments that analyse the potential human rights, international humanitarian law, political and reputational risks of any proposed assistance to ensure that it supports our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations.

The UK's current police training in Sri Lanka is focused on prevention and investigation of Sexual and Gender Based Violence, and promoting gender equality and women's representation in the Sri Lankan police service. Due to Covid-19, many of the training activities have been paused, with the exception of work at the local level to support victims of sexual and gender-based violence and domestic violence.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-11/460deployments and assets; IHL; IHRL
18 May 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possibility of independent (1) reporting, and (2) monitoring, of human rights during the current conflict in Israel and Palestine.Baroness Janke, Liberal DemocratWe have not made this assessment. However, the UK continues to engage with the Israeli government on human rights issues in the context of the occupation. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The situation on the ground demonstrates the urgent need to make progress towards peace. We will continue to support human rights scrutiny in Israel and the OPTs, and support Palestinian self-determination.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-18/hl355self-defence; IHL; violations of IHL; investigation into IHL violations
18 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the UK's policy on Israel's right to self-defence.Andrew Rosindell, Conservative, RomfordThe Foreign Secretary delivered a message of de-escalation in his calls to Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 11 and 16 May, and with Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh on 12 May. I spoke to the Israeli Ambassador, and to the Palestinian Head of Mission in London on 19 May, to urge them to de-escalate and restore calm. The UK is clear that Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The UK welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-18/2906UK's definition of self-defence; self-defence; IHL; principle of proportionality
17 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of British nationals associated with ISIS detained in north-east Syria in areas under the control of the Kurdish authorities; and how many of those British nationals are children.Tulip Siddiq, Labour, Hampstead and Kilburn.We will continue to convene partners both bilaterally and through the G7, the UN Security Council, and NATO and we expect that NATO will continue to have a role in fighting terrorism. We will work with our partners to use all levers at our disposal to disrupt terrorist groups' access to resources. This will include leading an international approach to prevent and deter Foreign Terrorist Fighters travelling to Afghanistan and effective implementation of counter-terrorism focused sanctions against terrorists in Afghanistan.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-17/2385Counter-terrorism; partner assistance; policy.
17 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what risk assessment measures are used in the Government's ongoing monitoring of arms exports to Israel.Claire Hanna, Social Democratic and Labour Party, Belfast SouthHM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: GOV.UK(opens in a new tab) and the most recent publication was on 13th April 2021, covering the period 1st October – 31st December 2020. Information covering 1st January – 31st March 2021 will be published on 13th July 2021.HM Government continues to monitor closely the situation in Israel. We have procedures in place to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. HM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-17/2479Partner AssistanceIsrael
17 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what arms have been exported from the UK to Israel in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021 to date.Claire Hanna, Social Democratic and Labour Party, Belfast SouthHM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: GOV.UK(opens in a new tab) and the most recent publication was on 13th April 2021, covering the period 1st October – 31st December 2020. Information covering 1st January – 31st March 2021 will be published on 13th July 2021.HM Government continues to monitor closely the situation in Israel. We have procedures in place to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. HM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-17/2478Partner AssistanceIsrael
17 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether Israeli F-35 aircrafts, of which each plane includes a 15 per cent UK work share, are being used in the air strikes on Gaza; and what steps he has taken to determine whether planes being used in the air strikes in Gaza include UK components.Layla Moran, Oxford West and Abingdon, LDThe ongoing violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning and must stop. We urge all parties to de-escalate. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.

All UK arms export licences are assessed thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and we keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-11/426IHL; principle of proportionality; principle of distinction; IHL violations; arms sales; arms licences
17 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether Israeli F-35 aircrafts, of which each plane includes a 15 per cent UK work share, are being used in the air strikes on Gaza; and what steps he has taken to determine whether planes being used in the air strikes in Gaza include UK components.Layla Moran, Oxford West and Abingdon, LDThe ongoing violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning and must stop. We urge all parties to de-escalate. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.

All UK arms export licences are assessed thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and we keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-11/426deployments; assets and deployments; UK complicity; arms licences; IHL
17 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the conclusions of the UNITAD investigations led by Karim Khan QC, if the Government will use the term genocide in connection with atrocities perpetrated by ISIL against Yazidis and other minorities in Northern Iraq and Syria.Ms Nusrat Ghani, Wealden, ConservativeThe UK Government's long standing policy is that any determination of genocide should only be made by competent courts, rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies.

In order to support the prosecution of Daesh crimes in Iraq, the UK has contributed nearly £2 million to the UN Investigative Team for the Accountability of Daesh (UNITAD) and is encouraging close co-operation between UNITAD and the Government of Iraq to achieve justice for Daesh's victims.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-11/331international law; genocide; war crimes
13 May 2021can my noble friend name one country on earth that would be expected to tolerate the incessant attacks on innocent civilians by Hamas, the Iran-backed terror organisation committed to its annihilation?Lord Polak, ConservativeThe UK remains resolute in its commitment to Israel’s security. We utterly condemn Hamas’s indiscriminate and abhorrent rocket attacks, as I say. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence. In using it, it is vital that all actions it takes are proportionate, are in line with international humanitarian law and avoid civilian casualties.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-13/debates/A379DE7A-F5FD-4BC9-B8BE-D7E2DBB7ECB5/ViolenceInIsraelAndPalestine?highlight=self-defence#contribution-B1FA26D8-E16C-4DF3-88C9-AB3200E718C5Self-defence; proportionality; IHL
13 May 2021My Lords, how can terrorists import thousands of Iranian rockets but Israel be blamed for a lack of food or medicine? How can anyone believe that Hamas wants peace when it is committed to Israel’s destruction, with no regard whatever for innocent life? Hamas is exploiting the PA’s weakness after it cancelled elections, a century-old legal dispute about four houses, and violence in Jerusalem to provoke this crisis. Does the Minister agree that there is no equivalence between terrorists raining down rockets on civilians and a legitimate, democratic Government defending itself?Lord Austin of DudleyHamas’s military wing, as the noble Lord will know, has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK since 2001. The UK retains a policy of no contact with Hamas in its entirety. The UK unequivocally and strongly condemns the firing of rockets into Israel. We want them to stop, and we want a permanent end to this incitement and rocket fire, and a de-escalation of the situation today.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-13/debates/A379DE7A-F5FD-4BC9-B8BE-D7E2DBB7ECB5/ViolenceInIsraelAndPalestine?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-B1FA26D8-E16C-4DF3-88C9-AB3200E718C5definition of self-defence; principle of distinction; indiscriminate bombing; iHL violations; IHL
13 May 2021Our integrated review said:

“we will increase our efforts to protect open societies and democratic values where they are being undermined.”

In that spirit, can my noble friend name one country on earth that would be expected to tolerate the incessant attacks on innocent civilians by Hamas, the Iran-backed terror organisation committed to its annihilation?
Lord Polak, ConservativeThe UK remains resolute in its commitment to Israel’s security. We utterly condemn Hamas’s indiscriminate and abhorrent rocket attacks, as I say. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence. In using it, it is vital that all actions it takes are proportionate, are in line with international humanitarian law and avoid civilian casualties.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-05-13/debates/A379DE7A-F5FD-4BC9-B8BE-D7E2DBB7ECB5/ViolenceInIsraelAndPalestine?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-B1FA26D8-E16C-4DF3-88C9-AB3200E718C5definition of self-defence; principle of distinction; principle of proportionality; IHL
12 May 2021Yasmin Qureshi, Lab, Bolton South Easthttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-05-12/debates/5CB9BFF2-D70C-44FB-988B-425CDC0FEA6B/ViolenceInIsraelAndPalestine?highlight=indiscriminate%20attack#contribution-BA57B36B-7151-464F-BB19-2D177562B881indiscriminate attacks; IHL; IHL violations; Israel; Palestine
12 May 2021can the Minister tell me whether he thinks it appropriate that the UK grants arms licences that see UK weapons being used in these indiscriminate Israeli attacks on civilians, including children?Gavin Newlands, SNP, Paisley and Renfrewshire NorthJustice and accountability for detainees is a central issue for the UN-led political process and we fully support the UN Syria Envoy's efforts to work for the release of detainees, as a vital step towards a political settlement to end the conflict. Additionally we continue to pursue sanctions as a policy tool to hold the Syrian regime to account and to bring about a peaceful solution to the conflict.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-05-12/debates/5CB9BFF2-D70C-44FB-988B-425CDC0FEA6B/ViolenceInIsraelAndPalestine?highlight=indiscriminate%20attack#contribution-BA57B36B-7151-464F-BB19-2D177562B881indiscriminate attacks; UK assets; IHL violations; UK complicity; Israel; Palestine
12 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of deaths of (a) children, (b) non-combatant adults and (c) combatant adults in Gaza following military action by Israel beginning on 11 May 2021.Ms Lyn Brown, Labour, West HamThe ongoing violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning. Civilian deaths, both in Israel and Gaza are a tragedy. As the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have made clear, this cycle of violence must stop, and every effort must be made to avoid loss of life, especially that of children.

The UK condemns the firing of rockets at civilian populations and we urge all parties to de-escalate immediately. Any attacks targeted against civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable. All countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-12/656principle of distinction; self-defence; violations of IHL;
12 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to make representations to his Israeli counterpart on holding criminal investigations into the reported death of children as a result of Israeli police and military personnel actions.Mr Clive Betts, Labour, Sheffield South EastThe UK has been clear that we need an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and an end to targeting of civilian populations. The UK offers our condolences to the families of those civilians killed. Civilian deaths, both in Israel and Gaza are a tragedy.

Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We call on all sides to reduce tensions, restore calm and avoid provocation.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-12/615principle of distinction; self-defence; IHL; violations of IHL
12 May 2021Will my right hon. Friend confirm today that the Government will ask Israel to cease immediately any further illegal evictions from East Jerusalem and to respect the sanctity of mosques, for without both of these steps surely an already fragile situation can only deteriorate further?Richard Graham, Gloucester, ConservativeOn the holy sites in Jerusalem, which is the home of some of the holiest sites for all three Abrahamic religions, our position is that the status quo must be maintained and those religious sites must be respected. Obviously, many people have been very distressed by the images we have seen from the region. We will continue to speak directly with our contacts in the Israeli Government about evictions and settlements. As I say, our position on that has been long-standing, and I have spoken about that issue from the Dispatch Box. We call upon Hamas to immediately cease its indiscriminate rocket attacks into Israel, and we call upon all actors in this to bring about peace so that we do not see any more fatalities and casualties.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-05-12/debates/5CB9BFF2-D70C-44FB-988B-425CDC0FEA6B/ViolenceInIsraelAndPalestine?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-D772E513-9C92-49D1-8758-17829378F75Cprinciple of distinction; IHL violations; IHL
11 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether Israeli F-35 aircrafts, of which each plane includes a 15 per cent UK work share, are being used in the air strikes on Gaza; and what steps he has taken to determine whether planes being used in the air strikes in Gaza include UK components.Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and AbingdonThe ongoing violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning and must stop. We urge all parties to de-escalate. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. All UK arms export licences are assessed thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and we keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-11/426Partner AssistanceIsrael; Gaza
11 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the use of UK arms exported to Israel; and whether she plans to review the licensing of such exports.Hilary Benn, Labour, Leeds CentralHM Government continues to monitor closely the situation in Israel. We have procedures in place to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. We consider all our export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard procedure.HM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-11/66Partner Assistance
11 May 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to protect unarmed Palestinian children living in territory occupied by Israel from being injured or killed by Israeli security forces.Baroness Sheehan, Liberal DemocratThe UK has been clear that we need an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and an end to targeting of civilian populations. The UK offers our condolences to the families of those civilians killed. Civilian deaths, both in Israel and Gaza are a tragedy. Every effort must be made to avoid loss of life, especially that of children.

Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We call on all sides to reduce tensions, restore calm and avoid provocation.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-11/hl100UK's definition of self-defence; self-defence; IHL; principle of proportionality
11 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will condemn the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Israeli forces, including (a) the attack on worshippers and (b) threatened evictions of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.Sam Tarry, Labour, Iford SouthViolence against worshippers of whatever faith is unacceptable. It is important that policing is particularly sensitive around religious holy sites in Jerusalem, and particularly so during religious festivals like the holy month of Ramadan.

We remain concerned over tensions in Jerusalem linked to the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. We continue to urge Israel to cease such actions, which in all but the most exceptional cases are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-11/525international humanitarian law; IHL; violations of IHL
11 May 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether Israeli F-35 aircrafts, of which each plane includes a 15 per cent UK work share, are being used in the air strikes on Gaza; and what steps he has taken to determine whether planes being used in the air strikes in Gaza include UK components.Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and AbingdonThe ongoing violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning and must stop. We urge all parties to de-escalate. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. All UK arms export licences are assessed thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and we keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-05-11/426self-defence; IHL; violations of IHL; UK arms export licences; assets and deployments
28 April 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the training provided to 120,000 soldiers in Iraq has extended to contributing arms and equipment from companies in the British defence industry; and, if not, whether it will in the future.Lord Chidgey, LDSince September 2014, the UK alongside allies has been supporting Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against Daesh, as part of a coalition and at the invitation of the Government of Iraq. In addition to training, the UK supports the Iraqi Security Forces with supplies of military equipment. As a result, the UK, has gifted equipment to Iraq.

The equipment to the Iraqi Security Forces has been gifted either directly from the UK MOD, using stock surpluses or through procuring equipment from British Defence Industry. For instance, in 2015 the UK MOD gifted C-IED equipment from surplus stock and more recently the UK gifted outdoor clothing, personal load carriage and chest rig equipment, which was procured from a British Defence Company.

Future provision of support to Iraq will be determined by many factors including the type of equipment required and its availability. Any request for such equipment is judged on a case-by-case basis.

For further details on the equipment gifted to Iraq, please refer to the UK Strategic Export Controls Annual Reports available on gov.uk.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-04-15/hl14960arms licences; arms sales; assets and deployments; Iraq
27 April 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the human rights risk assessments undertaken for the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund in the Maldives in relation to the Government’s policy on Overseas Security and Justice Assistance.Sam Tarry, Ilford South, LabourUK assistance in Maldives is subject to robust Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments that analyse the potential human rights, international humanitarian law, political and reputational risks of any proposed assistance to ensure that it supports our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations. OSJAs are not published as they are internal documents which include a sensitive UK assessment of the human rights situation in a country at a given time. Disclosure could prejudice the UK's relations with foreign states, as well as its interests and ability to promote those interests. To be useful, OSJA assessments must be honest and remain relevant. In some cases, assessments may draw on material that is not publicly available and has been provided to the UK "in confidence". Disclosure could affect provision of such information in the future and compromise the ability to make sound OSJA assessments going forward.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-04-20/184570IHL; IHL violations; deployments; international human rights law
22 April 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking within appropriate multilateral institutions to develop a strategic response to the proliferation of cruise missiles (1) to foster maximum transparency, and (2) to develop a coherent safeguarding approach within arms control arrangements.Lord Judd, LabourThe UK is a member of relevant multilateral export control regimes, such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement. The MTCR seeks to prevent the proliferation of sensitive missile systems and technologies, including cruise missiles, to countries and end users of concern. The Wassenaar Arrangement in turn seeks to prevent the regional destabilising accumulation of conventional weapons, including cruise missile systems. The UK plays an active role in both regimes and through them the UK promotes transparency, the control and greater responsibility in transfers of all missiles types, as well as conventional weapons and related dual-use technologies. In addition, the UK is a State Party to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which establishes common international standards for regulating the international trade in conventional arms, which includes cruise missile systems. The ATT requires annual reporting on transfers to reinforce transparency among State Parties.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-22/hl14447Partner Assistance
22 April 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the finding by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of a more than doubling of the donor-funded aid items targeted for demolition or confiscation by the Israeli authorities in the first quarter of 2021, compared with the monthly average in 2020, what additional steps he will take to deter further demolitions and confiscations of humanitarian aid in the West Bank.Mr Clive Betts, Labour, Sheffield South EastThe UK regularly raises the demolition of Palestinian property with the Government of Israel, including over the repeated confiscation and demolition of donor-funded assistance and structures. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.

The UK urged the Government of Israel to end demolitions of property in the West Bank at the UN Security council on 25 March 2021. On the same day, the British Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised ongoing demolitions with the Israeli authorities in a meeting alongside like-minded partners. I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised my concerns about the demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-04-22/185797international humanitarian law; IHL; violations of IHL
22 April 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to draw the personnel for the new Ranger Regiment from all Infantry units of the British Army; what assessment they have made of the additional training resources required for that regiment to be able to operate in complex and high risk environments; and what assessment they have made of the impact on the establishment of such a regiment on (1) extended overseas deployments, and (2) any additional training and advisory agreements made with other nations consequent upon these deployments.Lord Chidgey, LDThe new Ranger Regiment is part of an Army Special Operations Brigade and will receive a share of a £120 million investment over the next four years. It will initially be seeded from the four Specialised Infantry Battalions and in time will become all-arms units capable of supporting and conducting special operations in high-risk environments.

Under the transformation announced by the Secretary of State for Defence, the Army will be more actively and persistently engaged overseas. This does not mean that all deployments will be lengthy and the impact on individuals and their families will be carefully managed under policy designed to ensure that they are not over-stretched. To complement the Army Special Operations Brigade, a Security Force Assistance (SFA) Brigade will also be established and this will form the foundation of the Army's contribution to persistent engagement overseas.

The Army will use spring and early summer 2021 to refine and test the designs, capabilities and structure of its units before making more detailed announcements later this year.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-04-15/hl14961deployments; deployments and assets
21 April 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the targeting of 58 Palestinian structures and subsequent displacement of 81 people, including 42 children, by the Israeli authorities in March 2021.Caroline Lucas, Green, Brighton, PavilionThe UK regularly raises the demolition of Palestinian property with the Government of Israel. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.

I continue to maintain an active dialogue with regional partners on the matter of demolitions, and frequently raise our objections in bilateral conversations with my Israeli counterparts. The UK urged the Government of Israel to end demolitions of property in the West Bank at the UN Security council on 25 March 2021. On the same day, the British Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised ongoing demolitions with the Israeli authorities in a meeting alongside like-minded partners. I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised my concerns about the demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-04-21/185339IHL; violations of IHL; principle of distinction
16 April 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of British nationals associated with ISIS detained in north-east Syria in areas under the control of the Kurdish authorities; and how many of those British nationals are children.
Tulip Siddiq, Labour, Hampstead and Kilburn.We are aware that British nationals, including children, are located in IDP camps in north east Syria. Due to the shifting circumstances on the ground we are not in a position currently to make an accurate estimate of their number.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-04-16/182073Counter-terrorism; partner assistance; policy.
15 April 2021The 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?Kim Johnson, Liverpool, Riverside, LabourNot 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.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-04-15/debates/8CC7DC13-81CD-48B3-B9CC-C5E6F9D33DEC/ArmsExportsInternationalHumanitarianLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-802EE3C6-1AA7-480B-92AE-F20CA2984FA4arms sales; arms licences; IHL
15 April 2021What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that arms exported from the UK are not deployed in contravention of international humanitarian law.Kim Johnson, Liverpool, Riverside, LabourAll 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.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-04-15/debates/8CC7DC13-81CD-48B3-B9CC-C5E6F9D33DEC/ArmsExportsInternationalHumanitarianLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-802EE3C6-1AA7-480B-92AE-F20CA2984FA4arms sales; arms licences; IHL violationsl IHL
12 April 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the increased threat from ISIS in Africa.Andrew Rosindell, Con, RomfordWe are concerned about the continuing threat posed by Daesh and its affiliates in Africa. In the recent Defence Command Paper, we committed to working closely with others to tackle the threat and strengthen stabilisation. In the Sahel, we are contributing UK military assets both to the French counter-terrorism operations and to the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA). In the Lake Chad Basin, we are working with our Nigerian and Cameroonian partners to develop their counter-terrorism capabilities. We are also continuing to contribute actively to the work of the Global Coalition Against Daesh. In East Africa, we are focusing on the countering the terrorist threat posed by Al Shabaab.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-04-12/178890Counter-terrorism; partner assistance; policy.
12 April 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the UK's security of the decision to reduce the number of troops in the Army; and if he will make that decision subject to a vote in the House.Charlotte Nichols, Labour, Warrington NorthThe protection of our people, homeland, and democracy is the first duty of any government and so we are investing over £24 billion to reform and renew our Armed Forces for this age of global and systemic competition, modernising and integrating our forces across sea, land, air, space, and cyberspace like never before. In an era of robotics and artificial intelligence, we need to stop thinking about the strength of the Army simply in terms of numbers and focus on how successfully it can achieve what we ask of it. We have therefore designed a force that is more balanced, and ultimately more effectively matched to the threat, now and in the future. The Army will be better connected, faster, and pound-for-pound more lethal than ever before. It will be integrated across domains, with allies in NATO, and beyond.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-04-12/179632Technology; Assets and Deployment
12 April 2021
24 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the oral contribution of the Prime Minister of 3 March 2021, Official Report, column 242, what the UK's role is in the Saudi-led coalition's participation in conflict in Yemen.Anna McMorrin, Labour, Cardiff NorthThe UK is not a member of the Saudi-led coalition. We have an ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia which includes sharing advice and guidance to support the Saudi military's compliance with International Humanitarian Law and efforts to protect their national security. The UK continues to use all our diplomatic and humanitarian expertise to support UN-led peace efforts to end the conflict and alleviate the humanitarian situation in Yemen.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-24/174947UK complicity; Yemen; IHL; violations of IHL
22 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to press for international access to monitor the conditions of Syrian detainees held by (a) the Assad regime, (b) ISIS, and (c) the Syrian Democratic Forces.Stephen Timms, Lab, East HamThe latest UN report from the Commission of Inquiry is a shocking reminder of why Syria remains one of the worst human rights crises in the world. The UK has repeatedly condemned the use of illegal detention. We support the UN's request to the Asad regime and Syrian armed groups to allow humanitarian actors and medical teams unhindered access to prisons. We have raised the plight of detainees held by the Asad regime, affiliated militias and proscribed terrorist organisations at the UN Security Council, most recently during our national statement on 15 March and through our leadership at the Human Rights Council, where this month we are hosting a side event to discuss next steps for accountability. We expect all parties to the Syrian conflict to respect their obligations and responsibilities towards civilians under the applicable international law regimes that apply, including international humanitarian law - this includes providing the necessary access for humanitarian organisations to reach those in need.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-22/172852Counter-terrorism; partner assistance; policy; law.
17 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what was his Department's planned R&D spend for the next four years (a) before the November 2020 uplift, and (a) now, by year.Kevan Jones, Labour, North DurhamThe 2020 Spending Review (SR) Settlement sets out a new ringfence for defence R&D amounting to at least £6.6 billion over four years from 2021-22. This funding will support next generation capabilities from satellites and automation to AI and novel weapons. Detailed investment plans for the SR period are currently being agreed in advance of next financial year so annual breakdown are not available. However, R&D investment is expected to uplift the Ministry of Defence's planned spend in R&D by over £1.5 billion in the four year SR period.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-17/170559Technology
16 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his Department policy is on the use of drone strikes outside of recognised war zones; and what support the Government provides to victims of such strikes.Janet Daby, Lewisham East, LabourAs the Government has stated previously there is no separate policy on the use of force outside of an armed conflict. Rather it has a policy to defend the UK and its citizens against both armed attacks and imminent threats of armed attack; in extremis, lethal force could be used where there is no other effective option. Every situation would be considered on its merits and the appropriate course of action would depend on the circumstances prevailing at that time.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-10/166556extrajudicial killing; IHRL; IHL; use of force; compensation for victims
11 March 2021Turning to the main event, so to speak, which is the Clause 12 duty to consider derogation from the convention through a new Section 14A of the Human Rights Act, my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, and the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, have described the question marks over this clause very well. Is it necessary? Is it wise? What is it trying to achieve? Is it, as my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer put it so pithily, just phony human-rights bashing for political purposes, because this Bill is so much about signal sending?Baroness Chakrabarti, LabourI reassure the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, of how mindful of our obligations we are. The issue of extraterritorial jurisdiction under the ECHR has been the subject of complex legal debate, and it continues to be addressed and developed through European Court of Human Rights case law. This case law has led to some uncertainty about the ECHR’s application and has extended the territorial scope of convention obligations beyond what was understood when the ECHR was originally drafted.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-03-11/debates/9D68F2AD-CE5F-41E6-8F50-9BDAC0A91C37/OverseasOperations(ServicePersonnelAndVeterans)Bill?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-F9094E0F-A31A-45D1-98FC-71F8C3CD98FCoverseas operation bill; ECHR; international human rights law
11 March 2021As the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, indicated, given that this Bill in general works so hard to suggest in various places what considerations and tests should be applied by courts, prosecutors and other decision-makers, it must be worthy of note that the new Section 14A of the Human Rights Act proposed by Clause 12 does not replicate the test for derogation under Article 15. Why is that the case? Why does it appear to create this duty to constantly consider derogating but not set out the strict tests that derogation requires? It must be that the derogation would be strictly necessary in time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation, which, of course, is going to be far from the case in many covert or overt operations in the modern world—some short, some longer, some peacekeeping. Why has the Article 15 test not been replicated? Is it again, as happened with other legislation, such as the Internal Market Bill, an attempt to create tension, a collision course or a divergence between domestic law and international law duties? That would be very worrying indeed.Baroness Chakrabarti, LabourThe clause merely ensures that all future Governments will be compelled to consider derogating from the ECHR for the purpose of a specific military operation. There is no sinister or malign agenda here, as was implied by the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti. This does not create new law in relation to the ECHR or the procedures for designating a derogation order. In effect, it puts the intent of the 2016 Written Ministerial Statement on to a statutory footing and it will ensure that operational effectiveness can be maintained, for example, by enabling detention where appropriate for imperative reasons of security in a time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nations.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-03-11/debates/9D68F2AD-CE5F-41E6-8F50-9BDAC0A91C37/OverseasOperations(ServicePersonnelAndVeterans)Bill?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-F9094E0F-A31A-45D1-98FC-71F8C3CD98FCoverseas operation bill; ECHR; international human rights law
11 March 2021Some severe issues are raised by this clause, in part about what message we are sending internationally. The United Kingdom left the European Union last year. We have said that, as a country, we still respect human rights and the rule of law and that we wish to play a global role. We are still an active player in NATO and in the United Nations, but what message are we sending if we say, “We might want to derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights”? Do we really want to derogate from human rights laws? Is this not a siren call? Is there not a danger that this is trying to speak to a domestic audience? I know that the Minister does not like the concept of lawfare and that she does not care for the term. However, in some ways, the clause as it stands and the amendment tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, and the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, seem to suggest that this is about speaking to an audience that wants to say, “We should not be too worried about human rights. Let us strike down some of these rules.” Surely our role in the international arena should be precisely that of supporting human rights. We will not do that by derogating from the European Convention on Human Rights.Baroness Smith of Newnham, LDIt is worth reflecting on the procedure that attends a derogation from the ECHR. If such a decision is ever made, the Human Rights Act requires that the Secretary of State must make an order designating any derogation by the UK from an article or a protocol of the ECHR. The Secretary of State must also make an order amending Schedule 3 to the Human Rights Act to reflect the designation order or any amendment to, replacement of or withdrawal from that order. Crucially, for those concerned that Parliament does not have a say in the process, I would remind noble Lords of the procedures that are already in place. A designation order to derogate ceases to have effect—it evaporates effectively—if a resolution approving the order is not passed by each House of Parliament within 40 days of the order being made. This means that both Houses will always be able to approve or reject any derogation order within 40 days of a decision. That is the process and these are the procedures.

In addition to the requirements laid out in the Human Rights Act 1998, the Government must also communicate a decision to derogate to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. This should include details of the measures taken and the reasons for taking them. The Secretary-General should also be informed when derogations have ceased. These existing measures provide for the appropriate level of parliamentary debate and approval of a decision to derogate.
https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-03-11/debates/9D68F2AD-CE5F-41E6-8F50-9BDAC0A91C37/OverseasOperations(ServicePersonnelAndVeterans)Bill?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-F9094E0F-A31A-45D1-98FC-71F8C3CD98FCoverseas operation bill; ECHR; international human rights law
9 March 2021Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the former deputy legal adviser at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, says that the Bill calls into question the UK’s commitment to a “rules-based international system”. As of today, nearly a dozen United Nations human rights special rapporteurs and experts have declared that the Bill will violate the

“UK’s obligations under international humanitarian law, human rights law and international criminal law”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission says that it is

“profoundly concerned by the risk to human rights that this Bill poses.”

The Judge Advocate General of the Armed Forces says that the Bill risks bringing

“the UK armed forces into disrepute”.

How can the Minister justify sticking his fingers in his ears in the face of such grave concerns voiced by legal, defence and human rights experts? Why is this legislation so out of step with the similar legislation of allied countries such as the US and Canada?
Nadia Whittome, Nottingham East, LabourThe Bill is more than just a manifesto commitment; it is a necessary and overdue strengthening of the legal framework for dealing with the vexatious claims and repeated investigations that have arisen from recent overseas military operations. There have been many inaccurate and wild accusations about the measures in the Bill. It does not prevent armed forces personnel from being prosecuted for crimes they may have committed. It does not remove prosecutors’ independence or ability to prosecute on the basis of any new or compelling evidence of any crime at any time. It does not undermine the UK’s adherence to the UN convention against torture, its commitment to international law or its willingness to investigate and prosecute any alleged criminal offences. As such, it does not increase the likelihood of International Criminal Court prosecutions.

But do not take my word for it; take the words of the former Attorney General for Northern Ireland, John Larkin QC, probably the lawyer most experienced in dealing with legacy military and security investigations across the United Kingdom, who said in a paper published this September that

“the Bill does not create, or come close to creating, ‘de facto immunity’ for serving or former service personnel in respect of serious crimes.”

However, the Bill does raise the threshold for prosecution, thereby reducing the likelihood of investigations being repeatedly reopened without new and compelling evidence. It does ensure recognition of the unique circumstances of overseas operations, including the constant threat to life and repeated exposure to traumatic events. It does take into consideration the public interest in criminal and civil cases’ being brought to a timely resolution, so that the courts can assess them while memories are fresh and evidence is more readily available. That is entirely in line with the principles of the ECHR. In short, the measures do provide greater protection from the likes of Phil Shiner Solicitors, whose motivations were not justice but money.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-11-03/debates/FB4C7182-567C-49B9-A7DE-EFE9EC75B9B4/OverseasOperations(ServicePersonnelAndVeterans)Bill?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7D7F6D2D-9D51-411D-B0A8-E03E7988B7CCinternational human rights law; ECHR; overseas operation bill
9 March 2021My Lords, before I start my remarks about the Bill, I would like to say that nothing I say over the next few days in any way impugns the integrity of the Minister. I have every respect for her, but I think that the Bill is a terrible piece of legislation—worse than terrible. It is actually quite shocking. It is the international version of the “spy cops” Bill, which granted broad legal immunity to state agents who commit criminal acts. How can that be right? The Government are now introducing, or trying to introduce, a messy exception for military personnel from the law that the innocent should be found innocent and the guilty found guilty. We do not care if they were guilty as long as their offending happened five years ago. That is absolutely appalling—we cannot say that about any crimes. It is another attempt by the Government to put our often brutal military history in the past, suppressing those who speak the truth and insisting that only patriotic narratives are allowed to prevail. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris of Aberavon, said that no person should be above the law. The Government do not seem to agree with that anymore—and this is from the party of law and order. Have they sort of slipped those bonds of law and order? Your Lordships’ House must not be complicit in this denial of justice and rewriting of history. We must do whatever we can to scrap this Bill.Baroness Jones of MoulsecoombSo the purpose of the measures in Part 1 is quite simply to give service personnel and veterans greater tangible reassurance and demonstrable certainty that the unique pressures of overseas operations—and they are unique—will be taken into account when decisions are made about whether to prosecute for alleged historical offences. Let me be clear: this does not mean that the Government consider the Armed Forces to be above the law. Whenever they embark on operations overseas, they must abide by the criminal law of England and Wales, as well as international humanitarian law, including that set out in the Geneva conventions.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-03-09/debates/B82D5065-8436-4DC1-8360-ADC61B9B8A05/OverseasOperations(ServicePersonnelAndVeterans)Bill?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-4140996D-F0A6-4A2C-80E0-219E42971CC8
9 March 2021First, this will create a special category of defence. It will in effect lead to there being a special category of criminal offences for which there is a presumption against prosecution. John Healey in another place put it very well when he said:

“Let us just step back a moment from the technical detail. This is the Government of Great Britain bringing in a legal presumption against prosecution for torture, for war crimes and for crimes against humanity. This is the Government of Great Britain saying sexual crimes are so serious they will be excluded from this presumption, but placing crimes outlawed by the Geneva convention on a less serious level and downgrading our unequivocal commitment to upholding international law that we in Britain ourselves, after the Second World War, helped to establish.”—[Official Report, Commons, 23/9/20; cols. 997-98.]

We should not be doing what John Healey described. We should be doing what the noble Lord, Lord Lancaster, hopes we should be doing. Let us do it in a direct and effective way rather than in this oblique, obscure and ineffective way.

The second reason why the presumption does not work is that it may be illegal. I would very much like to hear what the noble Baroness, Lady Goldie, has to say about the points made in the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ ninth report of this Session, which says that it offends against Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Convention against Torture, the Rome Statute, and customary international law. The report is basically saying that, if you could have a presumption against prosecution where there is evidence that would justify a prosecution and the public interest favours it, why is that not contrary to the five commitments that the country has made legally?

The third point is the involvement of the International Criminal Court. We as a country ought to be prosecuting these offences, not the ICC. The noble Baroness, Lady Goldie, will know that the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said last week in a letter to the British Government that the presumption against prosecution could

“render such cases admissible before the ICC.”

How have the Government reached such a different conclusion to that of the ICC’s chief prosecutor? Does the noble Baroness, Lady Goldie, believe that the ICC has misunderstood the Bill? Is she confident that the consequence of the Bill will not be to replace one uncertainty with another, namely that our military personnel may well face long investigations and then long prosecutions in the ICC, which nobody wants? I believe it is incredibly important that our justice system and in particular our military justice system produces an answer to the problem that this part of the Bill seeks to address, but I am anxious that it will be ineffective in doing that, it will send out a signal that we are not complying with international law, and it will lead to more prosecutions in the ICC.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton, LabourHowever, in response to the noble and learned Lord, I say that the presumption is also necessary. That is because, again for the reassurance of our service personnel, we owe it to them to explain that we understand the unusual nature of what they are asked to do and that only they are asked to do it, and that we recognise the difficulties that confront them, as my noble friend Lord Lancaster so eloquently explained, in conflict in overseas operations. That is why the effect of Clause 2 will be that when a prosecutor considers whether criminal proceedings should be brought or continued in relevant cases, there will be a presumption against prosecution and the threshold for rebutting that presumption will be high, though not insuperable. It is right that prosecutors identify and assess “exceptional” circumstances and we are confident that they will. It is for them to make that identification, and similar terms are used frequently in existing prosecutorial guidance.

We anticipate that the presumption will operate alongside the public interest assessment as part of the prosecutor’s consideration of the full prosecutorial code test. However, it does not create an absolute bar either to investigations, as I have said, or to prosecutions. It is not acting as a statute of limitations or an amnesty because the presumption is rebuttable, with the prosecutor retaining the discretion to prosecute. Where they determine that it would be appropriate to do so, prosecution is what would follow. Importantly, that could include cases where there is evidence that a serious offence has been committed, as the severity of the crime and the circumstances in which it was allegedly committed will always be factors in a prosecutor’s consideration of a case.

Therefore, I do not share the reservations of some that this presumption is unworkable, that it is a charter for lawbreaking with impunity or that it puts a foot on the accelerator of referrals to the International Criminal Court. My noble friend Lord Faulks spoke very powerfully about that; in fact, he comprehensively slew the dragon of the spectre of referrals to the ICC.

I think that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, quoted the chief prosecutor, but he certainly quoted the International Criminal Court as saying that as a result of the Bill we could see referrals to the court. If we neglected our duties—if prosecutors, faced with evidence of a justiciable case and satisfied that a serious crime had been committed, omitted to take that prosecution forward—that indeed would be the risk but, as my noble friend Lord Faulks indicated, why would a prosecutor, or the UK, want that to be the outcome? If a wrong has been committed and it merits prosecution, the filters applied under subsections (2) and (3) will ensure that the prosecutor can use his discretion and proceed with a prosecution.

Clause 3 sets out the matters to which a prosecutor must give particular weight when coming to a decision whether or not to prosecute. I accept that prosecutors may already take these matters into account as part of the public interest assessment, but Clause 3 ensures that such consideration is put on a statutory footing. Again, that will provide what I have referred to as a tangible reassurance to our service personnel that the unique context of overseas operations will always be given particular and appropriate weight in the prosecutor’s deliberations.

Clause 3 also requires a prosecutor to give particular weight to the exceptional demands and stresses of overseas operations and their adverse effect on service personnel. Those factors are not empty rhetoric or imagined challenges. They are intended to ensure that prosecutors give full recognition to the marked difference in the circumstances surrounding an alleged offence committed on an overseas operation, in contrast with situations where the alleged criminal conduct occurs in a domestic civilian setting. The application of Clause 3 alongside all the other considerations still leaves the prosecutor with discretion to determine that a case should be prosecuted, even in cases where there is no compelling new evidence; it is for the prosecutor to make that judgment.

Clause 5 covers the requirement to seek the consent of the Attorney-General of England and Wales or the Advocate-General for Northern Ireland when deciding to bring a prosecution in respect of alleged offences that occurred more than five years earlier. I clarify that the consent function in the Bill does not extend to Scotland. That is because all prosecution decisions in Scotland are already taken in the public interest by or on behalf of the Lord Advocate, the senior Scottish law officer. We have introduced the consent function in Clause 5 because, again, we believe it is important for service personnel and veterans to be confident that in the context of historical allegations their case will be considered carefully and at the highest levels of our justice system.

Clause 6 defines a “relevant offence” to which the statutory presumption, the matters to be given particular weight and the requirement for Attorney-General consent for a prosecution apply. It also details those offences that are excluded, which are set out in Schedule 1. In addition, Clause 6 enables the Secretary of State to amend Schedule 1, on “excluded offences”, by way of a statutory instrument, and sets out the requirement for any such statutory instrument to be laid before and approved by both Houses of Parliament.

I have endeavoured to explain to the House and tried to illustrate how these different sections are interwoven and interconnected. It is important that that provides the Bill with the necessary coherence. I will pay more attention to, and spend more time on, the excluded offences listed in Schedule 1, which, of course, are sexual offences, reflecting the Government’s strong belief that the use of sexual violence or sexual exploitation during overseas operations is never acceptable in any circumstances.
https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-03-09/debates/B82D5065-8436-4DC1-8360-ADC61B9B8A05/OverseasOperations(ServicePersonnelAndVeterans)Bill?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-4140996D-F0A6-4A2C-80E0-219E42971CC8
8 March 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to ban all arms exports to countries that are not part of NATO or in a formal alliance with the UK.Lord Judd, LabourHM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.In addition, HM Government is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-08/hl13977Partner Assistance
8 March 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to ban all arms exports to countries that are not part of NATO or in a formal alliance with the UK.Lord Judd, LabourHM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

In addition, HM Government is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated Criteria.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-08/hl13977assets and deployment; UK arms exports; UK export licences; IHL; violations of IHL
4 March 2021Yesterday, 10 rockets targeted an Iraqi military base—the Al Asad airbase hosting coalition troops. One contractor, sadly, died in the attack and 10 British personnel were, thankfully, unharmed. What discussions have the Government had about this incident and what assessment has the Foreign Secretary made of the ongoing threat to British and coalition forces [deployed in Iraq]?Lisa Nandy, Labour, WiganIt is worth noting that the School Inspection Service, which previously undertook inspections of some independent schools, has now closed and that there is now only one independent inspectorate, ISI. As such, and given the new directions issued on 4 November 2019, HMCI should no longer have regard to the matters in the February 2015 directions, which were the subject of the 6 November 2018 letter.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-03-04/debates/DC3BD59C-F7E3-41B3-885B-5932C6EDD817/Counter-DaeshUpdate?highlight=operation%20shader#contribution-5D6EA4D5-7825-4411-B98E-EDEC61CD42CFassets and deployment; UK troops in Iraq; personnel embedded with partners
4 March 2021I know my right hon. Friend will join me in congratulating Karim Khan on his appointment as chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, but he will also know the painstaking work he was doing through UNITAD—the Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL—in Iraq in bringing to trial the war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Daesh against, specifically, the Yazidis. Could he say what support his Department [FOC] continues to provide to UNITAD in its work in this regard?Laura Farris, Conservative, NewburyWe will engage regional governments, in particular India and Pakistan, to work to prevent Afghanistan becoming a haven for terrorism. I visited Uzbekistan on 14 September, after visiting Uzbekistan and Tajikistan the week of 30 August for discussions on Afghanistan. The former Foreign Secretary also visited Islamabad to address the issue of terrorism and discussed it with the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers. We will build regional resilience to prevent any spread of instability/extremist and to counter radicalising narratives.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-03-04/debates/DC3BD59C-F7E3-41B3-885B-5932C6EDD817/Counter-DaeshUpdate?highlight=operation%20shader#contribution-5D6EA4D5-7825-4411-B98E-EDEC61CD42CFInternational Humanitarian Law; war crimes; investigations into IHL violations; Iraq
4 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether current licences for components for bombs issued on 4 August 2020 include contracts for Raytheon Systems UK to deliver Paveway IVs or components thereof to Saudi Arabia; and whether she has made an assessment of the effect of the the US and Italian Government's decisions to suspend or revoke certain sales and export licences to Saudi Arabia on the UK export of aerial ground-attack munitions and their components to Saudi Arabia.Zarah Sultana, Labour, Coventry SouthHM Government will continue to take its export responsibilities seriously and assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). The decisions of other countries are matters for them. Disclosure of information relating to private contracts between businesses would be inappropriate.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-04/163319Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
4 March 2021I thank the Foreign Secretary for his statement and I associate myself with the comments made about the excellent work of our armed forces in keeping us safe. Does my right hon. Friend agree that operations against Daesh, including Operation Shader, represent the best of international co-operation?Mr Gagan Mohindra, Conservative, South West HertfordshireMy hon. Friend is absolutely right, and it is important that we have a team effort in the struggle against Daesh, partly because of the severity of the threat that it poses and partly because of the amorphous nature in which it can appear. It is therefore important to have cohesive international collaboration and this is a very good example of that.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-03-04/debates/DC3BD59C-F7E3-41B3-885B-5932C6EDD817/Counter-DaeshUpdate?highlight=operation%20shader#contribution-340335F8-9A61-4101-84CD-B580A4D21C73Operation Shader; assets and deployment
3 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had on using an International Political Declaration to restrict the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.Fabian Hamilton, Labour, Leeds North EastThe final version of the Political Declaration has not yet been published.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-03/162518Protection of civilians
3 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what representations he has received on the draft text of an International Political Declaration to restrict the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.Fabian Hamilton, Labour, Leeds North EastThe final version of the Political Declaration has not yet been publishedhttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-03/162519Protection of civilians
2 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the Government's policy is on endorsing an international Political Declaration to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.Tony Lloyd, Labour, RochdaleThe final version of the Political Declaration has not yet been published.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-02/161677Protection of civilians
2 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the UK Government is taking to tackle the humanitarian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.Tony Lloyd, Labour, RochdaleIn August 2020 HMG published the UK's approach to the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The paper summarises the UK's Protection of Civilians activity in seven UK commitment areas including: ensuring respect for International Humanitarian Law in UK military operations; political engagement; strengthening accountability; and humanitarian action.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-02/161678Protection of civilians
2 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the UK Government is taking to tackle the humanitarian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.Tony Lloyd, Labour, RochdaleIn August 2020 HMG published the UK's approach to the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The paper summarises the UK's Protection of Civilians activity in seven UK commitment areas including: ensuring respect for International Humanitarian Law in UK military operations; political engagement; strengthening accountability; and humanitarian action.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-02/161678IHL; prohibition of weapons
1 March 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government why moral considerations are not included in the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria used to assess arms export licence applications.Lord Roberts, Liberal DemocratThe Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to consider the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-01/hl13767Partner Assistance
1 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of whether war crimes are being committed in Yemen.Dr Matthew Offord, Hendon, ConservativeThe UK is aware of these reports and takes alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) extremely seriously. It has been the Government's long-standing policy that any determination of war crimes should only be made by a competent court, rather than by a government or non-judicial body. The UK calls on all the parties to the conflict to cease and investigate such attacks on civilians, respect human rights and comply with their obligations under IHL.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-19/154999IHL; IHL violations; war crimes
1 March 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of reports of children being shot by snipers in Yemen.Dr Matthew Offord, Hendon, ConservativeThe UK is aware of these reports and takes alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) extremely seriously. It has been the Government's long-standing policy that any determination of war crimes should only be made by a competent court, rather than by a government or non-judicial body. The UK calls on all the parties to the conflict to cease and investigate such attacks on civilians, respect human rights and comply with their obligations under IHL.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-19/154998IHL; IHL violations; war crimes; principle of distinction
26 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with the recent escalation of Taliban activity, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) the size of the UK's military presence in Afghanistan as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission and (b) its rules of engagement.Mark Pritchard, The Wrekin, ConservativeThe UK's contribution to the non-combat NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan is kept under regular review to ensure it remains suited to the needs of the mission. For operational and personnel security reasons we do not comment on specific rules of engagement.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-22/156313deployments; rules of engagement
26 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with the recent escalation of Taliban activity, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) the size of the UK's military presence in Afghanistan as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission and (b) its rules of engagement.Mark Pritchard, The Wrekin, ConservativeThe UK's contribution to the non-combat NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan is kept under regular review to ensure it remains suited to the needs of the mission. For operational and personnel security reasons we do not comment on specific rules of engagement.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-22/156313deployments; rules of engagement
25 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking (a) to mitigate the effects of war on women and children and (b) to safeguard vulnerable people in places of war.Barry Sheerman, Labour, HuddersfieldThe UK is committed to reducing the disproportional impact of conflict on women and children through championing the crucial role they can play in conflict prevention and resolution, and building on the commitments made through the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies. The UK is a world leader on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), including at the UN Security Council, and on tackling sexual violence in conflict through the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI). The UK's fourth National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security recognises the specific impacts of conflict on women and girls and outlines the UK's approach to support women and girls to exercise their human rights. For example, in Yemen the UK has supported the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities' (UNFPA) Global Programme to End Child Marriage until the end of 2020, providing 5,000 adolescent girls in Yemen, with life skills training and services for psychosocial support. The UK is an active member of the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, which leads the international response to violations committed against children in conflict.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-25/158856Protection of civilians
25 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs,what steps he is taking to advocate for the protection of civilians in dangerous parts of Yemen.Barry Sheerman, Labour, HuddersfieldThe UK calls on all the parties to the conflict to respect human rights and comply with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL). All parties to the conflict must stop and investigate any attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.The UK fully supports UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths' efforts to bring the parties to the table to negotiate a lasting peace agreement. The only sustainable way to protect civilians and bring long-term stability to Yemen is an inclusive political settlement and an end to the conflict.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-25/158858Protection of civilians; LawYemen
23 February 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the international political declaration to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas; and whether they plan to endorse it.Baroness Hodgson, ConservativeThe political declaration can best protect civilians through the promotion of International Humanitarian Law and the sharing of best practice. The UK will continue to engage fully with the process and will take a view on endorsement as well as the merit of making representations to other governments once the declaration's final form is known.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-23/hl13590Protection of civilians
23 February 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to make representations to other governments to encourage them to sign the international political declaration to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.Baroness Hodgson, ConservativeThe political declaration can best protect civilians through the promotion of International Humanitarian Law and the sharing of best practice. The UK will continue to engage fully with the process and will take a view on endorsement as well as the merit of making representations to other governments once the declaration's final form is known.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-23/hl13591Protection of civilians
23 February 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to make representations to other governments to encourage them to sign the international political declaration to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.Baroness Hodgson of Abinger, ConservativeThe political declaration can best protect civilians through the promotion of International Humanitarian Law and the sharing of best practice. The UK will continue to engage fully with the process and will take a view on endorsement as well as the merit of making representations to other governments once the declaration's final form is known.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-23/hl13591IHL; prohibition of weapons
22 February 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to stop granting export licences for the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.Lord Judd, LabourHM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-22/hl13457Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
22 February 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the suspension in arms sales to Saudi Arabia for offensive use in Yemen by the government of the United States; and what plans they have to implement a similar suspension in arms sales.Lord Berkeley, LabourThe US announced it would end support to Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen, including relevant defence exports. This is entirely a matter for the US Government.Our position on arms exports to Saudi Arabia – as with all countries – is that such exports require an export licence and that all export licence applications are carefully assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”) on a case-by-case basis. A licence would not be granted if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-22/hl13362Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; Yemen
22 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of granting UK Export licenses for arms sales to Saudi Arabia on the UK's development goals in Yemen.Kate Osamor, Labour, EdmontonThe Government takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously. All applications for export licences are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. This is a rigorous assessment process which incorporates expertise from several Government Departments and takes into account a wide range of information from a variety of sources, including the UN and NGOs. The UK is one of the largest humanitarian donors to Yemen, providing over £1 billion in UK aid since the conflict began. This has helped to make sure millions of vulnerable Yemenis have access to food and sanitation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-22/156486Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; Yemen
22 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.Kate Osamor, Labour, EdmontonThe Government takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously. All applications for export licences are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. This is a rigorous assessment process which incorporates expertise from several Government Departments and takes into account a wide range of information from a variety of sources, including the UN and NGOs. The UK is one of the largest humanitarian donors to Yemen, providing over £1 billion in UK aid since the conflict began. This has helped to make sure millions of vulnerable Yemenis have access to food and sanitation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-22/156485Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; Yemen
22 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the export of air-to-air refuelling equipment from the UK to Saudi Arabia on the war in Yemen.Kate Osamor, Labour, EdmontonThe Government takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously. All applications for export licences are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. This is a rigorous assessment process which incorporates expertise from several Government Departments and takes into account a wide range of information from a variety of sources, including the UN and NGOs. The UK is one of the largest humanitarian donors to Yemen, providing over £1 billion in UK aid since the conflict began. This has helped to make sure millions of vulnerable Yemenis have access to food and sanitation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-22/156483Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; Yemen
22 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether arms sales granted an export license by the Government have been used by Saudi Arabia and their coalition partners in combat missions which have resulted in civilian casualties.Kate Osamor, Labour, EdmontonThe United Kingdom has a robust export controls regime. All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”). We have been clear that equipment manufactured in the United Kingdom is used all over the world, and we are equally clear that a licence will not be granted if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-22/156484Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
22 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) flying hours and (b) air strikes have been conducted by British armed forces against Daesh in (a) Iraq and (b) Syria in each of the last 12 months.James Wild, North West Norfolk, ConservativeThere have been 37 Weapon Release Events in the past 12 months (37 in Iraq and zero in Syria). The combined flying hours of Reaper and Typhoon during this period were 15,192 (Reaper: 7,799; and Typhoon: 7,393). As the data concern operational activity, figures may be updated in future.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-10/152662deployments and assets; RAF
19 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of whether war crimes are being committed in Yemen.Dr Matthew Offord, Conservative, HendonThe UK is aware of these reports and takes alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) extremely seriously. It has been the Government's long-standing policy that any determination of war crimes should only be made by a competent court, rather than by a government or non-judicial body. The UK calls on all the parties to the conflict to cease and investigate such attacks on civilians, respect human rights and comply with their obligations under IHL.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-19/154999violations of IHL; IHL jurisdiction; war crimes; Yemen; investigations into violations of IHL
11 February 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of people in Saudi Arabia receiving repeated public lashings for asserting their atheism; and whether they consider that such punishments contravene the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.Lord Alton of LiverpoolThe UK strongly supports the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), which is restricted in Saudi Arabia. Ministers and our Ambassador in Saudi Arabia regularly raise and discuss freedom of religion or belief. Whilst Saudi Arabia ended flogging as a form of corporal punishment in 2020, this change does not apply to some Hudud crimes, for which the Quran prescribes punishments.The UK will encourage further human rights reform in Saudi Arabia.

On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce will work with ministers, officials and others to deliver the Government's goal of seeing everyone, everywhere able to have and practise a faith, belief, or not to do so, in accordance with their conscience.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-01/hl12752war crimes; torture
10 February 2021The Minister will be aware that arms sales to Saudi Arabia amount to approximately 40% of the volume of all UK arms sales. Does he agree that UK arms sales and technical support are sustaining the war in Yemen and that we should use the US decision to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia as an opportunity to pursue peace talks?Baroness Clark of Kilwinning, LabourMy Lords, I have already given the Government’s position on arms sales, but I agree with the noble Baroness; we will work very closely with the US and other allies, and through the UN, to ensure that we can bring about peace in Yemen. However, that requires the participation of all parties to the conflict.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-02-10/debates/C9DAD2EF-F922-49FF-99CF-3C256CB2DFCD/Yemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7073A45A-B64A-4099-B690-D1B8F7A0197Earms sales; arms licences; Yemen; IHL violations; forces assisted by the UK
10 February 2021My Lords, at a time when the United States and President Biden have shown such a magnificent stand on the principles on which foreign policy should be based, in their reversal of the existing policy on arms to Yemen, is the obstinacy of the British Government, refusing to budge on this, really the hallmark of what they want to be seen as global Britain?Lord Judd, LabourMy Lords, the objective of Her Majesty’s Government is to bring about peace in Yemen. As I have already indicated, this engages us on several fronts. We are second only to the US in the humanitarian support we provide to Yemen. We have engaged quite directly as penholders at the UN Security Council and will continue to do so. I believe I have made our position on arms control and exports very clear on a number of occasions, and again today. However, I assure the noble Lord that we will work very closely with the new Administration in the United States, who have clearly signalled the importance and priority they attach to this issue, in pursuit of the objective—peace in Yemen.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-02-10/debates/C9DAD2EF-F922-49FF-99CF-3C256CB2DFCD/Yemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-7073A45A-B64A-4099-B690-D1B8F7A0197Earms sales; arms licences; Yemen; IHL violations; forces assisted by the UK
10 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many armed forces personnel from (a) Ghana, (b) Uganda, (c) Ethiopia, (d) Tanzania, (e) Somalia, (f) Nigeria, (g) South Africa and (h) Mali trained at a defence establishment in the UK in each of the last three years, broken down by (i) institution and (jii) branch of service.Stephen Doughty, Cardiff South and Penarth, LabourWe are proud of the UK’s record of assisting African militaries to improve professional standards, fight terrorism, contribute to UN peacekeeping missions, and promote democratic accountability.

Since 2017-2018 we have provided a total of 372 training places to military personnel from Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. Of these 372 training places, 271 were provided by the British Army, 25 by the Royal Air Force, and 76 by the Royal Navy. Of the 372 training places, 21 were provided by the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, 24 by the Royal College of Defence Studies, 13 by RAF Cranwell, 68 by the Defence Academy, and 10 by the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-05/149770UN peacekeeping missions
9 February 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decision by the government of the United States to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia; and what plans they have to do the same.Lord Roberts, Liberal DemocratThe US announced it would end support to Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen, including relevant defence exports. This is entirely a matter for the US Government.Our position on arms exports to Saudi Arabia – as with all countries – is that such exports require an export licence and that all export licence applications are carefully assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”) on a case-by-case basis. A licence would not be granted if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-09/hl13203Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; United States
8 February 2021The Liberal Democrats have long called for arms sales to Saudi Arabia to be suspended in response to its consistent targeting of civilians in Yemen, in clear breach of international law. The humanitarian impact of this conflict is hard to put into words. At least one child dies every 10 minutes because of preventable disease, and 100,000 children are on the brink of starving to death. On the issue of arms sales, the Minister rightly says that the US’s decision to stop selling arms was a matter for it. The matter for this House is whether we continue to sell arms, so I ask him to answer plainly: will the Government follow the example of our ally and finally stop all arms sales supporting this horrific war—yes or no?Layla Moran, LibDem, Oxford West and AbingdonThe United Kingdom takes its arms export licensing responsibilities very seriously. We will not issue any export licences for items where there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law. Every licence application is rigorously assessed against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-08/debates/DD75DAB2-90FB-42FF-B3EC-095A91F0C49B/Yemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-53FD67C3-F1F8-4AC0-9D1A-CADD67C3C27DIHL; breaches of IL; UK complicity; Yemen
8 February 2021This year will mark the seventh anniversary of the start of the war in Yemen, which has led to the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. UNICEF has described Yemen as “a living hell”. Last week, the US pledged to stop support for offensive Saudi operations in the country; does the Minister agree that it is now time for the UK to follow suit and commit to go that extra mile so that we can stop this horrific war?Gill Furniss, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, LabourThe thing that will stop the war is if the Houthis respect and reciprocate the Saudi-led coalition’s unilateral ceasefire that we saw last year. Unfortunately, we see through things such as the attack on the Yemeni Government at Aden airport, the drone attacks on Yemen and the other attacks raised by right hon. and hon. Members in this House that at the moment the Houthis are not reciprocating the overtures towards peace. We strongly encourage them to do so. We will work with the international community to support meaningful peace efforts and we will do what we can to alleviate the humanitarian situation caused by the conflict. That is our commitment to the people of Yemen, and that commitment is enduring.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-08/debates/DD75DAB2-90FB-42FF-B3EC-095A91F0C49B/Yemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-02F357B6-F1D6-4F08-AB8D-59E168E8CCE4arms sales; IHL
8 February 2021I heard what the Minister said about the rigorous nature of British arms licences, but I am afraid that it just sounds like whataboutery while innocent people are being killed by British-made arms. The Biden Administration have made absolutely the right call on this, so can the Minister explain to the House how our selling arms to Saudi Arabia will assist the UN special envoy for Yemen in his diplomatic efforts in trying to secure a negotiated political solution to this dreadful conflict?Andrew Gwynne, Denton and Reddish, LabourThe ability of a nation state to defend itself is widely recognised as legitimate. The UK’s work, both bilaterally with the Government of Yemen and also through Martin Griffiths and the United Nations, is a completely separate issue. We are working very hard, and we will continue to do so, to alleviate the humanitarian situation until a sustainable peace is brought about. We will work just as hard to support Martin Griffiths and the United Nations and the regional players to bring that peace about.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-08/debates/DD75DAB2-90FB-42FF-B3EC-095A91F0C49B/Yemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-02F357B6-F1D6-4F08-AB8D-59E168E8CCE4arms sales; arms licences; IHL violations; principle of distinction
8 February 2021What role can the UK play to ensure that all partners in the region are working actively to end the war in Yemen?Dehenna Davison, Bishop Auckland, ConservativeI thank my hon. Friend for making that point. She is right to highlight the diplomatic work that is necessary in this. The UK plays a very active role: as a humanitarian donor in our own right; in encouraging other countries around the world and the region to support the humanitarian effort; and in encouraging active engagement both within Yemen and beyond Yemeni borders to bring about a coalition of the willing to drive forward the peace agenda. We will continue to act as humanitarian supporters, and as the convener and encourager of the diplomatic efforts to bring about peace.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-08/debates/DD75DAB2-90FB-42FF-B3EC-095A91F0C49B/Yemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-02F357B6-F1D6-4F08-AB8D-59E168E8CCE4IHL; UK partners
8 February 2021This is a complex conflict, on which any sensible Government would not take sides. There is clearly evil on all sides, and the Houthis are some of the worst of all of them. But the UK has repeatedly sided with Saudi Arabia, its coalition partners and even its proxy terrorist group, al-Qaeda in Yemen. The Government have been found guilty by British courts of illegally approving arms sales, and even broke UK court orders to prevent further arms sales last year and had to apologise to the courts. Surely now is the right time to stop the rhetoric and mistruths that we have the strongest arms control in the world—we do not—and to follow the US lead, stop British complicity, stop the arms licences being approved, and revoke those that continue to be extant. Will the Minister just do the right thing?Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Brighton, Kemptown, LabourThe hon. Gentleman’s comments equate the activities of regional players as equal—I am sorry, but it is almost beyond credible. His deployment of the word “evil” betrays his prejudices, rather than any flaw in UK Government policy. We will continue to pursue peace in the region and to support humanitarian efforts until that peace is brought about.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-08/debates/DD75DAB2-90FB-42FF-B3EC-095A91F0C49B/Yemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-02F357B6-F1D6-4F08-AB8D-59E168E8CCE4arms sales; IHL violations
8 February 2021Despite the UK Government’s claims that they provide training to the Saudi-led coalition to avoid civilian casualties and prevent Saudi Arabia from breaching international humanitarian law, there is no sign that that has reduced the deadly toll of the air raids. How can the Government justify not only profiting from the crisis in Yemen through arms deals, but spending £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money since 2016 via secretive funds to bolster the Saudi forces as well?Patricia Gibson, North Ayrshire and Arran, SNPThe UK is proud of the role that we have taken in trying to uphold international humanitarian law, working with countries around the region to try to improve and support their institutions. That is part of our ongoing agenda of being a force for good in the world, and we are proud of that role.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-08/debates/DD75DAB2-90FB-42FF-B3EC-095A91F0C49B/Yemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-02F357B6-F1D6-4F08-AB8D-59E168E8CCE4arms sales; IHL; IHL violations; principle of distinction; UK complicity; assets and deployments
8 February 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 19 January (HL11788), whether they consider the reported bombing of a paediatric hospital in Gaza on 26 December 2020 to be part of government of Israel's "legitimate right to self-defence"; if so, how; and what assessment they have made of what constitutes legitimate self-defence for those living in territory occupied by that government.

Baroness TongeWe continue to stress the importance of the Israel security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population and to conduct prompt transparent investigations into any claims of IDF misconduct. Officials from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raised the issue with the IDF on 20 January and will continue to follow the IDF internal investigation. The UK is clear that it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties. Any attacks targeted against civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/hl12564definition of self-defence; international law; IHL; violations of IHL; principle of distinction
5 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the purpose is of his Department’s technical support to the Peshmerga Ministry in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.Alicia Kearns, Rutland and Melton, ConservativeWe continue to provide the Kurdish Peshmerga with technical and military support to enhance their capacity and capability to tackle the threat from Daesh. To date, the UK has trained over 9,100 Peshmerga fighters. During my (Minister Cleverly's) visit to Erbil in December, I discussed the need to continue supporting Peshmerga reform with the Kurdistan Regional Government, in order to ensure a unified and modernised Peshmerga. To this aim, the UK and other multi-national partners are, in concert with the global Coalition and the Kurdistan Regional Government, working closely on a Peshmerga Reform Programme.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-28/145173assets and deployments
3 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the extent to which UK-made arms are being used in activities which are in breach of international law; and if he will make a statement.Stephen Timms, Labour, East HamThe Government takes its export control responsibilities seriously and every licence application is rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. We draw on a range of sources in making assessments, including NGOs and international organisations, our diplomatic posts and reports from our overseas networks. We continue to monitor developments closely, and are able to respond quickly to changing situations. We will not issue any export licences when to do so would be inconsistent with these Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-03/148674Law, Partner Assistance
2 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will immediately suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Claudia Webbe, Leicester East, IndependentThe UK Government takes its arms licensing responsibilities seriously, and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria prohibits the granting of export licences where there is a clear risk that the items to be exported might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The protection of civilians during armed conflict is a cornerstone of IHL. We will not issue any export licences where there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious IHL violation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/143164arms sales; arms licences; IHL; IHL violations
2 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government takes into account the potential risk of harm to civilians in Yemen in assessing whether or not to grant arms export licenses.Claudia Webbe, Leicester East, IndependentThe UK Government takes its arms licensing responsibilities seriously, and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria prohibits the granting of export licences where there is a clear risk that the items to be exported might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The protection of civilians during armed conflict is a cornerstone of IHL. We will not issue any export licences where there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious IHL violation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/143162principle of distinction; arms sales; arms licences; IHL; IHL violations
1 February 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the new US Administration on the cessation of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.Patrick Grady, SNP, Glasgow NorthMinisters have not yet discussed with the Biden Administration the reported US suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The UK takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously and we assess all export licenses in accordance with strict licensing criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-01/146916Partner Assistance
1 February 2021The Biden Administration have halted the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, with many Democrats citing the killing of civilians, including children, by Saudi forces in Yemen. A freedom of information request by The Guardian revealed that the Government provided training on UK soil for Saudi military. Will the Minister ensure that the Government expose the widely documented crimes committed by Saudi personnel with US counterparts as they undertake this review? Will he take a leaf out of the American book and reassess whether we should be enabling the Saudi regime, given the awful crimes it has committed?John NicolsonThe hon. Gentleman will know from the many parliamentary questions that have been asked on this that much of the information relating to licensing is subject to ongoing legal proceedings, but our defence relationship with Saudi Arabia on training includes courses, advice and guidance. This supports the efforts of Saudi Arabia to protect national and regional security, as well as its military’s compliance with international humanitarian law. The UK is not a member of the Saudi-led coalition and we played no role in setting Saudi-led coalition policy.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-01/debates/F1D0A6DE-B38B-4C53-8E02-53D8951471A1/MilitaryTrainingOverseasArmedForces?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-ECB5DF98-8444-457B-BFB0-5B2E19480EA3arms sales; arms licences; IHL violations
28 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the Government is providing to the Government of Mozambique to help tackle serious insecurity and attacks by ISIS-affiliated groups in the north of that country.
28 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many applications for licences for export of arms to Saudi Arabia have been rejected on the grounds that they were inconsistent with the EU and National Arms Export Consolidated Criteria since the outbreak of war in Yemen in late 2014.Tommy Sheppard, SNP, Edingburgh EastHM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data(opens in a new tab) and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020. Whilst no Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) have been refused since 2015, 11 Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs) have been rejected for military rated exports to Saudi Arabia.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-28/145053Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; Yemen
26 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department holds data on military bases with missiles that are within range of Israeli territory.Jim Shannon, Strangford, DUPIsrael is an important strategic partner for the UK and we collaborate frequently on issues of defence and security. Our commitment to the security of Israel is unwavering. All countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. However we cannot comment on intelligence and security matters.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-18/138982IHL; deployments and assets
25 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he has taken to ensure that (a) all technology developed under and (b) the end product of the LANCA uncrewed air vehicle programme is ITAR-free.Kevan Jones, Labour, North DurhamThe LANCA concept is fully Ministry of Defence owned. Generation and retention of UK intellectual property were key criteria in the assessment of industry bids for the recently-announced Mosquito flight demonstrator. Whilst some ITAR controlled technology may be used in the Mosquito demonstrator, no ITAR restrictions are currently applicable to the LANCA concept. The terms of the Mosquito contract provide UK full rights to the knowledge produced for the purposes of informing the FCAS LANCA concept.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/142815Technology; Remote Warfare; Law;
25 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will immediately suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.Claudia Webbe, Independent, Leicester EastThe UK Government takes its arms licensing responsibilities seriously, and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria prohibits the granting of export licences where there is a clear risk that the items to be exported might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The protection of civilians during armed conflict is a cornerstone of IHL. We will not issue any export licences where there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious IHL violation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/143164Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
25 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government takes into account the potential risk of harm to civilians in Yemen in assessing whether or not to grant arms export licenses.Claudia Webbe, Independent, Leicester EastThe UK Government takes its arms licensing responsibilities seriously, and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria prohibits the granting of export licences where there is a clear risk that the items to be exported might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The protection of civilians during armed conflict is a cornerstone of IHL. We will not issue any export licences where there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious IHL violation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/143162Protection of civilians; Law; Partner AssistanceYemen
25 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether applications for arms export licences to Saudi Arabia have been deniedClaudia Webbe, Independent, Leicester EastHM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data, and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April - 30th June 2020.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/143166Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
25 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether new open arms export licences to Saudi Arabia have been issued; and whether new companies have been registered to use open licences.Claudia Webbe, Independent, Leicester EastHM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data, and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April - 30th June 2020.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/143165Partner Assistance
25 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many arms exports licences issued to Saudi Arabia are in military list categories (a) ML4 and (b) ML10; and what is the value of those licences.Claudia Webbe, Independent, Leicester EastHM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data, and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April - 30th June 2020https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/143161Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
25 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the value is of arms exports licenses for weapons sold to Saudi Arabia (a) over the last 12 months and (b) since 2014.Claudia Webbe, Independent, Leicester EastHM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data, and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April - 30th June 2020.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/143160Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
25 January 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to suspend (1) the granting of arms export licences, and (2) military support, to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners involved in operations in Yemen.Lord Judd, LabourHM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.In addition, HM Government is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated Criteria. The United Kingdom has an ongoing defence relationship with Saudi Arabia, including training courses, advice and guidance, which support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect its national security. This also supports the Saudi military’s compliance with international humanitarian law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/hl12517Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; Yemen
25 January 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 19 January (HL11788), whether they consider the reported bombing of a paediatric hospital in Gaza on 26 December 2020 to be part of government of Israel's "legitimate right to self-defence"; if so, how; and what assessment they have made of what constitutes legitimate self-defence for those living in territory occupied by that government.Baroness TongeWe continue to stress the importance of the Israel security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population and to conduct prompt transparent investigations into any claims of IDF misconduct. Officials from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raised the issue with the IDF on 20 January and will continue to follow the IDF internal investigation. The UK is clear that it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties. Any attacks targeted against civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/hl12564self-defence; UK's definition of self-defence; IHL; violations of IHL
25 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government takes into account the potential risk of harm to civilians in Yemen in assessing whether or not to grant arms export licenses.Claudia Webbe, Independent, Leicester EastThe UK Government takes its arms licensing responsibilities seriously, and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria prohibits the granting of export licences where there is a clear risk that the items to be exported might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The protection of civilians during armed conflict is a cornerstone of IHL. We will not issue any export licences where there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious IHL violation.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/143162IHL; UK export licences; violations of IHL
25 January 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to suspend (1) the granting of arms export licences, and (2) military support, to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners involved in operations in Yemen.Lord Judd, LabourHM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law. In addition, HM Government is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated Criteria

The United Kingdom has an ongoing defence relationship with Saudi Arabia, including training courses, advice and guidance, which support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect its national security. This also supports the Saudi military’s compliance with international humanitarian law.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-25/hl12517IHL; UK export licences; violations of IHL; assets and deployments
21 January 2021 While not wishing to be fixed in any particular mission, can my noble friend the Minister reassure us that the overall recent increase in support to UN missions will persist?Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton, Conservative I can reassure my noble friend and the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Newnham, that humanitarian response and United Nation peacekeeping will continue to be an important component of the MoD’s engagement activity. As my noble friend is right to point out, the integrated review proposes a transformation in the Armed Forces to increase our presence and engagement across the world. Two important components of this will be agility and persistence. It is vital that the Armed Forces are flexibly deployed into the situations where they can deliver the greatest value, whether this be supporting United Nations peacekeeping and French counterterrorism operations in Mali, or delivering humanitarian aid to the Caribbean. https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-01-21/debates/BEC8CEA7-4D62-4782-9F45-98F981B1F811/BritishArmedForcesGlobalBritain?highlight=deployed%20belize#contribution-3E703A07-251D-4B78-9EE0-ECA50D52C649assets and deployments; UN Peacekeeping Missions; stabilisation units
21 January 2021Does the Minister agree that our Armed Forces should continue to build closer links, with joint exercises and exchanges of personnel, with other countries...? Lord Bilimoria...over the festive period alone, more than 6,000 military personnel were deployed on 39 operations in 46 countries. That eloquently underpins the concept of global Britain. As global competition deepens, as the challenges of Covid-19 put strain on the international system, as nations seek to find an edge—through fair means and foul—we face an unprecedented and accelerating challenge. While the Armed Forces already make an indispensable contribution to our security, prosperity and values, and to global Britain, we can and will do more. We shall be more globally engaged: actively competing and collaborating to defeat and deter our adversaries, working ever more closely with allies old and new, extending our reach to new theatres and domains, and tackling global challenges to our safety and prosperity. That is why the Prime Minister announced more than £24 billion for next-generation military capability, cementing our place as a leader in NATO, defending our people from new and evolving threats, operating globally, protecting the world’s most vulnerable, and bringing jobs and prosperity to every part of the United Kingdom. That is something of which we can all be proud; it means that global Britain is not some empty piece of rhetoric but a very solid concept. The MoD and our Armed Forces are certainly demonstrating —dramatically—just how solid a concept that is and how valuable it is to the rest of the world.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-01-21/debates/BEC8CEA7-4D62-4782-9F45-98F981B1F811/BritishArmedForcesGlobalBritain?highlight=special%20forces#contribution-1ED98203-1C58-4DD0-B8AF-8F662507BD7Aassets and deployment; personnel embedded with partners
21 January 2021We already have a military presence on 145 sites in 45 countries. If other members of our so-called Security Council were to follow our example, our fragile world would become even more dangerously unstable. Does the Minister agree with the words of former Prime Minister Theresa May that we should stop acting as the world’s policeman?Lord MountevansThis deployment [of the UK's HMS "Queen Elizabeth" aircraft across Asia] embodies the strength of our bilateral ties and reflects the depth and breadth of this vital defence security partnership. It will include the Indo-Pacific region working together with allies to send a clear signal of our commitment to the region. But this will not be a flash-in-the-pan activity, as some of your Lordships, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, were concerned about; it is all part of a coherent approach. The deployment supports the UK’s deep and enduring defence relationships, such as the vital Five Eyes partnership, our ongoing commitment to supporting United Nations operations in the region and our desire to advance bilateral security co-operation with ASEAN nations.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2021-01-21/debates/BEC8CEA7-4D62-4782-9F45-98F981B1F811/BritishArmedForcesGlobalBritain?highlight=special%20forces#contribution-1ED98203-1C58-4DD0-B8AF-8F662507BD7Aassets and deployment; UN peacekeeping;
19 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what conditions on arms use her Department has placed on Saudi Arabia.Alyn Smith, SNP, StirlingArms exports require an export licence, and all export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”). HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data (opens in a new tab)and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020. We are able to place conditions on how goods are used in situations where goods remain under an exporter’s control following export, such as temporary exports. We rigorously examine all applications on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated Criteria, which takes into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. Whilst no Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) have been refused since 2015, 11 Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs) have been rejected for arms exports to Saudi Arabia. This shows the Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the possible impact of both providing equipment and its capabilities.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-19/140267Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
19 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia have been denied since 2015.Alyn Smith, SNP, StirlingArms exports require an export licence, and all export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”). HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data (opens in a new tab)and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020. We are able to place conditions on how goods are used in situations where goods remain under an exporter’s control following export, such as temporary exports. We rigorously examine all applications on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated Criteria, which takes into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. Whilst no Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) have been refused since 2015, 11 Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs) have been rejected for arms exports to Saudi Arabia. This shows the Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the possible impact of both providing equipment and its capabilities.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-19/140266Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
19 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what armaments the UK exported from January 2018 to January 2021.Janet Daby, Labour, Lewisham EastHM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data(opens in a new tab) and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020. Information covering 1st July – 30th September 2020 will be published on 9th February 2021 and information covering 1st October 2020 – 31st December 2020 will be published on 13th April 2021.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-19/140251Partner Assistance
19 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent amendments her Department has made to export controls in the context of the potential provision of armaments to the Israeli Government.Janet Daby, Labour, Lewisham EastThe Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”) remains the policy for assessing all licence applications on a case-by-case basis.The Consolidated Criteria has long provided a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to assess the impact of licensing equipment and its capabilities. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteriahttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-19/140254Partner AssistanceIsrael
19 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the completeness of his Department's database of alleged breaches of international humanitarian law in Yemen.Alyn Smith, SNP, StirlingI am unable to answer the hon. Member's question due to ongoing legal proceedings.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-19/140269IHL; violations of IHL; investigations into violations of IHL; transparency
19 January 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what support, if any, the Royal Air Force provides to British soldiers assigned to operations in Mali.Lord Touhig, LabourThe UK supports two separate and distinct operations in Mali. We provide support to Operation BARKHANE, the French counter-terrorism operation, and MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping mission to Mali.

UK forces deployed to MINUSMA have access to a range of UN air assets which enable movement and logistics operations. At present, there are no Royal Air Force assets assigned to MINUSMA. A small number of RAF personnel are embedded within the UK's MINUSMA deployment.

Three Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters are deployed to Mali in support of Operation BARKHANE.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-11/hl12023deplyoments; UK troops in Mali; UN peacekeeping missions; RAF
12 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for Government policy on arms sales to Saudi Arabia of President-elect Biden’s pledge to end US support for the Saudi-led War in Yemen.Virendra Sharma, Labour, Ealing SouthallThe UK takes its export control responsibilities and obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty extremely seriously and regularly calls on states which have not yet implemented various arms control instruments to accede to these instruments as soon as possible. We assess all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. The UK regularly raises, at senior level, the importance of complying with International Humanitarian Law and of conducting thorough and conclusive investigations into alleged violations with Saudi Arabia. The Prime Minister spoke to President-elect Biden on 10 November to congratulate him. They discussed the close and longstanding relationship between our countries and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-12/136475Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; Yemen
11 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what type of robots the Government plans to deploy 30,000 of in the British Army by 2030.Kevan Jones, Labour, North DurhamThe British Army is transforming land capability through increasingly expansive use of technology, including Robotics and Autonomous Systems employed across all areas of operations. Explosive Ordnance Disposal robots and uncrewed ground and air systems, used for reconnaissance and surveillance, are already in service. The final number and composition of robots to be utilised throughout the British Army and their in-service dates have not yet been confirmed.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-11/135838Technology; Assets and Deployment
11 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will review the effectiveness of steps taken by his Department to ensure that UK training programmes provided for foreign armed forces do not contribute to the internal suppression of civilians in those countries.Owen Thompson, SNP, MidlothianAll assistance we provide to foreign armed forces is conducted in accordance with an Overseas Security and Justice Assessment of the country concerned which assesses risks, including those relating to human rights and international humanitarian law, and considers what measures might be necessary to mitigate any such risk.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-11/136004IHL; violations of IHL; assets and deployment
11 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of whether the Government was involved in acts of rendition in Iraq from 2003 to 2009.Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith, LabourThe UK Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone unlawful killing, the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“CIDT”), or extraordinary rendition. In no circumstance will UK personnel be authorised to take action amounting to torture, unlawful killing, extraordinary rendition, or CIDT. UK military action is conducted in line with the UK’s Human Rights obligations and International Humanitarian Law.

The UK Government supports the rule of law, and opposes any form of unlawful deprivation of liberty that places a detained person outside the protection of the law, including so-called extraordinary rendition. Any request for the transit of foreign flights through the UK or overseas territories is considered on a case-by-case basis and are granted only when the purpose of the transit complies with international law.

There were two previously declared incidents relating to the US in 2002, where British Territory had been used for this purpose. The transition of two detainees through Diego Garcia was reported to Parliament by the then Foreign Secretary in February 2008. Since those events in 2002 the UK are not aware of any other instances of other countries holding or moving any detainees through the territorial land, air or seas of the UK or our overseas territories.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-30/132800deployments; torture; war crimes; IHL; violations of IHL
11 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the December 2020 International Criminal Court report entitled Situation in Iraq/UK, whether he plans to compensate in accordance with international law victims of torture perpetrated by British forces during detention and interrogation in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith, LabourThe International Criminal Court (ICC)’s report entitled “Situation in Iraq/UK”, published on 9 December 2020, brings to an end its long running examination into allegations of war crimes by UK personnel in Iraq, with the finding that there is no basis on which to proceed to a full investigation.

The UK Government maintains a clear policy framework governing detention, interrogation and the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to detainees. It does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone, and in no circumstance will UK personnel ever be authorised to take action amounting to, unlawful killing, the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“CIDT”), or extraordinary rendition.

Joint Doctrine Publication (JDP) 1-10, Captured Persons, is the capstone doctrine publication for all Captured Persons activities. It provides detailed direction and guidance to UK Armed Forces involved in planning, training for or conducting captured persons activities. Importantly, it also reflects the UK Government’s policy and guidance resulting from recent operations.

Complimenting JDP 1-10 are The Principles Relating to the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas and the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees. These follow a thorough review of existing guidance to be as clear as possible about the standards under which the intelligence agencies and our Armed Forces operate.

The use of approved verbal and non-physical techniques remains vital if we are to retain the ability to secure swiftly in appropriate circumstances intelligence that can save lives. These techniques are non-threatening and do not cause physical harm.

However, the prohibition on the ‘five techniques’, introduced in 1972, remains in force, as set out in JDP 1-10. The prohibited techniques were redefined following the 2010 Baha Mousa public inquiry as: Stress positions; Hooding; Subjection to noise; Deprivation of sleep and rest; and, Deprivation of food and water. These techniques must never be used for any purpose.

The UK takes all alleged incidents of this kind very seriously, and allegations against UK personnel are investigated. Regrettably, as previously acknowledged, for example in the Baha Mousa Inquiry published in 2011, unauthorised use of the ‘five techniques’ were used by elements of UK forces in Iraq.

With regard to compensation, as a matter of policy, when claims are received, they are investigated and considered on the basis of whether the MOD has a legal liability; and where there is such a liability, compensation is paid.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-30/132799war crimes; deployments; torture; compensation of victims; international law; IHL; IHL violations
11 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the December 2020 International Criminal Court report entitled Situation in Iraq/UK, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the reported flawed guidance in interrogation procedures used in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith, LabourThe International Criminal Court (ICC)’s report entitled “Situation in Iraq/UK”, published on 9 December 2020, brings to an end its long running examination into allegations of war crimes by UK personnel in Iraq, with the finding that there is no basis on which to proceed to a full investigation.

The UK Government maintains a clear policy framework governing detention, interrogation and the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to detainees. It does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone, and in no circumstance will UK personnel ever be authorised to take action amounting to, unlawful killing, the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“CIDT”), or extraordinary rendition.

Joint Doctrine Publication (JDP) 1-10, Captured Persons, is the capstone doctrine publication for all Captured Persons activities. It provides detailed direction and guidance to UK Armed Forces involved in planning, training for or conducting captured persons activities. Importantly, it also reflects the UK Government’s policy and guidance resulting from recent operations.

Complimenting JDP 1-10 are The Principles Relating to the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas and the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees. These follow a thorough review of existing guidance to be as clear as possible about the standards under which the intelligence agencies and our Armed Forces operate.

The use of approved verbal and non-physical techniques remains vital if we are to retain the ability to secure swiftly in appropriate circumstances intelligence that can save lives. These techniques are non-threatening and do not cause physical harm.

However, the prohibition on the ‘five techniques’, introduced in 1972, remains in force, as set out in JDP 1-10. The prohibited techniques were redefined following the 2010 Baha Mousa public inquiry as: Stress positions; Hooding; Subjection to noise; Deprivation of sleep and rest; and, Deprivation of food and water. These techniques must never be used for any purpose.

The UK takes all alleged incidents of this kind very seriously, and allegations against UK personnel are investigated. Regrettably, as previously acknowledged, for example in the Baha Mousa Inquiry published in 2011, unauthorised use of the ‘five techniques’ were used by elements of UK forces in Iraq.

With regard to compensation, as a matter of policy, when claims are received, they are investigated and considered on the basis of whether the MOD has a legal liability; and where there is such a liability, compensation is paid.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-30/132798torture; deployments; IHL; IHL violations; war crime; MOD flawed policy
11 January 2021To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether (a) the five techniques and (b) harshing were employed during interrogations in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith, LabourThe International Criminal Court (ICC)’s report entitled “Situation in Iraq/UK”, published on 9 December 2020, brings to an end its long running examination into allegations of war crimes by UK personnel in Iraq, with the finding that there is no basis on which to proceed to a full investigation.

The UK Government maintains a clear policy framework governing detention, interrogation and the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to detainees. It does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone, and in no circumstance will UK personnel ever be authorised to take action amounting to, unlawful killing, the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“CIDT”), or extraordinary rendition.

Joint Doctrine Publication (JDP) 1-10, Captured Persons, is the capstone doctrine publication for all Captured Persons activities. It provides detailed direction and guidance to UK Armed Forces involved in planning, training for or conducting captured persons activities. Importantly, it also reflects the UK Government’s policy and guidance resulting from recent operations.

Complimenting JDP 1-10 are The Principles Relating to the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas and the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees. These follow a thorough review of existing guidance to be as clear as possible about the standards under which the intelligence agencies and our Armed Forces operate.

The use of approved verbal and non-physical techniques remains vital if we are to retain the ability to secure swiftly in appropriate circumstances intelligence that can save lives. These techniques are non-threatening and do not cause physical harm.

However, the prohibition on the ‘five techniques’, introduced in 1972, remains in force, as set out in JDP 1-10. The prohibited techniques were redefined following the 2010 Baha Mousa public inquiry as: Stress positions; Hooding; Subjection to noise; Deprivation of sleep and rest; and, Deprivation of food and water. These techniques must never be used for any purpose.

The UK takes all alleged incidents of this kind very seriously, and allegations against UK personnel are investigated. Regrettably, as previously acknowledged, for example in the Baha Mousa Inquiry published in 2011, unauthorised use of the ‘five techniques’ were used by elements of UK forces in Iraq.

With regard to compensation, as a matter of policy, when claims are received, they are investigated and considered on the basis of whether the MOD has a legal liability; and where there is such a liability, compensation is paid.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-30/132797torture; war crimes; IHL violations; IHL; deployments
8 January 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that any existing unlimited-value open licences for the export of military equipment do not permit any governments considered to have human rights concerns to receive weapons or ammunition without sufficient scrutiny and end-use verification; and what plans they have to cease the issue of such licences to such countries.Lord Hylton, CrossbenchAll export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any items. A licence will not be issued if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including where there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression. We are able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, in line with the Consolidated Criteria.We have no plans to cease the issue of open licences.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-08/hl11931Partner Assistance
8 January 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that EDO MBM Technology Ltd supplied Hornet bomb-racks and fuel pumps for the Bayraktar TB2 drones used by the government of Turkey in the Nagorno-Karabakh region; and if so, what action they have taken in response to such reports.Lord Hylton, CrossbenchWe consider all our export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard. The UK complies with the OSCE arms embargo relating to the NagornoKarabakh region, which is considered as part of our export licensing process, and HMG has not issued licences contrary to the arms embargo.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-08/hl11932Partner AssistanceNagorno-Karabakh
8 January 2021To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to investigate reports that the government of Turkey has used drones against Turkish citizens in 11 regions of that country since 2016; and what representations they have made to the government of Turkey to request an explanation for the deaths of Zehra Berkel, Hebun Mele Xelil and Amina Waysi in June 2020.Lord HyltonWe regularly discuss with the Turkish Government the need to respect human rights and avoid civilian casualties during military activities within Turkey. Regarding reports of Turkish military operations causing civilian casualties in Kobane in Syria, where the three named individuals died in June 2020, we expect all sides to the Syrian conflict to respect their obligations towards civilians under international humanitarian law. We will continue to engage with Turkey on this important issue.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-01-08/hl11933IHL; violations of IHL; principle of distinction
7 January 2021My Lords, my noble friend will know that President Trump and his Secretary of State, Mr Pompeo, justified the drone attack by reference to the principle of self-defence in international law. Will my noble friend tell the House whether the Government have seen any material that justifies that assertion? Furthermore, does my noble friend agree that, if Mr Trump or the American Government were deliberately to use disproportionate force—or deliberately target sites of cultural importance, for that matter—they would be in clear breach of international law?Viscount Hailsham, ConservativeMy Lords, on the second point made by my noble friend, again I am sure that he has seen the statement made, I believe, yesterday by Secretary of State Pompeo in which he emphasised how important it was that the actions of the US will adhere to international law. On the issue of taking action in self-defence, as I have said, this was a matter very much for the US and I am not going to second guess from the Dispatch Box that assessment. However, it is certainly our view that, while we do not doubt that there were plans for imminent attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, I should reiterate that, rather than speculate about what has happened, our focus should be on seeking to ensure that we de-escalate at this timehttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-07/debates/F8FB7BE4-F7F9-4068-B21B-A5E8BEF8B68B/MiddleEastSecurityUpdate?highlight=self-defence#contribution-FB0021A2-C272-4CC2-B50B-8546F9B5CD81self-defence; imminence;
17 December 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many times the Government has suspended or revoked an existing Arms Export licence in the last five years; what the grounds were for those actions; and which countries those licences were for.Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck, South Shields, LabourSince 2015, we have taken revocation action 74 times on individual licences; and suspended licences, pending further investigations, four times.

I have provided the Hon. Lady with instances below where a licence was revoked in full; where a country was removed; where goods were removed; or where goods for a country were removed.

9 SIELs for Ukraine were revoked following increasing tensions in the region (Criterion 3).
3 SIELs for Yemen and 1 OIEL destination were revoked further to the deteriorating situation in-country and the risk of diversion (Criteria 3, 7)
1 OIEL had seven destinations revoked (Taiwan, Spain, Qatar, Greece, Canada, Australia and Afghanistan) when extended beyond its original validity date.
1 OIEL has one destination revoked (Isle of Man) having been issued in error.
1 OIEL had three destinations revoked (Japan, Norway and Switzerland) due to the sensitivity of the goods (Criterion 5)
1 SIEL for the Philippines was revoked following a change of situation in country and the risk of items being used to commit abuses of rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2)
3 SIELs for Germany, Italy and the United States were revoked where the goods were for onward export to Venezuela following the introduction of restrictive measures by the EU in 2017 (Criterion 1).
2 SIELs and 13 OIEL destinations for Venezuela were revoked following the introduction of restrictive measures by the EU in 2017 (Criterion 1).
1 OIEL had three destinations revoked (Hong Kong, Mongolia and Taiwan), having been issued in error.
1 SIEL for Iraq was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion (Criterion 7)
1 SIEL for Bangladesh was revoked following the provision of additional technical information on the capabilities of the equipment, giving rise to concerns over rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2)
1 OIEL destination for Belarus was revoked because of the risk of contravening EU financial sanctions including asset freezes (Criterion 1)
2 SIELs for China were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion (Criteria 5a and 7)
1 SIEL and 3 OIEL destinations for Myanmar (Burma) were revoked following the expansion of EU Sanctions there in 2018 (Criterion 1)
1 OIEL had 31 destinations revoked (Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, New Caledonia and Dependencies, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, St Helena, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Uruguay), having been issued in error.
6 SIELs for China were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion (Criteria 5a and 7), 4 of these SIELs were initially suspended.
1 SIEL for Pakistan was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a WMD programme (Criterion 1)
2 SIELs for Sweden and Saudi Arabia and 2 OIEL destination for Jordan and Saudi Arabia were revoked because they were contrary to Secretary of State’s commitment to Parliament that no new licences would be granted for export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia or its coalition partners for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.
1 OIEL destination for Saudi Arabia was revoked because of the risk of internal repression and violations of rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2a)
2 OITCLs for Sierra Leone had goods revoked because the licences were issued in error (Criterion 1).
1 SIEL for Turkey was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1 and 7)
1 SIEL for Uganda was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1 and 7)
1 SIEL and 1 OIEL destination for Iraq was revoked following a change of situation in country and the risk of items being used to commit abuses of rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2)
3 SIELs for Israel were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1, 5a and 7)
3 SIELs for South Africa, Spain and Jordan, 3 SIELs for the United Arab Emirates and 1 OIEL destination for the United Arab Emirates were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1 and 7)
In seeking to be open with the Hon. Lady, this data is provided from management information and may, therefore, not align with published official statistics. My department has identified some instances where revocations were not reported. For example, following the introduction of EU restrictive measures in 2017, we revoked Venezuela from 13 OIELs, but five were not reported. My department has identified the cause of this and put in place measures to ensure there is no re-occurrence. The data will align with the next official statistics update and the official estimates will be revised.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-16/115685arms sales; arms licences; iHL; international law
16 December 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support transparent and independent investigations into reports of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations by armed groups and security forces in the Sahel region and (b) develop a strategic response to resolve that situationChi Onwurah, Newcastle upon Tyne Central, LabourThe UK is deeply concerned about the increasing allegations of human rights abuses and violations committed by a range of actors across the Sahel. We have been using our seat at the UN Security Council and our diplomatic presence in the region to push for greater accountability and increased compliance of human rights and international humanitarian law by national and regional security forces. I have urged relevant governments across the Sahel to carry out full investigations into allegations and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. With our recent deployment to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, and as one of the largest humanitarian donors to the region, the protection of civilians is at the heart of the UK response.

We are also committed to strengthened civil-military coordination. On 15 October, in the lead up to the Ministerial Roundtable on the Central Sahel, I opened a UK co-hosted side event with the Norwegian Refugee Council and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), that focused on the need for more effective civil-military dialogue. We are taking forward the outcomes of this event. The UK has also provided bilateral funding to support the implementation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force's human rights compliance framework.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-08/126872deployments; UK troops in Mali; extrajudicial killing; international human rights law; IHL
15 December 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans the Government has to develop systems that operate without human intervention in the weapon command and control chain.Alyn Smith, SNP, StirlingThe United Kingdom has no intention of developing systems which operate without any human intervention in the weapon command and control chain.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-10/128272Technology; Remote Warfare
14 December 2020Overall, this is clearly a welcome mission, [referring to UK's deployment of troops as a part of UN peacekeeping mission in Mali] even if it is very unfortunate that Mali requires such intervention. It is welcome that the UK continues to play a global role. It is also notable that so much of that role is with our allies, including France and Sweden. Can the Minister reassure the House that, as we move forward, such security relationships will continue to be as deep and fully fledged as they have been? Those relations matter, regardless of the UK’s relations with the European Union. If the deployment to Mali fully reflects what our service men and women should be doing, sending the Navy to deal with French fishermen is perhaps not the best use of our resources.The noble Lord also raised the important issue of how we work with other forces from contributing countries and allies. Indeed, the noble Baroness also talked about that and about our security relationships. I commend them both: they have touched on something really significant. At the heart of this is the fact that we are part of a United Nations mission and we are proud to play our role. We want to be a positive influence to help those countries that have suffered such insurgency and insurrection, particularly Mali, to move on to a better and more stable course. We want that because it is good not just for Mali but for the broader security of the region and the world at large. As the noble Lord alluded to, if we can bring greater stability to that area, we can begin to introduce more robust political processes. If we look at the country’s infrastructure, a great deal of progress has been made in taking the country forward.

The noble Lord and the noble Baroness will be aware that we work closely with France in particular. We are part of the Operation Barkhane mission, which is operative in the Sahel. Unlike MINUSMA, Barkhane is a counterterrorism mission, of course. It has a different purpose but it is an example of the importance of working with allies whom we know well, with whom we get on and with whom we are very proud to work in partnership to improve the overall situation.
https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-12-14/debates/9239E953-2B13-42B6-A1C9-AA72A6F4AF98/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=troops%20deployed#contribution-ED57B969-6F3F-4206-B966-9DB568C570DDassets and deployments; UK troops in Mali; MINUSMA; stabilisation unit
14 December 2020The Statement tells us that the region in which our troops [in Mali] are deployed is the worst place on earth to be an adolescent girl as it accounts for 7% of the world’s population of primary-age girls who are not in education. What plans, if any, do we have to help address this?Lourd Touhig, LabourIt is the case that women have been badly impacted by the consequences of the instability and turmoil. However, it is also the case that there is some cause for optimism. Over the past five years, we have seen progress. Widespread fighting between the parties has not returned, the reconstitution of a national army from members of the former armed groups and—this is the important point—the inclusion of women in the peace process, including MINUSMA’s role as mediator, have been critical to this relative stability. Important points were made about the position of women, how such civil unrest can impact on them and how we can do our best, as a contributing country, to encourage a more enhanced role for women.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-12-14/debates/9239E953-2B13-42B6-A1C9-AA72A6F4AF98/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=troops%20deployed#contribution-ED57B969-6F3F-4206-B966-9DB568C570DDinternational humanitarian law; assistant; UK troops in Mali; MINUSMA; UN Peacekeeping
14 December 2020We are told that our 300-strong Light Dragoons task group [deployed in Mali] will be helping protect people from violence and encouraging political dialogue. Can the Minister tell us something about the latter role of encouraging political dialogue that our forces will engage in?Lord Touhig, LabourThe noble Lord, Lord Touhig, raised the issue of encouraging political dialogue and how we might contribute to the need for construction and engineering skills. I say to him that the whole reason that the United Kingdom is contributing to this United Nations mission in Mali is that the underlying instability means that it is very difficult, in the face of that turbulence, to move on to the more positive and constructive issues to which he refers. We recognise that while our contribution to the security response is important, security interventions alone will not address the instability in the Sahel. We continue to advocate for state-led progress on the peace process in Mali, and for political and institutional reform in the wider region, with greater ownership and leadership of reform efforts by G5 Governments. I reassure the noble Lord that he raises an important point, but the priority at the moment is trying to address the issues of instability and lack of security.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-12-14/debates/9239E953-2B13-42B6-A1C9-AA72A6F4AF98/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=troops%20deployed#contribution-ED57B969-6F3F-4206-B966-9DB568C570DDassets and deployments; UK troops in Mali; MINUSMA; stabilisation unit
14 December 2020Returning to the matter raised by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig, the rules of engagement are extremely important in a theatre of the kind we are discussing. Will the forces there deployed [in Mali] be acting under the rules of engagement of the United Kingdom or the United Nations?Baroness Goldie, ConservativeMy understanding is that the direct line of command will be to the overall commander, Lieutenant-General Gyllensporre. But, obviously, our deployment unit has a commanding officer as well. As for specific rules of engagement, these would not normally be disclosed, but I seek to reassure the noble Lord that there is clarity as to why our deployment is there, what it is there to do and how it is intended it should do that.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-12-14/debates/9239E953-2B13-42B6-A1C9-AA72A6F4AF98/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=number%20troops%20deployed#contribution-ED57B969-6F3F-4206-B966-9DB568C570DDinternational humanitarian law; assistance; rules of engagement; UK troops in Mali
14 December 2020...we welcome “the UK’s increased attention to instability in the Sahel” and its decision to contribute troops to the MINUSMA mission. However, we received evidence that “the UK still had ‘lessons to learn from Iraq and Afghanistan’, including those relating to equipment, regional understanding and engagement with local counterparts.” Can my noble friend the Minister say what the MoD has learned from that experience, which is now informing its approach to the support we are giving to MINUSMA’s important mission?Baroness Anelay of St Johns, Conservative
Our Armed Forces are professional and well trained. This is a United Nations mission, so they are under the command of Lieutenant General Gyllensporre, who is the Swedish commanding officer. I say to the noble Baroness that, yes, previous conflicts have identified the particular challenges of operating in difficult terrain—in coping with extremes of heat or cold—and lessons have been learned from that. I reassure my noble friend that our Armed Forces and their commanding officers are very mindful of that before asking troops to deploy to any region in the world.
https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-12-14/debates/9239E953-2B13-42B6-A1C9-AA72A6F4AF98/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=number%20troops%20deployed#contribution-ED57B969-6F3F-4206-B966-9DB568C570DDassets and deployments; UK troops in Mali; MINUSMA; stabilisation unit
14 December 2020...One issue that the committee kept coming across was a difficulty in understanding whether the Government actually had a strategy for Africa. It would be helpful to understand from the Minister how far [deployment of UK troops in] Mali fits into such a strategy. Clearly, the UK is playing an important role here as part of a UN mission, but does that fit as part of the Government’s wider strategy?Baroness Smith of Newnham, Lib DemThe noble Lord and the noble Baroness asked what our objectives are. The Foreign Secretary recently chaired a review process looking at all the strands of the UK ODA budget. The review safeguarded support for five ODA priorities: the very poorest—that is, poverty reduction for the bottom billion; climate change; girls’ education, which will, I hope, reassure the noble Lord and the noble Baroness; Covid-19; and the role of Britain globally as a force for goodhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-12-14/debates/9239E953-2B13-42B6-A1C9-AA72A6F4AF98/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=number%20troops%20deployed#contribution-ED57B969-6F3F-4206-B966-9DB568C570DDassets and deployments; UK troops in Mali; MINUSMA; stabilisation unit
11 December 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made for the implications of her policy of her policies of the report from the UN Group of Experts on Yemen on its decision to resume the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat, Richmond ParkHM Government is always concerned to learn of allegations such as those contained in the Group of Eminent Experts’ latest report. The United Kingdom urges the parties to the conflict to investigate these allegations, to take action to uphold rights and responsibilities, and to co-operate with the Group in future. We take our export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-11/128711Partner AssistanceYemen; Saudi Arabia
10 December 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of supporting a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems.Alyn Smith, SNP, StirlingThe UK considers the extant international legal framework on the development, assurance and deployment of military systems as sufficient.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-10/128271Technology; Remote Warfare; Law
9 December 2020Since the Government first announced the intention to deploy these troops in July 2019, however, Mali has become more complex, less stable, more violent. This deployment is rightly limited; what measures must be met for the Government to judge it a success, are there circumstances in which the Government would widen the scope or increase the size of this UK military mission, and could troops in this UN deployment also serve in the distinct and complementary French-led Barkhane mission?

John Healey, Labour, Wentworth and DearneThere is no scope to widen the size of our force; we are limited by what the UN requires of us. There is also no scope for us to decide unilaterally, as the United Kingdom, that we want to do more; we are within the UN’s mission. MINUSMA and Operation Barkhane are entirely separate; there is no opportunity to flex one from the other, as to do so would be to break the rules on UN peacekeeping contingents. In any case, the missions are so different; Barkhane is a more offensive, counter-terrorism operation, chasing both JNIM—Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin—and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara around not only Mali, but Burkina Faso and Niger. MINUSMA is a Mali-only peacekeeping operation led by the UNhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=uk%20troops#contribution-80F7195B-BE20-4A10-A761-D893195584B4MINUSMA; stabilisation unit; UK Troops in Mali; assets and deployments;
9 December 2020Let me say at the outset, as I said to the House on Monday, that Labour strongly supports this commitment of UK troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, and we do so with our eyes wide open to the risks they face...
...The Minister rightly said today that deploying “to MINUSMA does not come without risk.” The UN has described this as its most dangerous mission, with 227 personnel killed since 2013, so what assessment has he made of these risks and what specific steps have been taken to reduce them? Last week the French base in Mali at Gao was attacked; where will our troops be stationed and how secure will the British base be?
John Healey, Labour, Wentworth and DearneThe right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to pick up on the line in my statement that says that this mission is not without risk. This is a dangerous part of the world in which to be operating. It is because it is such a dangerous part of the world that the case for being there as part of a peacekeeping force is so easily made. We should be clear that, despite all the training, all the equipment and all the mitigations that we will put in place—I will explain some of those in a second—our troops are accepting a risk to life and limb in serving in the Sahel, and we thank them for that. We genuinely believe that it is in the interests of the UK and the people of Mali that we contribute to that mission.

We have recognised that in previous deployments perhaps there has been a gung-ho willingness to expand the mission quickly and get on with things without fully understanding the realities of the threat on the ground and how that manifests itself in relation to military operations. In this first rotation—the first six months—we will be expecting the Light Dragoons battle group to deploy and to find its way in the immediate vicinity of Gao, the city in which the UN camp where they will be based is. If, over time, we come to understand that they can operate at range, we will consider that on its merits, depending on the mission design from the UN force commander. Our intention is to find our way slowly, to build our confidence and our understanding, and then to grow the mission, within the confines of MINUSMA. It is important to stress that there is no UK agency in being able just to decide what we do; we are under the command of the UN force commander.
https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=uk%20troops#contribution-80F7195B-BE20-4A10-A761-D893195584B4MINUSMA; stabilisation unit; UK Troops in Mali; assets and deployments;
9 December 2020This is the latest in a long line of peacekeeping and humanitarian missions undertaken by our armed forces with the support of this Conservative Government. Does my hon. Friend agree that, thanks to this Government’s support of our armed forces, in words and in actions, they have been able to deliver an immeasurable impact on the lives of those most in need of security and stability across the world?Suzanne Webb, Stourbridge, ConservativeYes, I do. This is in addition to Defence’s contribution to the life of the United Kingdom this year, of which we are very proud. Within the next week or two, our armed forces will be actively involved in peacekeeping operations in Mali, in addition to all that Defence is doing at home in response to covid, in addition to all that the Royal Navy is doing to protect the UK’s interests around the world, and what we are doing in Afghanistan, and what we are doing in Iraq, and, and, and, and, and. Our armed forces are a fantastic example of the very best of British and we in this Government are delighted to be supporting them in their endeavours.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CEBBB9EF-35E1-40F7-B705-54F845023F28UK troops in Mali; deployment
9 December 2020Reports from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that 230 children were recruited by armed groups in Mali in the first half of 2020 alone, compared with 215 cases in the whole of 2019, are deeply concerning. What steps are the Government taking with international partners to help to protect vulnerable children who have been taken advantage of in this way and to ensure the sustainability that the Minister referred to in his statement?Wendy Chamberlain, North East Fife, LDThe hon. Lady makes a very important point. The recruitment of children to the conflict is something we abhor. I refer her to the answer that I gave to the SNP spokesman on our enthusiasm for growing our human security capability. Those human security officers are within the force to deliver exactly this sort of thing—to recognise the needs of women, protect vulnerable children and ensure that the needs of the whole community are considered as we go through peacekeeping missions such as this.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CEBBB9EF-35E1-40F7-B705-54F845023F28UK troops in Mali; deployment; peacekeeping missions; international human rights law
9 December 2020At heart, all UK Defence operations are focused on building stability and security worldwide, from which all nations and people are able to benefit. Can my hon. Friend assure me and the House that, thanks to the record spending review, we will be able to continue to contribute to global safety and prosperity in the years to come?Mr Gagan Mohindra, South West Hertfordshire, ConservativeI can, and what we aim to do, through a more forward presence of our armed forces around the world, is find ourselves in a position whereby we can more easily respond to the needs of different regions where there are UK interests or where the UK simply needs to be a force for good, alongside friends and allies in the international community. This integrated review gets after exactly the problem my hon. Friend describes, and we are excited about what the opportunities in the IR mean for us to do the right thing in different parts of the world in future.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CEBBB9EF-35E1-40F7-B705-54F845023F28deployment; deployment of UK troops
9 December 2020The Sahel is a complicated place. It has a lot of long-term problems in terms of both security and long-term development and governance. I appreciate that the Minister says this is a three-year deployment, but is he confident that the UN has criteria and definitions of success in which we can be confident, and an exit strategy for the mission?Jeff Smith, Manchetser, Withington, LabourThe Algeria accords still set the conditions for the both the political and military response of the United Nations. I do not think anybody involved in the UN political mission in Bamako would dispute that the coup and political instability in Mali over a number of years have made the political mission very challenging, but that does not affect, necessarily, the duration of this military commitment. The way that UN peacekeeping missions work is that you sign up to do your turn, and we have done so. That notwithstanding, we of course want to see greater success from the political mission and an enduring political stability in Bamako, so that the UN mission can succeed.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CEBBB9EF-35E1-40F7-B705-54F845023F28deployment of UK troops; UK troops in Mali; UN peacekeeping mission
9 December 2020It is not, of course, for MPs to dig into the tactical weeds of military deployments, but given the vast lines of communication in Mali can the Minister please assure the House that British forces will be operating with sufficient mass, force protection and an effective reserve to deal with a potent insurgency?James Sunderland, Bracknell, ConservativeThere speaketh a voice of great experience. My hon. Friend’s caution is well noted. He will be reassured to know that, as I said in my statement, we will start with the first rotation focusing on understanding the ground immediately around Gao. As we develop that understanding, grow in confidence and develop our in-country ability to support ourselves at greater range, then we will expand the mission as the UN mission commander requires.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CEBBB9EF-35E1-40F7-B705-54F845023F28deployment of UK troops; UK troops in Mali; UN peacekeeping mission
9 December 2020In the ’90s, Britain was one of the largest troop-deploying nations for UN peacekeeping forces and now we are not. This is 5% or thereabouts of what Bangladesh, the largest troop-deploying nation and one of the poorest countries in the world, contributes. While the money the Government have agreed to invest in our armed forces is welcome, it does not include an increase in personnel and it does not include an increase in reservists—in fact, the opposite. Will the Minister look at changing some of that, and will he consider the fact that troops might help to stop violence but they do not bring peace? Development does, so what are the Government doing to make sure development money pours into this country so that our troops can leave it stable?Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Brighton, Kemptown, LabourOn the last point first, I do not think that anybody in uniform within the Ministry of Defence or even MOD Ministers would pretend that a military solution uniquely is the answer to any of the world’s problems. Of course, the military sets the conditions within which prosperity and a political process can succeed. The hon. Gentleman also makes the excellent point that the campaigns of the past few years in the Balkans, Iran and Afghanistan have consumed UK military effort to the detriment of our contribution to peacekeeping missions. One of the great opportunities afforded by the end of major combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan is that we now have the mass available to support very worthwhile missions like this one in Mali.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CEBBB9EF-35E1-40F7-B705-54F845023F28UK troops in Mali; UN peacekeeping missions; deployment
9 December 2020In order to ensure that this peacekeeping mission does not become permanent, may I ask my hon. Friend what steps he is taking in conjunction with our partners in the UN to support the Government and armed forces in Mali with investment, equipment and training so that they can tackle the jihadist threat in the longer term?Scott Benton, Blackpool South, ConservativeIt is not part of the UN MINUSMA explicitly to be developing the capability of the Malian armed forces, but that clearly has to be a part of delivering a lasting peace in Mali, and the political mission does, of course, have within it security sector reform. I have said that our exit from Mali is time-limited, based on the three-year commitment, but what we hope to do as part of the MOD’s wider effort in west Africa is to develop during that time the capability of other west African states, so that they are better able to replace us in three years’ time as the troop-contributing nations in Mali. We think that that is the right way both to deliver success within the mission itself and to ensure that the mission continues to succeed in our absence, after we have gone.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CEBBB9EF-35E1-40F7-B705-54F845023F28UK troops in Mali; UN peacekeeping missions; deployment
9 December 2020According to the UN, about 12.9 million people are affected by the crisis in Mali, with 6.8 million in need of humanitarian assistance. Does the Minister agree that the situation highlights a strategic weakness inherent in the UK’s cutting international aid budgets?Martyn Day, Linlithgow and East Falkirk, SNPNo, I am not sure that I do. I think it highlights the success of being a part of a successful UN mission that is resourced in terms of its ability to make political progress, and that it is adequately resourced to make military progress. I am confident that the military part of MINUSMA is well resourced, and the UK will play an important part within it. As I said in response to a number of hon. Members’ questions about the political mission, we just need the politics in Mali to stabilise so that the UN political mission can gain traction too.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CEBBB9EF-35E1-40F7-B705-54F845023F28UK troops in Mali; UN peacekeeping missions; deployment
9 December 2020It is absolutely right that the UK should play its part in this, but MINUSMA is the most costly of the UN’s peacekeeping missions, it is the most dangerous, and it is arguably one of the least successful. Furthermore, Mali can hardly be said to be a country of primary interest to the United Kingdom. Can the Minister assure me that our involvement will be largely technical and logistical in nature, that it will be modest, rather like our engagement with Operation Barkhane, and that we will not be subject to mission creep?Dr Andrew Murrison, South West Wiltshire, ConservativeI can reassure my right hon. Friend that there will be no mission creep. This is a UN mission and our role is confined to that. I cannot, however, tell him that it is limited to logistical and technical involvement. This specialist reconnaissance force has been committed to MINUSMA precisely to provide an ability to understand where the threat is and to deliver a population-centric peacekeeping mission. This is time-limited and necessary. I accept that there is no obvious UK interest in Mali itself, but there is a great deal to be said for being there: first, because the humanitarian situation requires it; and, secondly, because the Sahel is a huge space on Europe’s southern flank in which violence is flourishing, and it is in the interests neither of countries in Europe nor of countries in coastal west Africa, where the UK has more obvious interests, that we do not work against the violence in the Sahel, but see it exported to places where the UK has more obvious interests.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-12-09/debates/EC6E8467-4797-4EF1-BD58-8C3F4AB49711/UNMissionInMaliArmedForcesDeployment?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CEBBB9EF-35E1-40F7-B705-54F845023F28mission creep; deployment; deployments; UK troops in Mali; UN peacekeeping missions
3 December 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the Draft Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from Humanitarian Harm arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas published on 17 March 2020; and if he will make a statement.Dan Jarvis, Labour, Barnsley CentralHer Majesty's Government officials have played a key role in the development of the political declaration. Covid-19 restrictions mean that in-person discussions are currently unable to take place, although the UK continues to engage civil society and states bilaterally.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-03/124753Protection of civilians
3 December 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the Safe Schools Declaration on the number of child deaths in conflict.Dan Jarvis, Labour, Barnsley CentralThe Safe Schools Declaration (Declaration) has successfully shifted mind-sets globally on the impact of attacks and military occupation of educational infrastructure. The UK strongly supports the Declaration and other efforts aimed at promoting and protecting children's right to education and facilitating its continuation in conflict. Since the UK's endorsement of the Declaration, 32 additional states have endorsed, bringing the total number of supporting states to 106. Through our membership of the UNSC Children and Armed Conflict Working Group, the UK supports the work of the UN to end all violations against children, including pressing states to ensure that educational facilities and related personnel are protected, in line with the Declaration, and monitoring progress. Progress is incremental but positive change is visible. For example, the overall reported incidents of military use of schools and universities declined between 2015 and 2018 in the 12 countries that endorsed the Declaration in 2015. In July 2020, the Syrian Democratic Forces issued an order to all commanders to 'refrain from using schools for military purposes and placing equipment near them, and subsequently vacated ten schools. In August, Mali's Government reminded the armed forces of their commitments under the Declaration to avoid using any school currently vacant due to the COVID-19 pandemic for military purposes. This progress is welcome but we know more needs to be done to drive tangible change. The UK continues to call upon all UN Member States to endorse and fully implement the Declaration.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-03/124755Protection of civilians
2 December 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the trends in the number of children (a) killed and (b) maimed by the use of explosive weapons in conflict zones over the last 10 years, and if he will make a statement.Dan Jarvis, Labour, Barnsley CentralThe UK's objectives on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) are primarily pursued through our engagement with the UN. The UK is an active permanent member of the UN Security Council Working Group on CAAC, which leads the international response to violations committed against children in conflict. These violations include: the killing and maiming of children, including by the use of explosive weapons. The Working Group focuses on responding to the UN Secretary-General's annual report and country specific reports on CAAC which assess the treatment of children within conflict zones and list governments and armed groups for committing grave violations against children. At the UN Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on 23 June, the UK reaffirmed our commitment to tackling violations against children in armed conflict and highlighted the need for a transparent and credible framework for accountability based on a standardised and evidence-backed approach to de-listing and listing of state and non-state actors for violations.The UK is the largest single financial contributor to the office of the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General (SRSG) for CAAC, contributing £1.3m over the last six years in support of her core mandate. The UK increased its funding to £550,000 in FY20/21. This includes the funding of the SRSG's visits, political engagements, technical missions to support UN Country Taskforces on Monitoring and Reporting who collect information, assess trends, respond to grave violations and engage in advocacy, notably to negotiate and implement Action Plans to end the recruitment and use of children. For FY 19/20, the UK also funded Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict to produce two reports on "Defending and Upholding the Children and Armed Conflict Agenda: Advocacy for Children's Rights" and "A Credible List": Recommendations for the Secretary-General's 2020 Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict," in support of securing greater accountability for violations of children's rights in conflict.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-02/124193Protection of civilians
2 December 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to develop UK offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.Damian Collins, Conservative, Folkestone and HytheThe Ministry of Defence has funded programmes to mitigate cyber risks against our platforms, weapon systems and core digital infrastructure. And building on the National Offensive Cyber Programme, the new National Cyber Force will design and deliver cyber operations, from supporting warfighting operations to countering serious crime and combatting terrorism. We are developing a cyber-aware workforce to embed cyber security into our business and operations, and establishing a dedicated career stream for our most highly-skilled military cyber professionals for which various possible remunerative options are being explored.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-02/909799Technology
23 November 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the UK's licensing of arms sales to Saudi Arabia on the (a) peace process and (b) humanitarian situation in Yemen.Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and AbingdonThe Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and every licence application is rigorously assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export licensing Criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. We will not issue any export licences when there is a clear risk of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law. We fully support the peace process led by the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, and urge the parties to engage constructively with him. A political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and to address the worsening humanitarian crisis. The humanitarian situation is dire, especially given the risk of famine. The UK has shown extensive leadership in response, committing £200 million in aid this financial year, which takes our total commitment to over £1 billion since the conflict began in 2015.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-23/119358Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; Yemen
20 November 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the role of Keenie Meenie Services in alleged historical war crimes in Sri Lanka.Ms Lyn Brown, West Ham, LabourThe UK takes very seriously the allegations raised in relation to the employment of Keenie Meenie Services Ltd by the Government of Sri Lanka during the conflict in Sri Lanka.

The Metropolitan Police War Crimes Team have launched an investigation into war crimes alleged to have been committed by British mercenaries in Sri Lanka during the 1980s, in accordance with the Crown Prosecution Service's published guidelines for referrals of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office are assisting the police in relation to this matter, including by sharing relevant documents. We are not able to provide further comment on the details of the investigation, as it is ongoing.

The UK Government will continue to press for truth, reconciliation, accountability and justice for all victims of the Sri Lankan civil war, including those allegedly affected by Keenie Meenie Services' activities.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-12/114808war crimes; IHL; international law; justice for victims
18 November 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 30 July (HL7182), whether RAF drones used on operations outside of Operation Shader are being used in support of NATO operations or missions.Baroness SternREAPER is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. We do not comment on intelligence matters and I am therefore withholding the information as its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-09/hl10122deployments and assets; operation shader
18 November 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 30 July (HL7182), whether RAF drones used on operations outside of Operation Shader are being used in support of NATO operations or missions.

Baroness SternREAPER is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. We do not comment on intelligence matters and I am therefore withholding the information as its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-09/hl10122Operation Shader; assets and deployments; deployments; RAF
17 November 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Royal Saudi Air Force pilot Mahna al-Biz received training from armed forces personnel in (a) the UK and (b) Saudi Arabia before 13 September 2017.Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Brighton, Kemptown, LabourThe hon. Member's question is assumed to refer to Lt Col Muhanna Al-Baiz, who completed Typhoon conversion training in the UK, delivered by RAF personnel, in 2011 - 2012.

Lt Col Al-Baiz would have received routine continuation training in Saudi Arabia, some of which will likely have been from BAE Systems pilots, including RAF personnel on secondment to the company.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-12/115042depyloemnts; RAF
16 November 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to discuss (1) arms control, and (2) arms trade limitation, with the government of Saudi Arabia, including at the next G20 summit.Lord Hylton, CrossbenchThe UK participated in the G20 Summit, where the Prime Minister set out his priorities of a coordinated global health response to the pandemic, a sustainable economic recovery, and ambitious action against climate change. As current G20 President, Saudi Arabia played a vital role in delivering a communique agreement on affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The UK strongly supports the various arms control instruments to which it is a party, as such we regularly call on all States which have not yet done so, to accede to these instruments as soon as possible. The UK takes its export control responsibilities and obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty extremely seriously. We assess all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. The UK regularly raises the importance of International Humanitarian Law and of conducting thorough and conclusive investigations into alleged violations with Saudi Arabia, including at senior levelshttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-16/hl10346Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
16 November 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many times the Government has suspended or revoked an existing Arms Export licence in the last five years; what the grounds were for those actions; and which countries those licences were for.Emma Lewell-Buck, Labour, South ShieldsSince 2015, we have taken revocation action 74 times on individual licences; and suspended licences, pending further investigations, four times.I have provided the Hon. Lady with instances below where a licence was revoked in full; where a country was removed; where goods were removed; or where goods for a country were removed. 9 SIELs for Ukraine were revoked following increasing tensions in the region (Criterion 3).
3 SIELs for Yemen and 1 OIEL destination were revoked further to the deteriorating situation in-country and the risk of diversion (Criteria 3, 7)
1 OIEL had seven destinations revoked (Taiwan, Spain, Qatar, Greece, Canada, Australia and Afghanistan) when extended beyond its original validity date.
1 OIEL has one destination revoked (Isle of Man) having been issued in error.
1 OIEL had three destinations revoked (Japan, Norway and Switzerland) due to the sensitivity of the goods (Criterion 5)
1 SIEL for the Philippines was revoked following a change of situation in country and the risk of items being used to commit abuses of rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2)
3 SIELs for Germany, Italy and the United States were revoked where the goods were for onward export to Venezuela following the introduction of restrictive measures by the EU in 2017 (Criterion 1).
2 SIELs and 13 OIEL destinations for Venezuela were revoked following the introduction of restrictive measures by the EU in 2017 (Criterion 1).
1 OIEL had three destinations revoked (Hong Kong, Mongolia and Taiwan), having been issued in error.
1 SIEL for Iraq was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion (Criterion 7)
1 SIEL for Bangladesh was revoked following the provision of additional technical information on the capabilities of the equipment, giving rise to concerns over rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2)
1 OIEL destination for Belarus was revoked because of the risk of contravening EU financial sanctions including asset freezes (Criterion 1)
2 SIELs for China were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion (Criteria 5a and 7)
1 SIEL and 3 OIEL destinations for Myanmar (Burma) were revoked following the expansion of EU Sanctions there in 2018 (Criterion 1)
1 OIEL had 31 destinations revoked (Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, New Caledonia and Dependencies, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, St Helena, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Uruguay), having been issued in error.
6 SIELs for China were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion (Criteria 5a and 7), 4 of these SIELs were initially suspended.
1 SIEL for Pakistan was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a WMD programme (Criterion 1)
2 SIELs for Sweden and Saudi Arabia and 2 OIEL destination for Jordan and Saudi Arabia were revoked because they were contrary to Secretary of State’s commitment to Parliament that no new licences would be granted for export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia or its coalition partners for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.
1 OIEL destination for Saudi Arabia was revoked because of the risk of internal repression and violations of rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2a)
2 OITCLs for Sierra Leone had goods revoked because the licences were issued in error (Criterion 1).
1 SIEL for Turkey was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1 and 7)
1 SIEL for Uganda was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1 and 7)
1 SIEL and 1 OIEL destination for Iraq was revoked following a change of situation in country and the risk of items being used to commit abuses of rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2)
3 SIELs for Israel were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1, 5a and 7)
3 SIELs for South Africa, Spain and Jordan, 3 SIELs for the United Arab Emirates and 1 OIEL destination for the United Arab Emirates were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1 and 7). In seeking to be open with the Hon. Lady, this data is provided from management information and may, therefore, not align with published official statistics. My department has identified some instances where revocations were not reported. For example, following the introduction of EU restrictive measures in 2017, we revoked Venezuela from 13 OIELs, but five were not reported. My department has identified the cause of this and put in place measures to ensure there is no re-occurrence. The data will align with the next official statistics update and the official estimates will be revised.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-16/115685Partner Assistance
10 November 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on UK defence exports of the increasing proportion of US-made equipment procured by his Department.Kevan Jones, Labour, North DurhamUK Defence equipment is highly regarded; this view is also reflected in the statistics recently released by the Department for International Trade's Defence Security Exports Organisation which show that the UK is ranked 2nd in the global rankings and in 2019 won defence orders worth £11 billion. The UK Armed Forces equipment needs are many and varied and so it is right that we source the best kit available for them, whether that be from the UK, US or somewhere else, whilst delivering value for money for the taxpayer. The Department is looking at how the UK Defence Sector can best support the equipment programme into the future through the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-10/113501Partner AssistanceUnited States
3 November 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the compliance with the 1992 OSCE arms embargo on Nagorno-Karabakh of the supply of equipment by EDO MBM Technology Ltd to Turkey; and what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports that that equipment has been used in drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh area since September 2020.Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat, BathHMG considers all export applications against the Consolidated Criteria which provides a strict assessment framework and we keep all licences under careful and continual review. HMG complies with the OSCE arms embargo relating to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is considered as part of our export licensing process. We have not issued licences contrary to the arms embargo. We continue to monitor developments in the region closely.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-03/110885Partner Assistance; Technology; Remote WarfareNagorno-Karabakh
3 November 2020Does the hon. Member share my worry that potentially putting our armed forces up against the International Criminal Court could be the beginning of a path to undermining the Court itself? It is quite easy to see a situation where British service personnel are investigated, and then Conservative Members start braying for us to leave the Court in its entirety.Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Brighton, Kemptown, LabourThat is exactly the slippery slope I fear we are on. I hate the phrase “the thin end of the wedge”, but I am afraid that it rather fits where we are with this Bill and this Government. We have those senior opinions in military, legal and political circles against the Bill. That is before we get to the recent damning report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which made clear the number of flaws in the Bill.

I am conscious of time, so I will conclude. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Tom Tugendhat), suggested that, were we to change our defence posture with regard to training or peacekeeping in supporting Ukraine, we could be subject to what he called “a Russian hand” trying to take legal action here—no doubt that Russian hand is a Tory donor. That is exactly the kind of thing that would see UK personnel further exposed to the International Criminal Court.
https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-11-03/debates/FB4C7182-567C-49B9-A7DE-EFE9EC75B9B4/OverseasOperations(ServicePersonnelAndVeterans)Bill?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-745CA473-4A96-4B37-9D14-B1A879AE8D64overseas operation bill; IHL violations; investigations into UK forces
2 November 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government has taken to prevent potential torture as required by the (a) UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and (b) its other obligations under international law in the cases of British citizens imprisoned in Iran.Tulip Siddiq, Hampstead and kilburn, LabourWe have consistently made clear our absolute opposition to torture and our determination to combat it wherever and whenever it occurs. We take all allegations and/or concerns of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of British citizens detained overseas very seriously and will follow up with action, as appropriate. Torture prevention remains central to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's human rights work and we will continue to actively contribute to international efforts to prevent torture globally.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-22/107701torture; IHL; IHL violations
2 November 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to cases of torture of British citizens imprisoned overseas, what legal obligations the UK has to take action to prevent further torture under the (a) European Convention on Human Rights and (b) UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.Tulip Siddiq, Hampstead and kilburn, LabourThere is an absolute prohibition of torture in international law, including Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. It is so fundamental a principle of international law that it is accepted by states as a norm from which no derogation is permitted even if a state has not ratified a treaty prohibiting torture. We have consistently made clear our absolute opposition to such behaviour and our determination to combat it wherever and whenever it occurs. We take all allegations and/or concerns of torture and CIDT of British citizens detained overseas very seriously and will follow up with action, as appropriate. Torture prevention remains central to the FCDO's human rights work and we will continue to actively contribute to international efforts to prevent torture globally.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-22/107700torture; international law
30 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Home Office, what counter UAV technology is available to close protection details assigned to travelling Government (a) VVIPs and (b) foreign missions.Adam Holloway, Conservative, GraveshamIt is our long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on the security arrangements for protected individuals. To do so could compromise the integrity of those arrangements and affect the security of the individuals concerned.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-30/109224Technology; Assets and Deployment
30 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how the research of counter UAV technology is coordinated across Government departments.Adam Holloway, Conservative, GraveshamThose engaged in work to counter the treat from drones, consists of a variety of departments including the Department for Transport, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy amongst others co-ordinated by the Home Office. Science and Technology teams within this cross-government community work collaboratively to ensure the best use of resource and collaborative problem solving. This collaboration is facilitated by an established governance system of Senior and working level boards and working groups. These strong working relationships have enabled the community to test existing and help develop future counter UAV technology and support industry to better meet the UK’s security needs.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-30/109222Technology
30 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what counter UAV technology is available to the armed forces on overseas deployments.Adam Holloway, Conservative, GraveshamWe take a multi-layered approach to the Force Protection of our personnel deployed overseas. This includes intelligence, deterrence, detection and warning, and physical protection measures, alongside capabilities to defeat specific threats. Counter-UAV equipment with specific capability requirements, including Rafael's Drone Dome system, is available to deployed UK forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-30/109223Technology; Remote Warfare; Assets and Deployment
27 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of (a) whether the beating, electrocution, suspension in painful positions, sexual violence and other forms of ill-treatment committed against detainees of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen at (i) the Mar'ib political security prison and (ii) elsewhere constitute a pattern indicating the use of physical and mental torture against prisoners detained during conflict prohibited by Article 19 of the Geneva Conventions and (b) the implications for her policies on arms export controls of the conclusion of that initial assessment.Emily Thornberry, Islington South and Finsbury, LabourWe take very seriously all allegations of breaches of the Geneva Conventions. The UK urges the parties to the conflict to investigate these allegations and take action to promote and protect international humanitarian law. The Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of international humanitarian law in connection with countries to whom arms and military equipment are licensed for export, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from Non Governmental Organisations and international organisations.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-19/105331torture; arms sales; arms licences; IHL
22 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to her written statement on Trade Update, Official Report, cols 32-34WS, what the different circumstances and reasons were for the Saudi-led coalition's (a) 2016 air strike on the Al-Wehdah school and (b) repeated air strikes on schools in Taez in Yemen over the past five years which led her to conclude that these were isolated incidents not constituting a pattern of violations of international humanitarian law.Emily Thornberry, Islington South and Finsbury, LabourAs part of the overall assessment under Criterion 2c, we have considered whether there were any patterns or trends across past incidents. In considering whether there are patterns or trends arising from those incidents that are assessed to be possible violations of IHL, particular consideration is given to whether there are similarities in the factual nature of the incidents, the reasons/explanations for them and the timescale in which they occurred. The conclusion was that these incidents did not indicate patterns of non-compliance or systemic weaknesses.

The assessment of whether it is ‘possible’ that an incident constituted a breach of international humanitarian law uses all available sources of information, including some that are necessarily confidential and sensitive. Accordingly, we are unable to go into the details of individual assessments.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-19/105325arms sales; arms licences; IHL; IHL violations
19 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what safeguards are in place to ensure that arms sold by the UK to other countries are not used on civilian populations.Baroness Hodgson, ConservativeBritish arms sales are subject to an export licence. All export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). The Consolidated Criteria take into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. They provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-19/hl9283Partner Assistance
19 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of (a) whether the Saudi-led coalition’s documented use of physical and mental torture and other forms of ill-treatment against prisoners detained during conflict is indicative of that coalition’s capacity and intent to comply with Article 19 of the Geneva Conventions and (b) the implications for her policies on arms export controls of the conclusions of that initial assessment.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyThe Government takes extremely seriously allegations of international humanitarian law violations and access restrictions. The UK urges the parties to the conflict to investigate these allegations and take action to uphold their commitments under international humanitarian law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-19/105334Partner Assistance
19 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of (a) whether the Saudi-led coalition’s documented use of (i) rockets and mortars and (ii) other indirect-fire weapon systems with wide-area impact is indicative of that coalition’s capacity and intent to comply with Article 51(4) of the 1977 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions and (b) the implications for her policies on arms export controls of the conclusion of that initial assessment.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyThe Government takes extremely seriously allegations of international humanitarian law violations and access restrictions. The UK urges the parties to the conflict to investigate these allegations and take action to uphold their commitments under international humanitarian law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-19/105333Partner Assistance; LawSaudi Arabia
19 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of (a) whether the beating, electrocution, suspension in painful positions, sexual violence and other forms of ill-treatment committed against detainees of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen at (i) the Mar'ib political security prison and (ii) elsewhere constitute a pattern indicating the use of physical and mental torture against prisoners detained during conflict prohibited by Article 19 of the Geneva Conventions and (b) the implications for her policies on arms export controls of the conclusion of that initial assessment.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyWe take very seriously all allegations of breaches of the Geneva Conventions. The UK urges the parties to the conflict to investigate these allegations and take action to promote and protect international humanitarian law. The Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of international humanitarian law in connection with countries to whom arms and military equipment are licensed for export, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from Non Governmental Organisations and international organisations.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-19/105331Partner Assistance; Law
19 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of (a) whether the use of (i) rockets and mortars and (ii) other indirect-fire weapon systems with wide-area impact by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen (A) at Al-Raqw market in Munabbih between 20 November and 24 December 2019 and (B) on other occasions constitute a pattern indicating the use of indiscriminate attacks prohibited by Article 51(4) of the 1977 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions and (b) the implications for her policies on arms export controls of the conclusion of that initial assessment.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyWe take very seriously all allegations of breaches of the Geneva Conventions. The UK urges the parties to the conflict to investigate these allegations and take action to promote and protect international humanitarian law. The Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of international humanitarian law in connection with countries to whom arms and military equipment are licensed for export, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from Non Governmental Organisations and international organisations.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-19/105330Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia; Yemen
19 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of (a) whether the (i) closure of Sana’a international airport from August 2016-February 2020 and (ii) other restrictions placed on imports of food and medicine into Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition constitute a pattern indicating the deliberate targeting of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population prohibited by Article 54 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions and (b) the implications for her policies on arms export controls of the conclusion of that initial assessment.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyWe take very seriously all allegations of breaches of the Geneva Conventions. The UK urges the parties to the conflict to investigate these allegations and take action to promote and protect international humanitarian law. The Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of international humanitarian law in connection with countries to whom arms and military equipment are licensed for export, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from Non Governmental Organisations and international organisations.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-19/105329Partner Assistance; LawYemen
19 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current status of UK arms supply arrangements with Saudi Arabia; and whether changes have been made to these arrangements in the light of the ongoing conflict in Yemen.Baroness Hodgson of Abinger, ConservativeBritish arms exports are subject to an export licence. All export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’).

As set out in my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade’s Written Statement of 7th July 2020, we have developed a revised methodology in respect of all allegations that it is assessed are likely to have occurred and to have been caused by fixed wing aircraft, reflecting the factual circumstances which court proceedings concerned and this revised methodology is in place for international humanitarian law (IHL) assessments when assessing such exports against Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria.

Criterion 2c provides that HM Government will not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL. Indeed, HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with any part of the Consolidated Criteria.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-05/hl8722arms sales; arms licences; IHL; IHL violations
14 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what safeguards exist to ensure that weapons sold to other countries are not used on civilian populationsBaroness Hodgson, ConservativeBritish arms sales are subject to an export licence. All export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). The Consolidated Criteria take into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. They provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-14/hl9189Partner Assistance
13 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of possible war crimes committed by coalition forces in Yemen after an airstrike on a home in Washah near the Yemeni–Saudi border killed six children.The Marquess of Lothian, ConservativeWe are deeply concerned by reports of civilian deaths in Washah. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from NGOs and international organisations. We use every opportunity to raise the importance of complying with IHL with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. The UK continues to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with IHL and engage constructively with the peace process led by the UN Special Envoy, which is the only way to end the cycle of violence.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-30/hl8642arms sales; arms licences; IHL; IHL violations; principle of distinction; indiscriminate bombing
12 October 2020My Lords, following the Question from the noble Baroness, Lady Tonge, and the Minister’s Answer, can he confirm the UK’s continued commitment to the principle that international humanitarian law trumps national law in situations of armed conflict, and that this applies to abortion, if sought and recommended when a woman has been raped?Baroness Northover, LibDemMy Lords, the United Kingdom remains committed to obligations of international humanitarian law and, as I said earlier, we call on other countries to respect their obligations to it. When we have differed on this issue, even from our strongest allies and at the top table—the UN Security Council—we have made known our difference and the importance of standing up for the sexual and reproductive health of all women, everywhere.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-10-12/debates/7AF18C32-7A7F-4C0A-9A9E-FC6C484AF79E/ProtectingCiviliansInArmedConflict?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-EDB4A995-732F-4A06-A7C5-103B4796688DIHL; international humanitarian law; status of IHL; violations of IHL
12 October 2020Can my noble friend the Minister tell the House whether it is still the Government’s policy to establish an independent international mechanism to investigate alleged crimes of sexual violence in conflict and what concrete progress has been made in the past two years on this?Baroness Helic, ConservativeMy Lords, while paying tribute to the work of my noble friend, let me assure her that within the context of the PSVI which I lead on for the Prime Minister, it is about strengthening justice for the survivors of sexual violence in conflict and to hold the perpetrators to account. We are seeing progress. In a survivor-centred approach, we have recently seen progress through the appointment of survivor champions. The PSVI conference, which unfortunately had to be postponed, was also focused on bringing together the expertise and insight needed to ensure that we have a centre of excellence where all the best practices can be brought together.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-10-12/debates/7AF18C32-7A7F-4C0A-9A9E-FC6C484AF79E/ProtectingCiviliansInArmedConflict?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-EDB4A995-732F-4A06-A7C5-103B4796688DIHL; IHL violations; sexual violence in conflict; investigations into IHL violations
12 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy includes (a) youth, peace and security and (b) the rights of children in (i) conflict and (ii) peacebuilding.Yasmin Qureshi, Labour, Bolton South EastThe Integrated Review will cover all aspects of international and national security policy, such as defence, diplomacy, development and national resilience. The Youth, Peace and Security agenda is an important component of the UK's work to promote human rights and support sustainable peace processes. At the UN Security Council on 14 July, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted UN Resolution 2535 on the vital role of youth in preventing and resolving conflict, as well as in building and maintaining peace. We continue to prioritise preventive diplomacy and mediation through the UN and push for greater collaboration on peacebuilding amongst international organisations. At the UN Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on 23 June, the UK reaffirmed our commitment to tackling violations against children in armed conflict and highlighted the need for a transparent and credible framework for accountability based on a standardised and evidence-backed approach to de-listing and listing of state and non-state actors for violations. We also continue to drive more concerted, coordinated and scaled-up global action across the international system to prevent gender-based violence in conflict settings. Gender equality that includes youth and children's rights will remain a core part of the Government's mission and it is at the heart of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-12/102023Protection of civilians
12 October 2020My Lords, In Nagorno-Karabakh, despite a temporary ceasefire, this NATO country is involved a deadly proxy war with civilians, including children, continuing to be targeted with heavy artillery. How can we implement the recommendations in Part 1 of the report concerning impunity and justice so that those who are in breach of international humanitarian law and continue to commit war crimes and other crimes against humanity are brought to justiceLord Alton of Liverpool, CBMy Lords, first and foremost, let me assure the noble Lord that my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has made it clear that we continue to support the work of the Minsk Group. He and the Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, issued a joint statement on 6 October calling for an immediate ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table. That must be the first step so that, as the noble Lord has rightly articulated, we can then move forward to holding the perpetrators of crimes fully to account.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-10-12/debates/7AF18C32-7A7F-4C0A-9A9E-FC6C484AF79E/ProtectingCiviliansInArmedConflict?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-EDB4A995-732F-4A06-A7C5-103B4796688DIHL Violations
7 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the value of UK arms sales to Yemen in (1) 2017, and (2) 2019.Lord Roberts, Liberal DemocratAlthough defence and security export statistics by region are published annually on GOV.UK, they do not separately identify data relating to individual countries. The Government publishes official statistics about export licences granted and refused each quarter. The data currently includes details of licences up to 31 March 2020. Data for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 was published on 13 October 2020. The data can be accessed on GOV.UK. Licences granted are not necessarily a measure of exports shipped in a given period as they are valid for between two and five years. Licensing data only provides a partial indication of sales as exporters only declare export values for a subsection of licences (Standard Individual Export Licences). Some licences expire before they are used and, in these circumstances, exporters must submit a further application, which can result in an element of double counting. All UK export licence applications are assessed rigorously against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing criteria. Export values declared for Standard Individual Export Licences for military exports granted to Yemen in 2017 and 2019 are as follows: 2017 - £21,150, 2019 - £0. It is also the case that there is a partial arms embargo on Yemen. The embargo applies only to designated individuals and entities.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-07/hl8891Partner AssistanceYemen
7 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the value of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia in (1) 2017, and (2) 2019.Lord Roberts, Liberal DemocratAlthough defence and security export statistics by region are published annually on GOV.UK, they do not separately identify data relating to individual countries.The Government publishes official statistics about export licences granted and refused each quarter. The data currently includes details of licences up to 31 March 2020. Data for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 was published on 13 October 2020. The data can be accessed on GOV.UK.It should be noted that licences granted are not necessarily a measure of sales or exports shipped in a given period as they are valid for between two and five years. Licensing data only provides a partial indication of sales as exporters only declare export values for a subsection of licences (Standard Individual Export Licences). Some licences expire before they are used and, in these circumstances, exporters must submit a further application, which can result in an element of double counting. All UK export licence applications are assessed rigorously against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing criteria.Export values declared for Standard Individual Export Licences for military exports granted to Saudi Arabia in 2017 and 2019 are as follows: 2017 - £1,133,477,661, 2019 - £638,236,675https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-07/hl8892Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
7 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 16 September (HL7733), what assessment they have made of the impact of bombing by the Israel Defence Forces on (1) the construction of pipelines and reservoirs, and (2) any other infrastructure projects, funded by international projects in Gaza.Baroness TongeWe have not made an assessment of this. The UK fully supports Israel's right to self-defence and to defend its citizens from acts of terror. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties. To address water shortages the UK is funding the construction of pipelines and reservoirs that will carry water from the planned Gaza Central Desalination Plant to households across the strip.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-21/hl8340principle of distinction; IHL; IHL violations
6 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the August 2020 monthly data from the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project in Yemen, that details 163 new civilian casualties from the ongoing conflict.Caroline Lucas, Green Party, Brighton PavillionThe Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is deeply concerned by the findings of the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project August 2020 report. We take reports of civilian casualties very seriously and we use every opportunity to raise the importance of complying with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. The UK continues to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with IHL and engage constructively with the peace process led by the UN Special Envoy, which is the only way to end the cycle of violence.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-06/99583Protection of civilians; Law; Partner Assistance
6 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the total value of arms exports from the UK to Saudi Arabia was in the last ten years.Chris Law, SNP, Dundee WestDefence and security export statistics by region – rather than individual countries – are published on GOV.UK annually. However, HM Government publishes Official Statistics about export licences granted and refused each quarter. The publicly available data on GOV.UK currently includes details of licences up to 31st March 2020; data for the period 1st April 2020 to 30th June 2020 will be published on 13th October 2020. Licensing data does not provide an accurate export value as value needs only to be declared for Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). Nonetheless, export values declared in SIELs for military exports granted to Saudi Arabia in 2019 were £638,236,675; and in the last 10 years were £9,262,769,732. Licences granted are not necessarily a measure of exports shipped in a given period though – as they are valid for between two and five years – and some such licences expire before they are used so, in these circumstances, exporters must submit a further application, which can result in double counting.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-06/99645Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
6 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the total value was of arms exports from the UK to Saudi Arabia in 2019.Chris Law, SNP, Dundee WestDefence and security export statistics by region – rather than individual countries – are published on GOV.UK annually. However, HM Government publishes Official Statistics about export licences granted and refused each quarter. The publicly available data on GOV.UK currently includes details of licences up to 31st March 2020; data for the period 1st April 2020 to 30th June 2020 will be published on 13th October 2020. Licensing data does not provide an accurate export value as value needs only to be declared for Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). Nonetheless, export values declared in SIELs for military exports granted to Saudi Arabia in 2019 were £638,236,675; and in the last 10 years were £9,262,769,732. Licences granted are not necessarily a measure of exports shipped in a given period though – as they are valid for between two and five years – and some such licences expire before they are used so, in these circumstances, exporters must submit a further application, which can result in double counting.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-06/99644Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
5 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to advocate for an implementation mechanism to give greater meaning and effect to the Draft Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from Humanitarian Harm arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas.Baroness Hodgson, ConservativeThe UK will take a view on the merits of an implementation mechanism for the Political Declaration on the Protection of Civilians in Urban Warfare once its final form is known.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-05/hl8720Protection of civilians
5 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether non-use against civilians is a condition of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia.Baroness Hodgson, ConservativeBritish arms sales are subject to an export licence. All export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). The Consolidated Criteria take into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. They provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities.HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-05/hl8721Partner Assistance; Protection of civiliansSaudi Arabia
5 October 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current status of UK arms supply arrangements with Saudi Arabia; and whether changes have been made to these arrangements in the light of the ongoing conflict in YemenBaroness Hodgson, ConservativeBritish arms exports are subject to an export licence. All export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). As set out in my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade’s Written Statement of 7th July 2020, we have developed a revised methodology in respect of all allegations that it is assessed are likely to have occurred and to have been caused by fixed wing aircraft, reflecting the factual circumstances which court proceedings concerned and this revised methodology is in place for international humanitarian law (IHL) assessments when assessing such exports against Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria. Criterion 2c provides that HM Government will not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL. Indeed, HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with any part of the Consolidated Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-05/hl8722Partner Assistance; LawSaudi Arabia; Yemen
5 October 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Saudi Arabian counterpart on the airstrikes in Washah in Yemen; and if he will make a statement.Gill Furniss, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, LabourWe are deeply concerned by reports of civilian deaths in Washah. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from Non-Governmental Organisations and international organisations. We use every opportunity to raise the importance of complying with IHL with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. The UK continues to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with IHL and engage constructively with the peace process led by the UN Special Envoy, which is the only way to end the cycle of violence.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-30/97682arms sales; arms licences; IHL; IHL violations; principle of distinction; indiscriminate bombing
30 September 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of possible war crimes committed by coalition forces in Yemen after an airstrike on a home in Washah near the Yemeni–Saudi border killed six children.Marquess of Lothian, ConservativeWe are deeply concerned by reports of civilian deaths in Washah. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from NGOs and international organisations. We use every opportunity to raise the importance of complying with IHL with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. The UK continues to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with IHL and engage constructively with the peace process led by the UN Special Envoy, which is the only way to end the cycle of violence.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-30/hl8642Protection of civilians; Law; Partner Assistance
30 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on torture victims and their communities of imposing a time limit on claims for actions in respect of personal injuries or death which relate to overseas operations of the armed forces as proposed under the provisions of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill.Abena Oppong-Asare, Erith and Thamesmead, LabourThe Government unreservedly condemns the use of torture and we remain fully committed to our obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, including the UN Convention Against Torture.

The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill will not deprive victims of torture and ill-treatment of their right to redress in the Civil Courts. They will still be able to bring claims for personal injury or death for up to six years from either the date of the incident, or from the date of knowledge. The six-year time limit is considered to be a reasonable timeframe for claimants to gather the necessary evidence to bring a claim. The Government believes that the prompt determination of civil claims by the courts will benefit both victims and the Ministry of Defence as a defendant in such claims; the later a claim is brought, the more likely it is that witnesses' recollections will fade, making it difficult for the victim to pursue a claim and for the defendant to properly defend the claim.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-23/94582torture; overseas operation bill; IHL; IHRL
30 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the proposed provisions of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill on the UK’s international reputation for opposing torture.Abena Oppong-Asare, Erith and Thamesmead, LabourThe Government unreservedly condemns the use of torture and we remain fully committed to our obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, including the UN Convention Against Torture.

The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill does nothing to undermine these obligations and does not prevent allegations of wrongdoing more than five years ago - including war crimes and torture - from being investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.

A decision on whether to prosecute for such criminal offences will continue to be for the independent prosecutor to make - and the Bill does not change this position.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-22/93715torture; overseas operation bill; IHL; IHRL
28 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which Minister is responsible for delivering the commitments set out in the new UK Approach to Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.Dan Jarvis, Labour, Barnsley CentralThe Protection of Civilians (PoC) agenda is a cross-Government initiative. HMG's approach paper was drafted in collaboration between the former Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the former Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. It does not change departmental responsibilities. In line with the breadth and complexity of PoC issues, ranging from humanitarian access to urban warfare, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Ministry of Defence will continue to work closely together on the areas of focus set out in the paper.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-28/96073Protection of civilians
24 September 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any contribution to the Draft Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from Humanitarian Harm arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas; and, if so, which department has made this contribution.Baroness Hodgson, ConservativeThe Ministry of Defence and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office are at the forefront of international discussions on the political declaration. The declaration remains in draft and we await further developments before we can assess any potential impact or implementation requirements. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is, however, governed by International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which the UK complies fully with.The UK will continue to take an active role in discussions to ensure that the protection of civilians is appropriately balanced with the need for responsible states to retain operational flexibility.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-24/hl8450Protection of civilians; Law
24 September 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likely impact of the Draft Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from Humanitarian Harm arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas on (1) targeting of civilians, and (2) related reduction in civilian casualties.Baroness Hodgson, ConservativeThe Ministry of Defence and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office are at the forefront of international discussions on the political declaration. The declaration remains in draft and we await further developments before we can assess any potential impact or implementation requirements. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is, however, governed by International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which the UK complies fully with. The UK will continue to take an active role in discussions to ensure that the protection of civilians is appropriately balanced with the need for responsible states to retain operational flexibility.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-24/hl8452Protection of civilians; Law
24 September 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Draft Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from Humanitarian Harm arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas will be implemented; and what monitoring mechanisms there will be.Baroness Hodgson, ConservativeThe Ministry of Defence and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office are at the forefront of international discussions on the political declaration. The declaration remains in draft and we await further developments before we can assess any potential impact or implementation requirements. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is, however, governed by International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which the UK complies fully with. The UK will continue to take an active role in discussions to ensure that the protection of civilians is appropriately balanced with the need for responsible states to retain operational flexibility.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-24/hl8451Protection of civilians; Law
24 September 2020As well as pressing for a ceasefire, the UK Government need to explain why they are not following the examples of Canada, Germany, Denmark, the UN, the US Congress and the European Parliament, among others, in calling for an embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, in line with international guidelines on not selling arms to those involved in conflicts that target civilians. We need to stop enabling these gross abuses of human rights and to live up to international obligations. The UK Government are currently utterly failing to do that. I therefore ask Ministers to please reflect on the plight of the people in Yemen, who are suffering so much. Will they please renew calls for an urgent and immediate nationwide ceasefire and please get a grip of their own involvement by calling a halt to these shameful arms sales?Kirsten Oswald, East Renfrewshire, SNPWe recognise the concerns about our arms sales policy. We have reviewed it in the light of the Court of Appeal decision, and all sales are measured against the revised set of criteria[Official Report, 28 September 2020, Vol. 681, c. 1MC.]. We are working to support Martin Griffiths in pursuing a nationwide ceasefire, and we welcomed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s unilateral ceasefire earlier this summer. What did we see in return for its ceasefire? We saw attacks by the Houthis, backed by Iran, into Saudi Arabia and within Yemen. Oh that it were so simple that we could just disengage from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the conflict in Yemen would cease. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-09-24/debates/4FF06AB9-250C-4EB9-A88C-E289E531E21E/Yemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-FE0A762A-C22B-4FFF-A733-8E6EBC0B5B02arms sales; arms licences; IHL violations
24 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Written Statement of 7 July 2020 HC entitled Trade Update, HCWS339, which Department’s officials were responsible for (a) developing the revised methodology used to analyse and evaluate allegations of violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen, (b) conducting the analysis and evaluation of those allegations, and (c) making a submission to ministers on the conclusions, options and recommendations arising from that analysis and evaluation.

Emily Thornberry, Islington South and Finsbury, LabourThe revised methodology used to analyse and evaluate allegations of violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) in Yemen was the result of cross-Whitehall work involving officials from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for International Trade (DIT).

MOD analyse the incidents they have recorded, which feeds into the overall assessment by FCDO of the risk that IHL has been breached.

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’) set out that, in making licensing decisions, my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade 'will continue to take into account advice received from FCDO, MOD and other Government Departments and agencies as appropriate.'

FCDO leads on Criterion 2c, which concerns whether there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL. My Rt Hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made a recommendation to the Secretary of State for International Trade for her to take account of in making the licensing decisions referred to in her Written Statement of 7th July 2020. Officials in FCDO and DIT submitted advice to their respective Ministers to support the decision-making process.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-21/92734arms sales; arms licences; IHL; IHL violations
21 September 2020What recent assessment he has made of the utility of offensive cyber in countering conventional aggression.Julian Lewis, Independent, New Forest EastWe recognise cyber as a domain of military operations alongside air, land, sea and space.Offensive cyber is now a critical part of our arsenal. Defence has integrated this into our military planning alongside the full range of military effects. We will continue to develop and exploit Offensive Cyber’s potential to complement and enhance our conventional military capabilities and assets. Offensive Cyber has already demonstrated its utility, against Daesh, where the UK suppressed Daesh propaganda, hindered their ability to coordinate attacks, and protected coalition forces on the battlefield. For reasons of safeguarding national security, I cannot discuss our cyber capability in greater detail or be specific on how it is employed.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-21/906307Technology; Assets and Deployment
14 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Written Statement of 7 July 2020, HCWS339 on Trade Update, whether the 6 August 2020 air-strike on cars and houses in al-Jawf, Yemen, has been (a) evaluated under the revised methodology developed by her Department to consider whether or not it constitutes a possible violation of international humanitarian law and (b) classed as a possible violation of International Humanitarian Law.Emily Thornberry, Islington South and Finsbury, LabourWe are, of course, concerned by reports of civilian deaths as a result of airstrikes in Yemen.

The Written Ministerial Statement of 7th July 2020 gave details of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Analysis applied to allegations of breaches of IHL, as part of an overall assessment against Criterion 2c of the ‘Consolidated Criteria’, which addresses whether there is a clear risk that items might be used in serious violations of IHL.

Such IHL analysis is, of course, ongoing and considers credible incidents of concern that we are aware of. Assessments are carried out to determine whether it is possible that the alleged incident constituted a breach of IHL, or whether it is unlikely that it represents a breach.

Assessments use all available sources of information, including some that are necessarily confidential and sensitive. As a result, we are not able to provide details of individual assessments for national security reasons.

The United Kingdom regularly raises the importance of IHL – and of thoroughly investigating alleged violations – with Saudi Arabia.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-03/84680arms sales; arms licences; investigation into IHL violations; IHL; IHL violations
9 September 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are giving the UN in the application of pressure (1) to the government of (a) Israel, (b) Russia, and (c) Saudi Arabia, and (2) to any other government which has yet to sign and has been accused of (a) violating the rights of children, and (b) attacking schools, to sign the Safe Schools Declaration.Lord Pendry, LabourThe Safe Schools Declaration (Declaration) is a powerful initiative that has successfully shifted mind-sets globally on the impact of attacks and military occupation of educational infrastructure. The UK welcomes the Declaration and other efforts aimed at promoting and protecting the right to education and facilitating its continuation in conflict.As a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), the UK is using its membership to engage with key states as they come onto the UNSC on the Declaration, to lobby for endorsement, push for effective implementation, and offer official level consultations where relevant. Through the UNSC Children and Armed Conflict Working Group, the UK supplements and supports the work of the UN to end all violations against children, including pushing states to ensure that educational facilities and related personnel are protected, in line with the Declaration. The UK lobbied successfully for key commitments in September's UNSC Presidential Statement on protecting education against attack, including securing reference to the Declaration and the critical role it plays, despite strong opposition.In September 2020, the UK actively supported the implementation of the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack on 9 September. We participated in a related UNSC Open Debate, calling upon Member States to endorse and commit to avoiding military use of educational facilities. We will continue to call upon all UN Member States to endorse and implement the Declaration, including Israel, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-09/hl7981Protection of civiliansIsrael; Russia; Saudi Arabia
7 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, in which countries the UK is (a) conducting air and drone strikes and (b) deploying military personnel on countert-errorism operations.Gill Furniss, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, LabourUK Armed Forces are currently operating in support of counterterrorism operations in four countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Mali), are presently providing counterterrorism training to an additional nine partner nations: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia Kenya, Lebanon, Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. The RAF is conducting strike operations only in Iraq and Syria. The publicly available 'Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2018 to 19' contains further details.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/78789RAF; UK troops in Mali; deployments; assets and deployments
7 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, in how many countries the UK armed forces are conducting counter-terrorism operations; and in how many of those countries the UK is (a) conducting air and drone strikes and (b) deploying troops where they may use or have used lethal force.Gill Furniss, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, LabourUK Armed Forces are currently operating in support of counterterrorism operations in four countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Mali), and are presently providing counterterrorism training to an additional nine partner nations: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia Kenya, Lebanon, Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. The RAF is conducting strike operations only in Iraq and Syria. The publicly available 'Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2018 to 19' contains further details. UK Armed Forces retain an inherent right to self-defence wherever they are deployed. This includes up to (and including) lethal force if there is an imminent threat to life and it is judged that there is no other way to stop the danger.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/78788deployments; IHL; self-defence; imminence
7 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, in how many countries the UK armed forces are conducting counter-terrorism operations; and in how many of those countries the UK is (a) conducting air and drone strikes and (b) deploying troops where they may use or have used lethal force.Gill Furniss, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, LabourUK Armed Forces are currently operating in support of counterterrorism operations in four countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Mali), and are presently providing counterterrorism training to an additional nine partner nations: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia Kenya, Lebanon, Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. The RAF is conducting strike operations only in Iraq and Syria. The publicly available 'Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2018 to 19' contains further details. UK Armed Forces retain an inherent right to self-defence wherever they are deployed. This includes up to (and including) lethal force if there is an imminent threat to life and it is judged that there is no other way to stop the danger.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/78788deployments; UK troops in Mali; use of force
7 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, in which countries in 2019 UK armed forces were deployed on counter-terrorism operations where they used lethal force.Gill Furniss, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, LabourDuring 2019 UK Armed Forces exercised lethal force in Iraq and Syria as part of the counter-Daesh campaign.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/78791use of force; deployments
7 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, in how many countries the UK armed forces are conducting counter-terrorism operations; and in how many of those countries the UK is (a) conducting air and drone strikes and (b) deploying troops where they may use or have used lethal force.Gill Furniss, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, Labour
UK Armed Forces are currently operating in support of counterterrorism operations in four countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Mali), and are presently providing counterterrorism training to an additional nine partner nations: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia Kenya, Lebanon, Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. The RAF is conducting strike operations only in Iraq and Syria. The publicly available 'Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2018 to 19' contains further details. UK Armed Forces retain an inherent right to self-defence wherever they are deployed. This includes up to (and including) lethal force if there is an imminent threat to life and it is judged that there is no other way to stop the danger.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/78788use of force; deployments; imminence; self-defence
3 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to her Written Statement of 7 July 2020 on Trade Update and the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 68798, what criteria were used to determine whether the 535 incidents which, for the purpose of the Government’s analysis are being treated as violations of International Humanitarian Law, constituted a pattern.Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck, South Shields, LabourOur analysis as to whether or not an incident constituted a ‘possible’ breach of international humanitarian law (IHL) was applied to over 300 incidents. The assessments used all available sources of information, including some that are necessarily confidential and sensitive. As a result, we are not able to provide details of individual assessments for national security reasons.

We have assessed that there were a small number of incidents that were ‘possible’ violations, which have been treated for the purposes of this analysis as ‘violations’ of international humanitarian law.

The Statement made by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade on 7th July was clear that we sought to determine whether these ‘violations’ were indicative of:

(i) any patterns of non-compliance;

(ii) a lack of commitment on the part of Saudi Arabia to comply with IHL; and/or

(iii) a lack of capacity or systemic weaknesses which might give rise to a clear risk of IHL breaches.

Our analysis did not reveal any such patterns, trends or systemic weaknesses.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-08-28/81946arms sales; arms licences; IHL violations; IHL
1 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the trends in the level of international humanitarian law breaches committed as a result of shelling in Yemen.

Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck, South Shields, LabourThe UK takes alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and human rights law extremely seriously. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of IHL, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from non-governmental and international organisations.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/78682IHL; IHL violations; indiscriminate bombing; investigation into IHL violations; international human rights law; arms licences; arms sales
1 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, in which countries the UK armed forces are deployed on counter-terrorism operations for which their rules of engagement permit them to use lethal force.Gill Furniss, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, LabourUK Armed Forces are currently operating in support of counterterrorism operations in four countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Mali). For operational and personnel security reasons we do not comment on specific operational rules of engagement in each theatre. More broadly, UK Armed Forces have an inherent right of self-defence wherever they may be deployed. This permits them to use force, up to and including lethal force, if there is an imminent threat and provided that it is proportionate to the threat faced.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/78790IHL; military rules of engagement; use of force; deployments
1 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many people have received payments from his Department or any other Government department as a result of alleging unlawful detention or maltreatment in UK custody since the 2003 invasion of Iraq; and how much in such payments the Government has so disbursed.Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Brighton, Kemptown, LabourDetails of 330 of the 1,000 civil claims where an agreement with the claimant in terms of damages to be paid as a result of alleging unlawful detention or maltreatment in UK custody since the 2003 invasion of Iraq are already in the public domain following responses provided to FOI requests received, and the High Court judgment of December 2017 relating to the trials of the four lead claims in the Iraqi Civilian Litigation (ICL).

Discussions continue between the claimants' solicitors and Departmental officials with regard to the resolution of the remaining claims in the ICL

The terms of these discussions and any outcomes remain the subject of a confidentiality agreement and we are therefore unable to provide a detailed and complete response to this question at this time.

We are unable to comment as to whether any people might have received payments from any other Government Department as a result of alleging unlawful detention or maltreatment in UK custody since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-20/76843IHL violations; compensation for victims; Iraq; deployments
1 September 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, in which countries the UK armed forces are deployed on counter-terrorism operations for which their rules of engagement permit them to use lethal force.Gill Furniss, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, LabourUK Armed Forces are currently operating in support of counterterrorism operations in four countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Mali). For operational and personnel security reasons we do not comment on specific operational rules of engagement in each theatre. More broadly, UK Armed Forces have an inherent right of self-defence wherever they may be deployed. This permits them to use force, up to and including lethal force, if there is an imminent threat and provided that it is proportionate to the threat faced.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/78790IHL violations; use of force; rules of engagement; deployments
28 August 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent alleged downing of a US-operated AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma drone by Houthi rebels in Yemen on (a) the Yemeni civil war and (b) relations between Iran and the West.Gill Furniss, Labour, Sheffield, Brightside and HillsboroughWe are aware of reports that the Houthis recently downed a US drone, but we have seen no evidence to corroborate these reports. We are clear that continued Houthi violence only makes a peaceful resolution to the Yemeni civil war less likely. We continue to urge all parties to de-escalate, participate in positive dialogue and engage with the peace process led by UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths. We are also deeply concerned by the findings of the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen that military equipment of Iranian origin was introduced into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo. This puts Iran in non-compliance with Security Council Resolution 2216 (2015) and reaffirms our concerns about destabilising Iranian activity in Yemen and the wider region. We have raised these concerns with the Iranian Government.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-08-28/82235Remote Warfare; Technology; Counter-terrorism; Partner AssistanceYemen; Iran
28 August 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia.Charlotte Nichols, Labour, Warrington NorthHM Government is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Specifically, Criterion 2c makes sure that we do not grant licences if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-08-28/82518Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
5 August 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the UN Human Rights Council Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, published on 29 June, which found that the killing of Iranian General Soleimani by a US drone strike violated international law, what representations they have made to the government of the United States.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeWe are aware of the report presented by the UN Special Rapporteur, Agnes Callamard. Article 51 of the UN Charter recognises that all States have an inherent right of self-defence. The strike against Soleimani was not a UK operation. The United States set out the basis for its action in a letter to the UN Security Council of 8 January.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/hl7147extrajudicial killing; IL; IL violations; international human rights law; self-defence
5 August 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the legality of a state taking presumptive self defence under Article 51 of the Charter of the UN.Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeArticle 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. Article 51 of the Charter also recognises that a state has the inherent right to use force to defend itself against an armed attack. The UK does not recognise a doctrine of "pre-emptive" self defence. Like many other states, however, the long-standing UK view is that Article 51 of the UN Charter does not require a state passively to await an attack, but includes the inherent right to use force in self-defence against an "imminent" armed attack. The position of Her Majesty's Government was set out in the then Attorney General's speech at the Institute of International and Strategic Affairs on 11 January 2017, available on Gov.uk.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/hl7148self-defence; definition of self-defence; IHL; use of force; imminence
30 July 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of targeted killing as a counter-terrorism strategy.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeThe Ministry of Defence has not made any assessment as to the effectiveness of targeted killing as a counter-terrorism strategy.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-22/hl7143international law; iHL; targeted killing
27 July 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government why they decided to resume granting export licences for the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.Lord Roberts, Liberal DemocratThe Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) of 7th July 2020 set out details of the revised methodology developed to comply with the Court of Appeal’s judgment of 20th June 2019 and applied to re-take the decisions remitted by the Court of Appeal on the correct legal basis.It also set out why my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade assessed that there is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law. Having now re-taken the decisions that were the subject of judicial review on the correct legal basis, as required by the Order of the Court of Appeal of 20th June 2019, it follows that the undertaking given to the Court – that we would not grant any new licences for the export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in Yemen – falls away. The broader commitment that was given to Parliament, relating to licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, also no longer applies.Decisions on export licence applications for Saudi Arabia and its Coalition partners for possible use in the conflict in Yemen can now be taken. All export licence applications will be assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-27/hl7396Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
24 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 14 July 2020 to Question 70307 on Ministry of Defence: Iraq Detainees, of the remaining cases of the 1500 judicial review claims, how many of those claimants were notified that the investigations have been completed (a) before, and (b) after 13 April 2020.John Healey, Wentworth and Dearne, LabourThe firm Public Interest Lawyers submitted approximately 1,400 judicial reviews by Iraqi nationals seeking an ECHR-compliant investigation into alleged violations of Article 2 (right to life) or Article 3 (prohibition of torture and ill-treatment).

Judicial reviews are separate from initial criminal investigations. All cases in which there were allegations of criminality were referred to the Service police. The Service police have been notifying complainants appropriately of the outcome of these investigative steps: those whose allegations are screened out at the pre-investigation stage, are notified online; those whose cases proceed to an investigation are notified by letter once that stage is complete.

The Ministry of Defence is required to consider whether those investigative steps have been sufficient to discharge any investigative obligations that may arise under ECHR, and to notify the complainant of this decision.

By 13 April 2020, the Ministry of Defence had notified around 630 complainants (those whose criminal allegations had resulted in the Service police producing a final report summarising the investigative steps taken) of its decision not to establish a further non-criminal investigation. The Ministry of Defence is working as quickly as possible to ensure that all remaining complainants in this category are notified by the end of this year.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-16/75196torture; international human rights law; deployments; investigations
24 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 14 July 2020 to Question 70307 on Ministry of Defence: Iraq Detainees, given that the Alseran judgement was handed down on 14 December 2017, when does the Ministry of Defence anticipate concluding the remaining 414 outstanding claims.John Healey, Wentworth and Dearne, LabourWe are unable to comment with any degree of certainty as to when the remaining 414 outstanding claims will be concluded because such conclusion is dependent on the settlement of both the damages and costs elements of the claims. Whilst discussions are ongoing with a view to agreeing a negotiated settlement of the outstanding claims, if no agreement can be reached in respect of those outstanding issues that preclude a final settlement, those outstanding issues will become the subject of further Court proceedings that could foreseeably continue until December 2021.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-16/75194compensation for victims; Iraw; deployments; IHL violations
22 July 2020For our part, the UK must continue to set an example as a world leader in protecting civilians in conflict. What steps is his Department taking, as part of the integrated review, to update its protection of civilians strategy?Dan Jarvis, Labour, Barnsley CentralWhen we are engaged in targeting, as the hon. Gentleman will probably know, we are very, very careful to make sure that we adhere not only to international law but all the safeguards we can to ensure innocent people are not killed or put in harm’s way. At the same time, after a strike is concluded there is a wash-up, a debrief and a check back, through different methods, of what exactly happened to make sure if there are any lessons to be learned. I take incredibly seriously anything that would lead to civilians being killed. We do not help the people of Iraq by poor use of our weapons. It is appalling, and if we want to deal with Daesh we have to show we are on the side of the community, not frighten the community or indeed make mistakes that cost lives among those very people we are there to help. That is the most important thing for me. I take a very, very detailed look at it. I made sure, right from the start of being in this job, that I reviewed all the rules that we had signed up to and followed, and indeed what tolerances there were, because that is a very important obligation to any elected Member.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-22/debates/1A7E55CB-3AAC-4CDA-B62C-AE7C1B129A5E/Counter-DaeshUpdate?highlight=africa#contribution-BA90ABA1-E76F-4900-9EF3-B6FCEACFAFDAIHL; international humanitarian law; principle of distinction; pre-caution; Iraq
22 July 2020The growth of Daesh and its offshoots in Yemen depend on smuggling by sea along the Red sea and, specifically, through the port of Hodeidah. What can the Government do to ensure that the sea routes are closed to Daesh to help to bring peace to Yemen?Mrs Flick Drummond, Conservative, Meon ValleyWith our deployments in the Strait of Hormuz we participate in constabulary duties, including patrols and so on, and we work with our allies, such as the United States. Where we find intelligence or something suspicious, we try to help to ensure that that zone is not increased by weapons smuggling. Only recently, for example, the Saudis managed to interdict significant weapons supplies to the Houthi, which would have had only one effect—make the situation worse. Those supplies were interdicted and stoppedhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-22/debates/1A7E55CB-3AAC-4CDA-B62C-AE7C1B129A5E/Counter-DaeshUpdate?highlight=africa#contribution-BA90ABA1-E76F-4900-9EF3-B6FCEACFAFDAassets and deployments; navy; Yemen
22 July 2020I welcome the commitment to send UK troops to be part of MINUSMA—the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali—the most dangerous peacekeeping mission in the world. Will he reassure the House that the National Security Council is looking across government at how the UK can address the sources of conflict in the Sahel and west Africa?Harriett Baldwin, Conservative, West WorcestershireAfrica is going to be key in the next 10, 15, 20 years. It always has been important, but the spread of Islamist terrorism, through al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and Islamists in west Africa, is a real, existing threat that we have to deal with. They undermine fragile democracies and fragile countries, often those that are very poor. We cannot turn our back on Africa on these issues. Where we can, we have to support those countries to see off the threat of Islamists and help them on the path to successful economies. I know that DFID and its strategies are working to do that, and at the MOD we are doing it through training and other such things. That is why we commit to countries such as Kenya and, indeed, now to Mali.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-22/debates/1A7E55CB-3AAC-4CDA-B62C-AE7C1B129A5E/Counter-DaeshUpdate?highlight=africa#contribution-BA90ABA1-E76F-4900-9EF3-B6FCEACFAFDAassets and deployments; UK troops in Mali;
21 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) RAF Weapon Systems Operators Rotary Wing personnel and (b) RAF Regiment Gunners are deployed in Mali on Operation Newcombe; and what their rules of engagement are.Jeremy Corbyn; Islington North; LabourThere are currently eight RAF Weapon Systems Operators Rotary Wing personnel deployed in Mali on Operation Newcombe. There are no RAF Regiment Gunners deployed in Mali on Operation Newcombe.

It is a long standing convention for the Department to not publish Rules of Engagement in detail. I can reassure the right hon. Member that the Rules of Engagement issued for Op Newcombe, that have been authorised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary State for Defence, are proportionate and appropriate for the role that our forces are undertaking in Mali and that at all times deployed forces in Mali and elsewhere in the world retain their inherent right to self-defence.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-13/72783deployments; UK troops in Mali; RAF; military rules of engagement
21 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to her Written Statement of 7 July 2020 on Trade Update, how many and what proportion of alleged incidents of violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Yemen examined by her Department under the revised methodology have been classed as possible breaches of IHL.Emily Thornberry, Islington South and Finsbury, LabourAssessments use all available sources of information – including some that are necessarily confidential and sensitive – so we are not able to provide details of the assessments.

Overall, there were a small number of incidents that have been treated – for the purposes of our analysis – as violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). However, these were isolated incidents that do not display any particular pattern, and our analysis shows that Saudi Arabia has a genuine intent and the capacity to comply both with IHL and the specific commitments it has made.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-16/75225arms licences; arms sales; IHL; IHL violations
21 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) RAF Weapon Systems Operators Rotary Wing personnel and (b) RAF Regiment Gunners are deployed in Mali on Operation Newcombe; and what their rules of engagement are.Jeremy Corbyn; Islington North; LabourThere are currently eight RAF Weapon Systems Operators Rotary Wing personnel deployed in Mali on Operation Newcombe. There are no RAF Regiment Gunners deployed in Mali on Operation Newcombe.

It is a long standing convention for the Department to not publish Rules of Engagement in detail. I can reassure the right hon. Member that the Rules of Engagement issued for Op Newcombe, that have been authorised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary State for Defence, are proportionate and appropriate for the role that our forces are undertaking in Mali and that at all times deployed forces in Mali and elsewhere in the world retain their inherent right to self-defence.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-13/72783deployments; UK troops in Mali; RAF; military rules of engagement
20 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government plans to publish the review upon which it based its decision to resume arms exports to Saudi Arabia in July 2020.Owen Thompson, Scottish National Party, MidlothianThe review contains confidential and sensitive information so, for national security reasons, HM Government has no plans to publish it.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-20/76789Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
20 July 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they gave to the actions of the government of Saudi Arabia (1) in that country, and (2) in Yemen, when deciding to resume granting export licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia; and what assessment they have made of the compatibility of that decision with the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, announced on 6 July.Lord Judd, LabourThe Written Ministerial Statement of 7th July 2020 set out the steps that HM Government has taken to comply with the judgment of the Court of Appeal of 20th June 2019 regarding licences for military exports to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.

To address the Court of Appeal’s judgment, we have developed a revised methodology in respect of all allegations which it is assessed are likely to have occurred and to have been caused by fixed wing aircraft reflecting the factual circumstances that the court proceedings concerned.

To be clear, allegations have been subject to detailed analysis by reference to the relevant principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and in the light of information and intelligence available. An evaluation has then been made, in respect of each incident, whether it is possible that it constitutes a breach of IHL or whether it is unlikely that it represents a breach.

The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is a separate issue entirely though. This new sanctions regime will give the United Kingdom a powerful new tool to hold those individuals involved in serious violations of rights and responsibilities to account.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-09/hl6672arms licences; arms sales; IHL; IHL violations
20 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the decision by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation to uphold death sentences against Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa on 13 July 2020, if he will suspend Government support for (a) the Bahraini Special Investigations Unit, (b) the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman and (c) other Bahraini institutions accused of complicity in the torture of both men.Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith, LabourWe are deeply concerned that the death penalty verdicts imposed on Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa by Bahrain's Court of Cassation have been upheld. Lord Ahmad, who is the Minister of State responsible for human rights, reinforced this position in his tweet of 14 July. We have raised both cases at senior levels with the Government of Bahrain. The Bahraini Government is fully aware that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle.

The UK welcomed the investigation by the Ombudsman and Special Investigation Unit into the cases of Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa, ultimately leading to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice ordering a retrial - a first in Bahrain.

The UK is committed to supporting Bahrain's oversight bodies, including the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman and the independent Special Investigations Unit. We continue to believe that Bahrain is taking steps in the right direction to improve its record on justice and security issues. The support we provide to these bodies, including in partnership with the UN Development Programme contributing to their work to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16 (strengthening institutions and increasing access to justice), contributes to the ongoing development of both their capacity and capabilities.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-14/73748torture
17 July 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Defence on 13 July (68798), how many of the 535 incidents referred to in the "Tracker" database record a civilian harm incident as a "mistake" by the Saudi-led coalition.Lord Browne, LabourAs explained by the International Trade Secretary on 7 July 2020, all of the allegations recorded on the Tracker have been subject to detailed analysis by reference to the relevant principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and in the light of all the information and intelligence available. An evaluation has then been made, in respect of each incident, whether it is possible that it constitutes a breach of IHL or whether it is unlikely that it represents a breach. The assessment of whether it is possible that an incident constituted a breach of IHL uses all available sources of information, including some that are necessarily confidential and sensitive. We are therefore not able to go into the details of individual assessments.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-17/hl6966Protection of civilians; Law; Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
13 July 2020The Government lost the Appeal Court case, then admitted that they had contravened the instructions given by the Appeal Court, then abandoned their own appeal to the Supreme Court, and have now decided, after abandoning the Court case, that they are going to resume arms exports. Could not the Minister at least agree to publish the reasons for the resumption of issuing licences [to Saudi forces in Yemen], with sensitive parts either taken out or redacted?John Cryer, Labour, Leyton and WansteadWe have published the reasons why we are doing the policy that we are doing. We published that in the form of a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons last week, and actually that is the subject today. On the hon. Member’s wider point about why we have withdrawn the appeal, we do not think the appeal is necessary any more. We have in place the revised methodology, and we are putting in place the process to withdraw the appeal.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-6D6AF88E-B390-4719-B83F-8CB71F3C15ABassets and deployment; IHL; IHL violations; transparency
13 July 2020Will the Minister provide an assurance to the House that the Department will continue to investigate every possible violation of international humanitarian law in the Yemen conflict by coalition forces?Marco Longhi, Conservative, Dudley NorthMy hon. Friend raises a good question. It is worth noting, again, that the investigation process is principally a matter for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, which track allegations of incidents. However, the Government take their export responsibilities seriously and assess all export licences in accordance with the strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with the consolidated criteria.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-6D6AF88E-B390-4719-B83F-8CB71F3C15ABassets and deployment; coalition forces; investigating IHL violations; IHL violations; Yemen; IHL
13 July 2020The Saudis are currently taking part in the action in Yemen as part of a coalition. They are also part of a coalition involved in the blockade of Qatar. That is not currently a military action, but what guarantees do the Government have that arms sold to the Saudis for use in Yemen will not be used against another of our allies elsewhere in the middle east?Christine Jardine, Edinburgh West, LDI am not aware of there being any conflict at the moment in that space, but clearly we look at these matters as part of the criteria against which we assess export licences.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-A6BEEF59-1BF5-4642-9807-DAC09253917Aarms sales; arms licences
13 July 2020As Amnesty International pointed out in March:

“The conflict in Yemen shows no real signs of abating as it enters its sixth year”.

This will result in even more civilian casualties, both as a direct and indirect result of the conflict. After the UK Government’s arms export policy to Saudi Arabia was found to be unlawful last year, can the Minister explain how continued UK arms sales for potential use in this theatre can possibly help prevent the loss of yet more innocent Yemeni lives?
Dave Doogan, Angus, SNPWe have, of course, looked at the assessment of the previous incidents, and I have already described how those incidents must be assessed as having taken place, even if this is still questionable or in any way disputed, as part of that process. We are confident that we now have the right system in place to make sure that there is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-A6BEEF59-1BF5-4642-9807-DAC09253917Aarms sales; arms licences; Yemen; IHL violations; forces assisted by the UK
13 July 2020Will the Minister provide an assurance to the House that the Department will continue to investigate every possible violation of international humanitarian law in the Yemen conflict by coalition forces?Marco Longhi, Dudley North, ConservativeMy hon. Friend raises a good question. It is worth noting, again, that the investigation process is principally a matter for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, which track allegations of incidents. However, the Government take their export responsibilities seriously and assess all export licences in accordance with the strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with the consolidated criteria.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-6D6AF88E-B390-4719-B83F-8CB71F3C15ABIHL violations; forces assisted by the UK; investigations into IHL violations
13 July 2020A number of my constituents in Vauxhall have written to me about their concerns about the devastating conflict in Yemen. We must acknowledge and speak out about the immense human cost of this war. It is one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world and we know that thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed, including women and children. Now 20 million people face food insecurity and 10 million are at risk of famine. That suffering is unimaginable. We know that the coalition has conducted numerous and indiscriminate air strikes, in violation of the laws of wars, using munitions sold by the US, the United Kingdom and others. How can the Minister be confident that the arms sold by the UK will not be used in similar attacksFlorence Eshalomi, Vauxhall, LabourThat is exactly why we have the arms control and export licence regime in place, properly using the consolidated criteria to make those assessments. In terms of what anybody else may do in the region, the hon. Lady mentioned the United States. That is very much a matter for the United States Government.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-6D6AF88E-B390-4719-B83F-8CB71F3C15ABarms sales; arms licences; Yemen; IHL violations; forces assisted by the UK
13 July 2020The excellent Minister seems quite sure that it is right to export these arms at the moment and I have no problem with that, but as my hon. Friends the Members for Derbyshire Dales (Miss Dines) and for Burnley (Antony Higginbotham) said. this needs to be kept under review. The Minister said that that will happen. Can he give the House a bit more detail: on a day-to-day or month-to-month basis, how does that review take place?Mr Peter Bone, Wellingborough, ConservativeThat is a good question. Obviously, we operate in an overall policy framework called the consolidated criteria. Each individual licence application is in itself a separate decision, based on those consolidated criteria. We follow those criteria. Those decisions can be made on a daily basis—for each individual export licence that comes in—by Ministers.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-6D6AF88E-B390-4719-B83F-8CB71F3C15ABarms sales; arms licences; Yemen; IHL violations; forces assisted by the UK
13 July 2020Oxfam, a deeply credible organisation, has had three installations attacked, in Sa’ada, Al-Hamazat and Abs, over the past few years. Have they been investigated by the joint incidents assessments team? If not, why not, and how on earth can the Minister possibly pretend that this is a credible statement?Alyn Smith, Stirling, SNPAs I have said before, the incidents that have been assessed as possible violations of international humanitarian law have been looked at, but we are confident that they occurred at different times, in different circumstances and for different reasons. Therefore, there is not a pattern. We are content with this regime going forward and about sticking to our consolidated criteria. That is absolutely the proper way to be doing this.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-6D6AF88E-B390-4719-B83F-8CB71F3C15ABarms sales; arms licences; Yemen; IHL violations; forces assisted by the UK
13 July 2020Given that the United Nations Refugee Agency reports that, over the past five years, more than 3.5 million people in Yemen have been displaced as a direct result of the civil war there, the Minister will understand the concern about the resumption of arms sales. He tells us that he cannot share with us the specific details on which the Government have made the assessment to resume those sales, but he could set out for us what he means by the “genuine intent” that he believes is behind the Saudi Arabian decision on human rights, and what might change that. Will he do so?Stella Creasy, Walthamstow, LabourI have already outlined how, after looking at incidents and the assessment of them, we are confident that there is not a pattern in those previous incidents. I absolutely share the hon. Lady’s concern about the appalling humanitarian situation in Yemen. However, based on those incidents, we do not believe that there has been a pattern there. Therefore, as long as we stick to our consolidated criteria and continue our assessment of incidents, that is absolutely the right decision for the UK Government to make.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-6D6AF88E-B390-4719-B83F-8CB71F3C15ABarms sales; arms licences; Yemen; IHL violations; forces assisted by the UK
13 July 2020Have my right hon. Friends the International Trade Secretary and the Foreign Secretary raised the issue of international humanitarian law compliance with Saudi Arabia and the others in the coalition?Alexander Stafford, Rother Valley, ConservativeYes, we have. We do that on a regular basis to make sure, as part of our wider work in the region, that UK foreign policy goals are achieved.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-EA242F1A-3BAE-42A1-A834-2452E54484A5IHL violations; forces assisted by the UK
13 July 2020There is a difference between what is permissible and what is right. Since the bombing of Yemen commenced in March 2015, £5.3 billion-worth of export licences have been issued to Saudi Arabia, of which £2.5 billion have related to bombs, missiles and other types of ordnance. So what does the Secretary of State have to hide in not publishing the evidence on which to resume licensing arms and the trade in these deadly weapons?Rachael Maskell, York Central, LabourI think I have already laid out to the House why these reports are not published: a lot are based on confidential information, which it would not be in the national interest for us to disclose. What we can say is that the incidents assessed to have been possible violations of international humanitarian law occurred at different times, in different circumstances and for different reasons. The conclusion was that they were isolated incidents. On that basis, we believe there is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-13/debates/617B65CA-CB18-4EFA-A3F9-783EC9184459/SaleOfArmsWarInYemen?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-EA242F1A-3BAE-42A1-A834-2452E54484A5arms sales; arms licences; Yemen; IHL violations; forces assisted by the UK
13 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many incidents have been logged as alleged international humanitarian law violations reportedly conducted by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since March 2015.Zarah Sultana, Coventry South, LabourAs at 4 July, the number of alleged instances of breaches or violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Yemen listed on the "Tracker" database maintained by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is 535. Of these, 19 are duplicate entries, which means that some incidents will have been recorded on more than one occasion likely because of the incomplete nature of reporting.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-03/68798IHL violations; arms licences
10 July 2020The Government say that they want to be a global force for good but, the very next day, decide that killing and injuring thousands of children does not constitute “a pattern of harm”. Proper scrutiny of this decision requires access to the unique methodology and data that the Secretary of State referred to in her statement. Can the Minister explain the methodology? Will Parliament be given access to it, or will Parliament and the defenceless children of Yemen have to wait until our courts compel its production—as they will?Lord Browne of Ladyton, LabourThe assessment of whether an incident created a possible breach or serious violation of international humanitarian law is a complex matter. In order to review that, we were required to draw on all available sources of information, including some that were—I am sure noble Lords will understand this—necessarily confidential and sensitive. We are therefore not able to go into the details of individual assessments.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-07-10/debates/D4005E25-ACF5-43A1-B4E1-9C25062B4F87/SaudiArabiaArmsSales?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-108F6DFB-6554-4C32-A5A4-FF677D51A937IHL violations; principles of IHL; targetting; distinction
10 July 2020How can we be a force for good when we sell arms to a country with a sustained record of human rights abuses?Baroness Sheehan, LDWe indeed have assessed that there were a small number of incidents that have been treated, for the purposes of the analysis, as violations of IHL. However, these were isolated incidents that did not display any particular pattern, and our analysis shows that Saudi Arabia has a genuine intent and the capacity to comply with IHL in the specific commitments that it has made.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-07-10/debates/D4005E25-ACF5-43A1-B4E1-9C25062B4F87/SaudiArabiaArmsSales?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-108F6DFB-6554-4C32-A5A4-FF677D51A937IHL violations; arms sales; international human rights law
10 July 2020Can the Minister confirm that airborne precision weapons are in the order? Does he agree that, correctly targeted, the inherent accuracy of such weapons makes their use in air attacks less likely to cause unintended collateral damage or, more importantly, large numbers of non-combatant casualties?Lord Craig of Radley, CBThe noble and gallant Lord makes a good point. As I have said previously, we have examined all the incidents and are satisfied that these were isolated incidents that did not display any particular pattern. Our analysis shows that Saudi Arabia has a genuine intent and the capacity to comply with IHL.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-07-10/debates/D4005E25-ACF5-43A1-B4E1-9C25062B4F87/SaudiArabiaArmsSales?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-108F6DFB-6554-4C32-A5A4-FF677D51A937principle of distinction; IHL; violations of IHL
10 July 2020My Lords, there are a number of Royal Air Force officers and ex-officers—British ex-pats—in Saudi Arabia in the various programmes involving aircraft. Last year, when this was discussed in the House, it was said that one of the benefits of having them there if we were selling arms was that they could give advice about targeting and so on. Can the Minister say whether any Royal Air Force officers, or indeed ex-pats, are involved at all in the targeting process within Saudi Arabia?Lord West of Spithead, LabourI do not believe that they are, but in order to give the noble Lord a completely accurate answer to his question, I will write to him.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-07-10/debates/D4005E25-ACF5-43A1-B4E1-9C25062B4F87/SaudiArabiaArmsSales?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-108F6DFB-6554-4C32-A5A4-FF677D51A937principle of distinction; IHL violations; arms sales; forces assisted by the UK
10 July 2020My Lords, your Lordships’ International Relations and Defence Committee, of which I am a member, produced reports on the Middle East in 2017 and Yemen in 2019, in which we raised concerns about the Saudi-led coalition’s misuse of weaponry leading to the loss of civilian life. In particular, we noted that assurances by Saudi-led reviews are not enough and not an adequate way of implementing our obligations of risk-based assessment set out in the Arms Trade Treaty. Does the Minister agree, and will he clarify what assessment has been made, beyond what the Saudis have told the Government?Baroness Smith of Newnham, LDThe assessments we make are very much our own assessments, led by specialist people who are expert in these matters. We draw on information from a number of sources, including but not confined to the Saudis, and a whole range of material is considered in coming to our view of what the appropriate assessment of a particular incident should be.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-07-10/debates/D4005E25-ACF5-43A1-B4E1-9C25062B4F87/SaudiArabiaArmsSales?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-108F6DFB-6554-4C32-A5A4-FF677D51A937arms sales; principle of distinction; IHL violations
10 July 2020My Lords, for five years Yemeni civilians have been killed in attacks on schools, hospitals and marketplaces, mainly by Saudi-led air strikes. The Government have concluded that there were only an isolated number of incidents in which such air strikes violated international human rights law. Will my noble friend tell the House exactly how many air strikes that refers to? If he cannot give an exact figure today, will he undertake to write with that information?Baroness Helic, ConservativeAs I have said previously, the assessments draw on a number of sources, some of which are necessarily confidential and sensitive. However, I have heard the question clearly and I will write to my noble friend with the information she is seeking.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-07-10/debates/D4005E25-ACF5-43A1-B4E1-9C25062B4F87/SaudiArabiaArmsSales?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-108F6DFB-6554-4C32-A5A4-FF677D51A937arms sales; international human rights law
10 July 2020Saudi Arabia is an important ally as well as an important market for UK exporters. However, as far as our exporters are concerned, the real issue at present is not new business but payment. The Saudi Government’s decreased oil income and rising Covid expense is evidenced by seriously late payment. What advice is being given to UK exporters on this market? Will the Minister also comment on Saudi arms import priorities in the current circumstances?Lord Carrington, CBThe noble Lord raises a matter I am personally very familiar with, having myself experienced as a businessman the Saudis’ propensity not to pay on time. I fear that the only quick advice I can give him, slightly lightheartedly, is persistence with them. I normally find that persistence pays off. More seriously, our embassy in Riyadh is always willing to help British exporters in this situation and to make representations to the appropriate Saudi authorities.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-07-10/debates/D4005E25-ACF5-43A1-B4E1-9C25062B4F87/SaudiArabiaArmsSales?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-108F6DFB-6554-4C32-A5A4-FF677D51A937arms sales
10 July 2020My Lords, on the Bishops’ Benches we welcome the unanimous decision by United Nations Security Council to endorse a global ceasefire in the context of the Covid pandemic. Does the Minister accept that, in light of the horrific situation in Yemen, already mentioned several times, the Government’s decision to resume selling arms to Saudi Arabia risks fatally undermining the implementation —[Inaudible.]The Lord Bishop of CarlisleBoth personally and as a Minister I remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Yemen. I think it is important that we continue to work with all parties to find a political solution to the conflict. This will help create the conditions for the legitimate Government to improve their capacity to protect human rights. Yemen is a human rights priority country for the UK.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-07-10/debates/D4005E25-ACF5-43A1-B4E1-9C25062B4F87/SaudiArabiaArmsSales?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-108F6DFB-6554-4C32-A5A4-FF677D51A937arms sales; international human rights law
09/07/2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what mechanisms are being put in place to ensure that British Arms exports are not being deployed by the Saudi Government in Yemen.Paula Barker, Labour, Liverpool WavertreeTo address the Court of Appeal's judgement, we have developed a revised methodology against which all existing and new applications for Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen will be assessed to consider whether there is a clear risk the equipment might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law. If there is such a risk, we will not issue the export licence.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-09/71927Partner Assistance
8 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, which Minister in her Department was responsible for the approval of any arms export licences for (a) Saudi Arabia and (b) its coalition partners from 17 July 2016 to 9 January 2018Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour, Brighton KemptownMy Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade is ultimately responsible for decisions on all strategic export licences.Her predecessor, my Rt Hon. Friend for North Somerset, held the post during the dates referred to.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-07-08/71133Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
2 July 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if his Department will undertake a public investigation into the air strike at Tal al-Jayer in Syria on 12 June 2018 to determine whether munitions from RAF planes were responsible for civilian casualties.Clive Lewis, Norwich South, LabourAbiding by International Humanitarian Law and the Law of Armed Conflict is of the utmost importance to this Government and is central to all of our military operations at home and overseas.

UK aircraft conducted a single strike on 12 June 2018. Ministry of Defence officials have cross referenced the village name with coordinates of that strike and established that they differ by approximately four miles and that the UK did not strike any buildings. Therefore, from the evidence available, we have no reason to believe that the UK was responsible for any civilian casualties on 12 June 2018.

As the Government has stated previously, we will always work closely with partners and civil society and investigate all credible claims that UK aircraft have been responsible for civilian casualties.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-29/66128IHL; violations of IHL; principle of distinction; investigation into IHL violations; deployments; RAF
2 July 2020To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many times the intelligence agencies informed the Investigatory Powers Commissioner of (a) instances of non-compliance with the Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees and (b) instances in which they did not identify that the Consolidated Guidance review process should have been followed, for the year 2018.Catherine West, Hornsey and Wood Green, LabourThe Investigatory Powers Commissioner had statutory oversight of the Consolidated Guidance and reported on it annually to the Prime Minister. I refer the Honourable Member to section 10.19 of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s 2018 annual report where the (then) Commissioner explained why it was not appropriate to publish these details.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner's 2018 Annual Report can be found at:

https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPCO%20Annual%20Report%202018%20final.pdf(opens in a new tab)

The Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-29/66146torture
2 July 2020To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how times decision-making under the Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees, was escalated to a Minister in 2018.Catherine West, Hornsey and Wood Green, LabourThe Investigatory Powers Commissioner had statutory oversight of the Consolidated Guidance and reported on it annually to the Prime Minister. I refer the Honourable Member to section 10.19 of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s 2018 annual report where the (then) Commissioner explained why it was not appropriate to publish these details.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner's 2018 Annual Report can be found at:

https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPCO%20Annual%20Report%202018%20final.pdf(opens in a new tab)

The Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-29/66145torture
30 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many licences have been issued under Annex 3 of the EC regulation on torture and death penalty goods relating to PAVA and OC sprays; and which end users were specified for those licences.Emily Thornberry, Islington South and Finsbury, LabourOur records show the following licences were granted between 2006 and 2019:

49 Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) for end users that include one for commercial use (for use as a flavouring in the Food Manufacturing industry); one for forensic analysis; one for government; two stockists; two for demonstration purposes (not for resale) and 41 for law enforcement agencies; and one SIEL (Transhipment) licence for naval use;

Three Standard Individual Trade Control Licences (SITCLs), where two were for law enforcement agencies and one was for testing and evaluation purposes;

One Open Individual Export Licence (OIEL) has been granted with the conditions that (a) the exporter may only export to a government directly or companies using the listed goods in fulfilment of a government contract, and (b) export under this licence is restricted to armed forces, the police, the Home Department (or equivalent), other security forces, and law enforcement.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-23/63259arms sales; arms licences; torture
29 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if his Department will undertake a public investigation into the air strike at Tal al-Jayer in Syria on 12 June 2018 to determine whether munitions from RAF planes were responsible for civilian casualties.Clive Lewis, Labour, Norwich SouthAbiding by International Humanitarian Law and the Law of Armed Conflict is of the utmost importance to this Government and is central to all of our military operations at home and overseas.UK aircraft conducted a single strike on 12 June 2018. Ministry of Defence officials have cross referenced the village name with coordinates of that strike and established that they differ by approximately four miles and that the UK did not strike any buildings. Therefore, from the evidence available, we have no reason to believe that the UK was responsible for any civilian casualties on 12 June 2018. As the Government has stated previously, we will always work closely with partners and civil society and investigate all credible claims that UK aircraft have been responsible for civilian casualties.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-29/66128Protection of civilians; LawSyria
29 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) civil and (b) criminal claims of abuse during interrogation in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 were subsequently made against the UK.Jamie Stone, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, LDSince 2003, Her Majesty's Government has received around 1,000 damages claims and approximately 1,400 judicial review claims in connection with operations in Iraq. The claims received focus predominately on alleged unlawful detention but many incorporate allegations of mistreatment at the hands of British military personnel. In addition, the Iraq Historic Allegations Team received over 3,400 allegations of criminal conduct - most incorporating allegations of mistreatment - by UK Armed Forces in Iraq.

We are unable to say with certainty how many of these allegations of ill-treatment specifically related to interrogation, as this would require cross-referencing with individual files.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-23/63455torture; deployments; investigations into UK armed forces; IHL violations; comepnsation for victims
23 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will support an independent review of the process for listing parties to armed conflict for grave violations against children to safeguard against potential political interference.Margaret Ferrier, SNP, Rutherglen and Hamilton WestThe UK takes allegations of abuses against children in armed conflict extremely seriously. We strongly support the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and continue to fund her office and work. At the UN Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on 23 June, the UK reaffirmed our commitment to tackling violations against children in armed conflict and highlighted the need for a transparent and credible framework for accountability based on a standardised and evidence-backed approach to de-listing and listing of state and non-state actors for violations. We have called upon the UN to review its approach and we will continue to engage constructively with the UN and member states to ensure the effectiveness of the listing mechanism.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-23/63362Protection of civilians
18 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether RAF Reaper drones have been used for operations outside of Operation Shader over the past 12 months; and if so, for what purpose they were used and where.Baroness SternREAPER is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. We do not comment on intelligence matters and I am therefore withholding the information as its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-09/hl5486deployments and assets; operation shader; IHL
18 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether RAF Reaper drones have been operated outside Operation Shader; if so, why; and whether such operations took place under independent UK control.Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, Green PartyREAPER is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. We do not comment on intelligence matters and I am therefore withholding the information as its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-09/hl5457deployments and assets; operation shader; IHL
18 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether RAF Reaper drones have (1) conducted strikes, or (2) provided reconnaissance support, as part of Operation Kipion.Baroness SternI cannot comment on whether or not RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft have been or will be employed as part of Operation Kipion. I am withholding information on the location of Reaper aircraft as its release would, or would be likely, to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-09/hl5491deployments; RAF
18 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether RAF Reaper drones have been used for operations outside of Operation Shader over the past 12 months; and if so, for what purpose they were used and where.Baroness SternREAPER is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. We do not comment on intelligence matters and I am therefore withholding the information as its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-09/hl5486Operation Shader; assets and deployments; deployments; RAF
18 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether RAF Reaper drones have been operated outside Operation Shader; if so, why; and whether such operations took place under independent UK control.Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, Green PartyREAPER is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. We do not comment on intelligence matters and I am therefore withholding the information as its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-09/hl5457Operation Shader; assets and deployments; deployments; RAF
17 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will list the countries that RAF Reaper drones are being deployed in outside of those of Operation Shader; and if he will make a statement.Sir Edward Davey, Kingston and Surbiton, LDREAPER is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. We do not comment on intelligence matters and I am therefore withholding the information as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-11/58612deployments and assets; operation shader; IHL
17 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will list the countries that RAF Reaper drones are being deployed in outside of those of Operation Shader; and if he will make a statement.Sir Edward Davey, Kingston and Surbiton, LDREAPER is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. We do not comment on intelligence matters and I am therefore withholding the information as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-11/58612Operation Shader; assets and deployments; deployments; RAF
15 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether it is Government policy that the (a) prohibition of torture is absolute and (b) obligation to prosecute torture is absolute.Jamie Stone, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, LDThe Government is committed to its obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). There is an absolute prohibition of torture under international law. The UNCAT requires each State Party to ensure that all acts of torture are listed as offences under its criminal law, however the prosecution of any crime is never automatic. The statutory presumption in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill does not act as a pardon, amnesty or statute of limitations. Prosecutors will continue to have discretion on whether to prosecute for criminal offences, including torture, taking into account factors such as sufficiency of evidence and public interest.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-10/58051torture; war crimes; international law
15 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the circumstances are in which a prosecutor is able to exercise their discretion not to prosecute an offence of torture.

Jamie Stone, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, LDProsecutors will continue to have discretion on whether to prosecute for criminal offences, including torture, on the basis of their assessment of the sufficiency of evidence and whether a prosecution would be in the public interest. The statutory presumption in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill is compliant with the UN Convention Against Torture, as it is a rebuttable presumption which leaves a prosecutor with discretion to prosecute where they consider it appropriate to do so. It does not act as a pardon, amnesty or statute of limitationshttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-10/58052torture; war crimes; international law
15 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government how many claims for damages relating to alleged misconduct by UK Armed Forces personnel serving overseas have been made in each year since 2003; what percentage of these claims have been settled; what was the (1) total, and (2) average, cost of such settlements; and whether any (a) current, or (b) former, member of the UK Armed Forces has been required to contribute to settlement costs.

Lord Thomas of Gresford, LDSince 2003, Her Majesty's Government has received in excess of 1,330 claims for damages relating to alleged misconduct by UK Armed Forces personnel serving overseas. These claims arise from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Cyprus Emergency in the late 1950s.

The claims received focus predominately on alleged unlawful detention but many incorporate allegations of mistreatment at the hands of British military personnel. Any payment of compensation in settlement of claims received would have been made by the Ministry of Defence.

We are currently unable to provide with certainty a breakdown of the claims as requested due to the current restrictions and lack of access to data. The process of collating the information will take some time and will require going through historical records. In addition, any information provided would be on a provisional basis as confirmation would require cross-reference with paper records.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-02/hl5124torture; deployments; investigations into UK armed forces; IHL violations; comepnsation for victims
9 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make assessment of whether equipment supplied by EDO MBM Technology Ltd to Turkey has been incorporated into drones sent by Turkey to Libya in violation of the UN arms embargo on that country.Kate Osamor, Labour, EdmontonHMG takes its arms export responsibilities seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. All licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, which include Criterion One, upholding the United Kingdom's international obligations to enforce arms embargoes; and Criterion Seven concerning the risk of equipment's diversion to an undesirable end-user or end-use. We are aware of reports of Turkish military involvement in Libya. Licences have been granted to EDO MBM Technology Ltd for military items for use by the Turkish armed forces. We are monitoring the situation in Libya and if extant licences are found to be no longer consistent with the Criteria, those licences will be revoked. The UK publishes quarterly and annual statistics on all our export licensing decisions, including details of export licences granted, refused and revoked. These can be accessed here https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-09/57303Technology, Partner Assistance; LawTurkey; Libya
9 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK troops being deployed as part of the UK’s long-range reconnaissance force alongside the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali will be supported by (1) British Army Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, and (2) Royal Air Force Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems.Baroness Stern, CrossbenchThe UK's upcoming deployment to MINUSMA will be supported by the British Army Desert Hawk. This is assessed as the most suitable UAV for the deployment. There are currently no plans for Royal Air Force Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems to be used on the deployment. UK forces may also receive support from other Remotely Piloted Air Systems which are deployed as part of MINUSMA, including the German HERON.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-09/hl5488Remote Warfare; Technology; Assets and DeploymentMali
9 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what types of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems will be used to support the UK troops being deployed alongside the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.Baroness Stern, CrossbenchThe UK's upcoming deployment to MINUSMA will be supported by the British Army Desert Hawk. This is assessed as the most suitable UAV for the deployment. There are currently no plans for Royal Air Force Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems to be used on the deployment. UK forces may also receive support from other Remotely Piloted Air Systems which are deployed as part of MINUSMA, including the German HERON.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-09/hl5489Remote Warfare; Technology; Assets and DeploymentMali
9 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made on (1) the 'Mosquito' project, (2) the 'Many Drones Make Light Work' programme, and (3) other work to network-enabled or ‘swarm' drones; and when they anticipate such network-enabled drone capability to be operational.Baroness Stern, CrossbenchProject Mosquito is a technology demonstration being conducted in two phases. Phase 1 is complete, and the Ministry of Defence is currently evaluating the proposals for Phase 2. As Project Mosquito is a technology demonstrator, it is not anticipated that the project will result in an operational capability.The Many Drones Make Light Work project explores the technical feasibility and military use of a swarm of up to twenty small unmanned aircraft vehicles, operating under the control of one individual. The project is in its final phase, Phase 3, delivering a structured flight evaluation programme of this new capability with the successful first trials held in March 2020.The Royal Air Force's swarming drones project continues to be developed by the Rapid Capabilities Office with progress during recent trials exceeding expectations in several areas. Following the successful first trials, 216 Squadron was reformed at RAF Waddington on 1 April 2020. They will take on the operating role for the RAF's fleet of network enabled drones.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-09/hl5490Technology; Assets and Deployment; Remote Warfare
8 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the value of arms sold to the United States in (1) 1990; (2) 2000; (3) 2010; and (4) 2018.Lord Roberts, Liberal DemocratMy Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria. All countries are under continual review, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, and my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. We do not hold complete records based on shipments of items exported to the United States or any country, although we do hold some information based on the value of licences granted for Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). The Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK. These reports contain information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data(opens in a new tab).The most recent publication was in April 2020, on licences issued until the end of December 2019. Quarterly reports are available from 2008 onwards.Records from 1997–2007 are available in the United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report, laid each year and placed within the libraries of the House.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-08/hl5413Partner AssistanceUSA
8 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their policy regarding the sale of arms to the United States of America.Lord Roberts, Liberal DemocratMy Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria. All countries are under continual review, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, and my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. We do not hold complete records based on shipments of items exported to the United States or any country, although we do hold some information based on the value of licences granted for Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). The Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK. These reports contain information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data(opens in a new tab).The most recent publication was in April 2020, on licences issued until the end of December 2019. Quarterly reports are available from 2008 onwards.Records from 1997–2007 are available in the United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report, laid each year and placed within the libraries of the House.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-08/hl5411Partner AssistanceUSA
8 June 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when the arms export licences to the United States were last reviewed.Alison Thewliss, Scottish National Party, Glasgow CentralI refer the honourable member to the answer I provided on 8th June.All countries are under continual review, in line with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’), and my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. Providing the names of companies licensed to export crowd controlled ammunition and tear gas would disclose commercially sensitive information.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-08/56033Partner Assistance
2 June 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government how many members of the UK Armed Forces are currently deployed on NATO operations, broken down by service.Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, LDIn total there are 2,005 members of the UK Armed Forces deployed on NATO operations. The Navy has 14 deployed, the Army has 1,727 deployed and the RAF has 264 deployed.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-05-18/hl4592deployments; deployments and assets; RAF; Navy; Armed Forces
18 May 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which munitions the RAF dropped on Iraq in April 2020; what the cost of each munition was; how many enemy combatants were killed from those munitions; whether and (d) whether any death or injury was caused to civilians from those munitions.Sam Tarry, Ilford South, LabourIn April 2020, fourteen Paveway IV and one GBU-12 munitions were released in Iraq by the RAF. The weapon release mission reports indicate an estimate of three enemy killed in action. There are no reports of civilian causalities associated with the weapon release events.

Missile procurement costs are dependent on the quantity of missiles being procured, customer priorities and market conditions at the time. Specific cost details are commercially sensitive and therefore are not disclosed by the Ministry of Defence.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-05-11/45504deployments; RAF; principle of distinction; IHL
18 May 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which munitions the RAF dropped on Iraq in April 2020; what the cost of each munition was; how many enemy combatants were killed from those munitions; whether and (d) whether any death or injury was caused to civilians from those munitions.Sam Tarry, Ilford South, LabourIn April 2020, fourteen Paveway IV and one GBU-12 munitions were released in Iraq by the RAF. The weapon release mission reports indicate an estimate of three enemy killed in action. There are no reports of civilian causalities associated with the weapon release events.

Missile procurement costs are dependent on the quantity of missiles being procured, customer priorities and market conditions at the time. Specific cost details are commercially sensitive and therefore are not disclosed by the Ministry of Defence.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-05-11/45504IHL; principle of distinction
11 May 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which munitions the RAF dropped on Iraq in April 2020; what the cost of each munition was; how many enemy combatants were killed from those munitions; whether and (d) whether any death or injury was caused to civilians from those munitions.Sam Tarry, Labour, Ilford SouthIn April 2020, fourteen Paveway IV and one GBU-12 munitions were released in Iraq by the RAF. The weapon release mission reports indicate an estimate of three enemy killed in action. There are no reports of civilian causalities associated with the weapon release events.Missile procurement costs are dependent on the quantity of missiles being procured, customer priorities and market conditions at the time. Specific cost details are commercially sensitive and therefore are not disclosed by the Ministry of Defence.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-05-11/45504Protection of civiliansIraq
11 May 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many armed forces personnel are stationed at Muharraq air base in Bahrain; which units those personnel belong to; what the cost of those personnel was in financial year 2019-20; and what roles those personnel are fulfilling.Chris Law, Dundee West, SNPThe UK has eight Armed Forces personnel based between Muharraq Air Base and Headquarters Maritime Component Commander in Bahrain. These personnel form the UK Joint Support Detachment and belong to the UK Maritime Component Commander and the UK Air Component Commander. They fulfil a variety of roles to facilitate the entry and departure of UK personnel and stores from Bahrain under Operation KIPION, including postal services and logistics movements. The cost of supporting these personnel in Bahrain was approximately £270,000 during financial year 2019-20https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-05-04/43053deployments; embedded personnel
6 May 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the documentary by BBC Arabic Breaking the Silence which found that institutions and individuals in Bahrain who received UK funding for training have been implicated in severe human rights abuses including torture and rape; and what plans they have to review the UK’s technical assistance programme in Bahrain.Lord Scriven, LDWe are aware of the BBC Arabic programme 'Breaking the Silence'. Any technical assistance we provide is kept under regular review to ensure it is in line with international standards, and fully complies with our human rights obligations and the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance process.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-04-23/hl3436torture; international law; deployments; UK complicity
4 May 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessments of proposed Government assistance in each of the last five years raised concerns about (a) death penalty policies, (b) torture and (c) extra-judicial killings.Stephen Doughty, Cardiff South and Penarth, LabourThe Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its guidance on Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) in 2017 by written ministerial statement. Since then, information on its implementation has been included in the FCO's annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. Information on the number of programmes that have drawn on the OSJA guidance and a more detailed breakdown of assessments identifying specific forms of human rights risks, is not held centrally nor readily available. Any technical assistance we provide is kept under regular review to ensure it is in line with international standards, and fully complies with our human rights obligations and the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance process.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-04-27/40634torture; war crimes; extrajudicial killings
28 April 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether independent experts on children and armed conflict are consulted as part of the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessment process to ensure UK overseas security and justice assistance work meets our human rights obligations and our values.Baroness Stern, CrossbenchThe UK is an active permanent member of the United Nations Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), which leads the international response to violations committed against children in conflict. These violations include: the recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, killing and maiming of children, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access to children in conflict.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its guidance on Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) in 2017 by written ministerial statement. Since then, information on its implementation has been included in the FCO's Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. The OSJA guidance applies to issues of international humanitarian law as well as human rights risks. As part of implementation of the OSJA guidance, Her Majesty's Government missions pool expertise from a range of sources including civil society partners and international organisations, according to the situation in the country concerned. This includes relevant UN sources of expertise.The UN CAAC Working Group focuses on responding to the UN Secretary-General's annual report on CAAC which lists governments and armed groups for committing grave violations against children. As a member of the group, the UK applies diplomatic pressure to listed parties to enter into concrete UN action plans to verify and release any children associated with armed groups and forces, to prevent re-recruitment and ensure the provision of appropriate reintegration and rehabilitation assistance. We ensure that the technical assistance we provide is in line with international standards, and fully complies with our human rights obligations.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-04-28/hl3552Protection of civilians
28 April 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what, if any, information contained within the annual and country-specific reports of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict is taken into account during Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessments.Baroness Stern, CrossbenchThe UK is an active permanent member of the United Nations Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), which leads the international response to violations committed against children in conflict. These violations include: the recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, killing and maiming of children, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access to children in conflict.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its guidance on Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) in 2017 by written ministerial statement. Since then, information on its implementation has been included in the FCO's Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. The OSJA guidance applies to issues of international humanitarian law as well as human rights risks. As part of implementation of the OSJA guidance, Her Majesty's Government missions pool expertise from a range of sources including civil society partners and international organisations, according to the situation in the country concerned. This includes relevant UN sources of expertise.The UN CAAC Working Group focuses on responding to the UN Secretary-General's annual report on CAAC which lists governments and armed groups for committing grave violations against children. As a member of the group, the UK applies diplomatic pressure to listed parties to enter into concrete UN action plans to verify and release any children associated with armed groups and forces, to prevent re-recruitment and ensure the provision of appropriate reintegration and rehabilitation assistance. We ensure that the technical assistance we provide is in line with international standards, and fully complies with our human rights obligations.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-04-28/hl3551Protection of civilians
28 April 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether information on grave violations of international law against children in situations of armed conflict is taken into account during Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessments.Baroness Stern, CrossbenchThe UK is an active permanent member of the United Nations Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), which leads the international response to violations committed against children in conflict. These violations include: the recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, killing and maiming of children, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access to children in conflict.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its guidance on Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) in 2017 by written ministerial statement. Since then, information on its implementation has been included in the FCO's Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. The OSJA guidance applies to issues of international humanitarian law as well as human rights risks. As part of implementation of the OSJA guidance, Her Majesty's Government missions pool expertise from a range of sources including civil society partners and international organisations, according to the situation in the country concerned. This includes relevant UN sources of expertise.The UN CAAC Working Group focuses on responding to the UN Secretary-General's annual report on CAAC which lists governments and armed groups for committing grave violations against children. As a member of the group, the UK applies diplomatic pressure to listed parties to enter into concrete UN action plans to verify and release any children associated with armed groups and forces, to prevent re-recruitment and ensure the provision of appropriate reintegration and rehabilitation assistance. We ensure that the technical assistance we provide is in line with international standards, and fully complies with our human rights obligations.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-04-28/hl3550Protection of civilians; Law
24 April 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect on UK export licensing of the 11 December 2019 communication to the ICC calling on it to investigate UK Government-authorised exports of arms to members of the Saudi/UAE-led coalition in Yemen.Zarah Sultana, Labour, Coventry SouthThe Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, last updated in a Written Ministerial Statement on 25 March 2014, remains the policy for assessing all licence applications.Our assessment of each export licence against the Consolidated Criteria takes into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-04-24/39813Partner Assistance; LawSaudi Arabia; UAE; Yemen
24 April 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what effect the order by the Court of Appeal in June 2019 not to issue new licences for the export of equipment to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen has had on the Government's obligations to Saudi Arabia under existing Government-to-Government agreements for the supply of military equipment; and if he will make a statement.Zarah Sultana, Labour, Coventry SouthThe Government’s obligations to supply military equipment and support to Saudi Arabia under the existing Government-to-Government arrangements are fulfilled under contract by the designated prime contractor, BAE Systems. Under these contracts, it is the responsibility of the company to submit an export licence application for all exports of arms and controlled military goods, which are considered on a case-by-case basis.The Government continues to act fully in line with the decision of the Court of Appeal.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-04-24/39815Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
21 April 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the joint statement on the fifth anniversary of the conflict in Yemen, published on 26 March 2020, what representations officials in his Department have made to their Saudi Arabian counterparts on a permanent ceasefire in Yemen; and whether arms and military equipment is being (a) sold and (b) transferred to that country through existing (i) open and (ii) single export licences.Caroline Lucas, Green Party, Brighton PavillionThe UK welcomes the unilateral ceasefire announced by Saudi Arabia, which follows the call on 25 March by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a cease to hostilities in Yemen. We fully support the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths's call for all parties to engage in urgent political talks to convert this into a durable ceasefire. We have also secured a UN Security Council statement which urges the Houthis to engage constructively with his efforts: https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sc14159.doc.htm. A ceasefire will only have an effect on the ground if it is underpinned by a political deal. It is important that both the Houthis and the Government of Yemen seize this opportunity for progress. A permanent ceasefire and co-operation with the UN-led political process is the best defence we have against a potentially devastating outbreak of Covid-19 in Yemen.Until the Secretary of State for International Trade re-takes the licensing decisions remitted to her by the Court of Appeal, or concludes a successful appeal, the Government will not issue new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners for possible use in the conflict in Yemen. The Government publishes official statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data. These reports contain detailed information on the type of export licences issued, refused or revoked, by destination type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-04-21/38451Partner AssistanceYemen
23 March 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government whether British forces have participated with, or assisted, armed groups in Syria since December 2015 in attacks against Syrian government forces or allied militias.Baroness CoxThe United Kingdom is a member of the Global Coalition, formed in September 2014. Membership comprises 76 member states; including Iraq, Arab nations, European partners and the US, and five international institutions. The Coalition supports the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and the Iraqi Security Forces in the ongoing military campaign in Iraq and Syria.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-03-11/hl2490IHL; deployments
19 March 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reason 1st Battalion Irish Guards have a continued presence at Fort Tagi in Iraq.Rosie Duffield, Canterbury, LabourUK troops are in Iraq, as part of the Coalition, in order to ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh. This includes mitigating chances of a Daesh resurgence and developing the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces at the Taji Military Complex. At the invitation of the Government of Iraq, the UK has helped train over 110,000 Iraqi Security Forces personnel, including Kurdish Peshmerga.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a reduced requirement for training from the Iraqi Security Forces and a subsequent pause in the Coalition and NATO training missions in Iraq. We have therefore decided to redeploy some UK personnel back to the United Kingdom. We will retain key military personnel throughout the country to ensure the Iraqi Government, Global Coalition and UK national interests are appropriately supported. For the time being a contingent of essential UK personnel will remain in Taji Military Complex.
https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-03-16/30076deployments; Iraq
5 March 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his US counterpart on the US Administration providing evidence to Police Scotland's investigation into the use of Scottish airports to facilitate torture and rendition.Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, Alba PartyAs this is an ongoing Police Scotland investigation it would not be appropriate to commenthttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-02-21/18867torture; rendition; assets; UK complicity
4 March 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what restrictions the Government has put in place in relation to arms sales to Saudi Arabia; and if he will make a statement.Laurence Robertson, Conservative, TewkesburyAll arms sales are subject to export licensing. The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, last updated in a Written Ministerial Statement on 25 March 2014, remains the policy for assessing all licence applications.Work to develop a revised assessment process enabling my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade to re-take the licensing decisions remitted to her by the Court of Appeal’s judgment of 20 June 2019, has advanced steadily and significantly since the judgment. An announcement will be made once the Secretary of State is in a position to re-take these decisions.Until such time as these decisions are retaken, or a successful appeal against the judgment is concluded, the Government is under an obligation not to grant any new licences to export items to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-03-04/25010Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
2 March 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to end violence against children in conflict and humanitarian crises.Patrick Grady, SNP, Glasgow NorthDFID is providing significant support to protect children from violence around the world in conflict and humanitarian crises. Our programmes assist children and reduce their risks of violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.In August 2019 at the G7 Summit, the UK Prime Minister announced £90 million of new UK support for education in emergencies and crises across the world, this will support 600,000 children living in conflict areas and areas of proacted crises. Girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in emergencies. This investment is a key plank of the PM’s plan to ensure more girls benefit from 12 years of education. This funding will provide safe spaces for girls and psycho-social support to those who have experienced violence and trauma.The UK’s £16 million per year contribution to the UN Peacebuilding Fund is strengthening access to justice for children in Haiti; reintegrating children associated with armed groups in Myanmar; and preventing the recruitment of child soldiers in Somalia.DFID’s ‘Children on the Move’ programme is working in Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan to develop and strengthen child protection systems for migrating, internally displaced, and refugee children. This is helping to prevent and respond to violence against some of the world’s most vulnerable children.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-03-02/23582Protection of civilians
2 March 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when the appeal to the Supreme Court in in respect of the process for issuing arms export licences to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners will take place.Harriet Baldwin, Conservative, West WorcestershireThe listing of the hearing is a matter for the Supreme Court and it would not be appropriate to comment until the Court has published the hearing dates.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-03-02/23416Partner Assistance
28 February 2020To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress her Department's Export Control Joint Unit is making on re-evaluating of extant export licences in relation to the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia.Harriet Baldwin, Conservative, West WorcestershireWork to develop a revised assessment process enabling the Secretary of State for International Trade to re-take the licensing decisions remitted to her by the Court of Appeal’s judgment of 20 June 2019, has advanced steadily and significantly since the judgment. An announcement will be made once the Secretary of State is in a position to re-take these decisions.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-02-28/22386Partner AssistanceSaudi Arabia
26 February 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 7 January (HL Deb, col 258) and the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 21 January (HL523), whether the military operation on 3 January which killed General Soleimani met the test of imminence for the purposes of self-defence in international law.Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeArticle 51 of the UN Charter recognises that all States have an inherent right of self-defence. The strike against Soleimani was not a UK operation. It is for the United States to say how the criteria for self-defence are met, and you will be aware that the United States set out the basis for its action in a letter to the UN Security Council dated 8 January 2020.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-02-13/hl1649imminence; self-defence; extrajudicial killing; targetted killing; IHL
26 February 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 7 January (HL Deb, col 258) and the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 21 January (HL523), whether the military operation on 3 January which killed General Soleimani met the test of imminence for the purposes of self-defence in international law.Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeArticle 51 of the UN Charter recognises that all States have an inherent right of self-defence. The strike against Soleimani was not a UK operation. It is for the United States to say how the criteria for self-defence are met, and you will be aware that the United States set out the basis for its action in a letter to the UN Security Council dated 8 January 2020.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-02-13/hl1649imminence; international law; IHL
25 February 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of Reaper drones currently operated by the RAF contain UK content.Mr Kevan Jones, North Durham, LabourThe Reaper unmanned air vehicle was procured as an Urgent Operational Requirement in 2007 and none have UK components installed. UK communications equipment has, however, been installed in the Reaper ground control station.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-02-13/1881deployments and assets; RAF
24 February 2020I welcome what the Minister said about the recent attacks on hospitals. He will be aware that there have been at least 578 such attacks on healthcare facilities, resulting in 890 deaths of medical personnel in the course of this conflict. Will the Government treat that as a war crime at the highest level, and in particular will they refute the suggestion from the Assad regime that all healthcare facilities in Idlib have been rendered inoperative and therefore are not civilian objects in terms of international humanitarian law?Mr Alistair Carmichael, LibDem, Orkney and ShetlandThe international community has a long-standing position on the targeting of both civilians and civilian facilities, and we condemn in the strongest terms—as I have said, our representative at the UN has done so—both the Assad regime and the Russians’ targeting of civilian resources and civilian establishments. We also make it clear that, while there are concerns about potential terrorists and foreign national fighters in the Idlib region, this gives no cause at all for either the Russians or the regime in Damascus to suggest that the targeting of these civilian facilities is appropriate. It is not. We condemn it and we will continue to do so.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-02-24/debates/6DE70A6E-228D-47AE-9030-D3C1AF286C0F/SyriaSecuritySituation?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-5835B9DF-1784-407A-A8A9-9786C7D20271IHL; international humanitarian law; principle of distinction; Assad regime; IHL violations; targetting; UK position on IHL
24 February 2020Israeli annexations are a violation of international law and jeopardise any chance of a two-state solution. I would like to believe that a two-state solution is not a lost cause, but that is only possible if we speak up. I urge the Government to take action and condemn violations such as the recent bulldozing of a historic Muslim cemetery in Jaffa. Does the Foreign Secretary agree that such contempt for international law warrants sanctions? If not, could he please explain his reasoning?Afzal Khan, Manchester, Gorton, LabourWe certainly oppose not just the settlement building but other violations of international humanitarian law. The hon. Gentleman may have seen the letter that the Prime Minister recently published in the Israeli press, which made it clear that we are not giving up on a two-state solution. We oppose annexation and we want both parties to come to the table and negotiate a lasting settlement.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-06/debates/24B78A01-061C-48A8-AA92-8E53C17516E3/GlobalHumanRightsSanctionsRegime?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-82BACB16-7C94-456B-A089-22BB70E51A49IHL violations; IHL
24 February 2020How will the Foreign Secretary prevent existing human rights law from being used to thwart sanctions against those whom he would list?Sir Desmond Swayne, New Forest West, ConservativeI thank my right hon. Friend—[Interruption.] It is a perfectly good question, because all sorts of legal issues have to be scrutinised very carefully when introducing these designations. We have done our due diligence. We have lawyered this very carefully. I hope I can give him the maximum reassurance that the risk is being mitigated to the very lowest level.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-07-06/debates/24B78A01-061C-48A8-AA92-8E53C17516E3/GlobalHumanRightsSanctionsRegime?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-82BACB16-7C94-456B-A089-22BB70E51A49international human rights law; application of IHRL to the UK
24 February 2020I welcome what the Minister said about the recent attacks on hospitals. He will be aware that there have been at least 578 such attacks on healthcare facilities, resulting in 890 deaths of medical personnel in the course of this conflict. Will the Government treat that as a war crime at the highest level, and in particular will they refute the suggestion from the Assad regime that all healthcare facilities in Idlib have been rendered inoperative and therefore are not civilian objects in terms of international humanitarian law?Mr Alistair Carmichael, Orkney and Shetland, LDThe international community has a long-standing position on the targeting of both civilians and civilian facilities, and we condemn in the strongest terms—as I have said, our representative at the UN has done so—both the Assad regime and the Russians’ targeting of civilian resources and civilian establishments. We also make it clear that, while there are concerns about potential terrorists and foreign national fighters in the Idlib region, this gives no cause at all for either the Russians or the regime in Damascus to suggest that the targeting of these civilian facilities is appropriate. It is not. We condemn it and we will continue to do so.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-02-24/debates/6DE70A6E-228D-47AE-9030-D3C1AF286C0F/SyriaSecuritySituation?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CFCFD70E-5357-4FDC-8A52-15090D1178BAprinciple of distinction; IHL violations
24 February 2020Amid the grim litany of war crimes in the Syrian civil war, the continued deliberate bombing of hospitals is particularly shocking. I applaud the Government’s humanitarian effort—as I am sure the whole House does—but the more we and international allies and the UN call for a ceasefire and are ignored, the more we demonstrate that we are completely unable to protect the civilians on the receiving end of those bombs. Have there been any recent discussions with allies about whether a no-fly zone could make a contribution to the protection of those civilians?Hilary Benn, Leeds Central, LabourWe are pressing for an end to aerial strikes against civilians in north-west Syria. On the specifics of a no-fly zone, no-fly zones have to be enforced and the risks of military escalation in the north-west are in no one’s interest. We are, therefore, sceptical that such a position would command international consensus, so we will continue to push, with our international friends and allies, to encourage the de-escalation of violence in the region.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-02-24/debates/6DE70A6E-228D-47AE-9030-D3C1AF286C0F/SyriaSecuritySituation?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CFCFD70E-5357-4FDC-8A52-15090D1178BAprinciple of distinction; IHL violations
24 February 2020One of the most significant abuses of the Geneva conventions and the rules of law has been the primary targeting of hospitals by Russian air power and Syrian artillery. Why are we not calling them out more by naming and shaming units and using the UN to do so?Bob Seely, Isle of Wight, ConservativeOur representative at the United Nations has spoken in no uncertain terms about how wrong the behaviour of the regime and the Russian backers has been in targeting civilian facilities and civilians. I am very proud of the fact that the UK has supported the humanitarian efforts in the region. We will continue to do so and have committed to doing so in future, but ultimately, the only sustainable solution is a political one in which the regime in Damascus and its Russian backers understand that their actions will not be accepted at the international level.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-02-24/debates/6DE70A6E-228D-47AE-9030-D3C1AF286C0F/SyriaSecuritySituation?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CFCFD70E-5357-4FDC-8A52-15090D1178BAprinciple of distinction; IHL violations
24 February 2020On that note, the UK has a very proud history of standing up for international humanitarian law. What steps are we actively exploring to ensure that those responsible for this bloody war are held to account?Robert Courts, Witney, ConservativeAs I say, we continue to work with international partners. We have made it very clear that the regime has stepped well beyond any internationally recognised bounds. We welcome the EU’s adoption of new listings under the Syria sanctions regime—18 businesspeople and two entities have been listed. The UK will continue to work with the international community to ensure that those who profit from the conflict are held to account.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-02-24/debates/6DE70A6E-228D-47AE-9030-D3C1AF286C0F/SyriaSecuritySituation?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CFCFD70E-5357-4FDC-8A52-15090D1178BAIHL violations; IHL
24 February 2020I welcome the news that we have made such progress in combating Daesh as a fighting force. Will the Minister update us on whether the coalition remains in place to root out Daesh in the caves between Syria and Iraq in which they are currently hiding?Ben Evertitt, Milton Keynes North, ConservativeThe international coalition against Daesh is still in existence. Until that risk has been completely eliminated, I can foresee only that we will work internationally to achieve that.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-02-24/debates/6DE70A6E-228D-47AE-9030-D3C1AF286C0F/SyriaSecuritySituation?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-CFCFD70E-5357-4FDC-8A52-15090D1178BAassets and deployment; anti-ISIS coalition
10 February 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether RAF Menwith Hill had a role in the drone programme that assassinated Qasem Soleimani.Alex Sobel, Leeds North West, LabourIn accordance with long standing policy we do not comment on the details of the operations carried out at RAF Menwith Hill in providing intelligence support.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-02-04/12409deployments; targetted killing; UK complicity; IHL; RAF
4 February 2020To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department plans to update the National Cyber Security Strategy on the use of artificial intelligence.Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Labour, SloughOur current National Cyber Security Strategy (2016-2021) is delivering transformational change, building new capabilities and intervening to address the cyber threat.Our manifesto has committed to investing more in cyber security, embracing new technologies and legislating to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.The government's future approach to cyber security will form part of the Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review, which will consider all aspects of our defence and security capabilities, including ways in which technological changes could have implications for our securityhttps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-02-04/12323Technology
30 January 2020
Is this the global Britain that Conservative Members aspire to be: compounding economic hardship, legitimising oppression and actively supporting regimes that flagrantly abuse human rights and international humanitarian law? I do not think so, but it is what will happen unless the Government openly and frankly outline a detailed strategy for global Britain, and unless Parliament is allowed to fulfil its constitutional role of holding the Government to account.
Barry Gardiner, Brent North, LabourWhat is the Opposition’s policy? The hon. Gentleman is outlining a policy of the European Union. The Labour party wanted to join the customs union, which would have implemented exactly that policy. Is that protectionist and slightly weird policy towards the rest of the world still the Labour party’s policy?https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-01-30/debates/33EA2EAC-BA44-490B-93D0-11799618B342/GlobalBritain?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-701924CC-87EA-499D-ABE6-5EE5B85BCDB9international humnaitarian law; IHL; IHL violations; international human rights law
30 January 2020We cannot forget that this Government have continued to support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with arms sales, despite the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and despite the Court of Appeal ruling that such exports must cease. The Secretary of State had to come before this House to apologise for breaching the Government’s undertakings to the Court of Appeal and to the House of Commons. Perhaps she might be able to tell us the outcome of the Department’s inquiry into how many breaches of those undertakings there were and how they came about. I will happily give way to her if she can. If she cannot, can the Minister of State, Department for International Trade, the right hon. Member for Bournemouth West (Conor Burns), when he sums up, at least inform the House of when we might expect the outcome of that report?Barry Gardiner, Brent North, LabourWe know that the hon. Gentleman is against defence and security exports, against the US and against Saudi Arabia. He is against a whole number of things, and global Britain in terms of trade seems to mean for the Labour party “lining our pockets”. What is the Labour party’s vision of the role of the UK in the world? Does he not see enormous opportunities for us in working with continents such as Africa and Asia?https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-01-30/debates/33EA2EAC-BA44-490B-93D0-11799618B342/GlobalBritain?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-701924CC-87EA-499D-ABE6-5EE5B85BCDB9arms sales; IHL; IHL violations
30 January 2020Are we going to continue selling arms to human rights abusers and states violating international humanitarian law?Fleur Anderson, Putney, Labourhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-01-30/debates/33EA2EAC-BA44-490B-93D0-11799618B342/GlobalBritain?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-701924CC-87EA-499D-ABE6-5EE5B85BCDB9
30 January 2020I also concur with the shadow Secretary of State about the atrocity of awarding export licences in respect of arms sales, products used for torture, and other controlled exports. This undermines further our reputation as a morally credible partner across the globe. Labour has called for robust enforcement of export licensing criteria in respect of arms sales and other controlled exports. Personally, I would like the UK to diversify out of the arms industry altogether and put those skills, technologies and jobs into productive technologies in areas such as renewable energy generation.

Do Government Members really want to take the UK back to being the poor man of Europe that I remember from my childhood, or will they share with us in a more positive vision for the UK’s place in the world based on the values that helped to shape Europe after 1989 and the fall of the Berlin wall—openness, democracy, compassion, and protection of the world’s precious resources and environment?
Ruth Cadbury, Brentford and Isleworth, Labourhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-01-30/debates/33EA2EAC-BA44-490B-93D0-11799618B342/GlobalBritain?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-701924CC-87EA-499D-ABE6-5EE5B85BCDB9
29 January 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the killing of General Qassem Soleimani on 3 January and the President of the United States' subsequent statement on Twitter on 13 January that it "doesn’t really matter...because of his horrible past" whether an imminent attack was planned by General Soleimani, what assessment they have made of the case for a review of the international legal framework in relation to (1) the conduct of targeted assassinations, and (2) strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles.The Marquess of Lothian, ConservativeArticle 51 of the UN Charter recognises that all States have an inherent right of self-defence. Any use of force must be in accordance with the requirements of applicable international law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-01-16/hl523self-defence; IHL; extrajudicial killing; targetted killing
29 January 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the killing of General Qassem Soleimani on 3 January and the President of the United States' subsequent statement on Twitter on 13 January that it "doesn’t really matter...because of his horrible past" whether an imminent attack was planned by General Soleimani, what assessment they have made of the case for a review of the international legal framework in relation to (1) the conduct of targeted assassinations, and (2) strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles.The Marquess of Lothian, ConservativeArticle 51 of the UN Charter recognises that all States have an inherent right of self-defence. Any use of force must be in accordance with the requirements of applicable international law.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-01-16/hl523targetted killing; self-defence; IHL; use of force; international law
27 January 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the reimposition of the death sentences against Mohamed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa, whether they intend to reconsider their provision of technical assistance to Bahrain given the use of torture, capital punishment and executions by the government of that country.Lord Scriven, LDAs the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa said on 8 January, we are deeply concerned about the death sentences given to Mohamed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa. The Government of Bahrain is fully aware that the UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty, in all circumstances. The UK has and will continue to monitor the cases closely and raise concerns with senior members of the Bahraini Government. Assistance, which is kept under regular review, is provided in line with international standards, and fully complies with our domestic and international human rights obligations.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-01-13/hl349assets and deployments; torture
23 January 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the need for international action to prevent the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.Patrick Grady, Scottish National Party, Glasgow NorthThe use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas is governed by International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The UK complies with all appropriate legal obligations and takes its adherence to IHL extremely seriously. The UK is at the forefront of international discussions on the subject and officials contributed extensively to the Vienna Conference on Protection of Civilians in Urban Warfare in October 2019, in which steps towards a political declaration were taken. The issue centres on balancing the need to protect civilians with the requirement for responsible states to be able to operate effectively in the pursuit of national security and defence interests. Further discussions will take place in Geneva in February 2020 and officials from Her Majesty’s Government will continue to take a full and active role.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-01-23/7287Protection of Civilians; Law
23 January 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk of genocide against minorities in Northern Iraq and Kurdistan; and whether NATO military personnel will continue to remain in areas administered by the Kurdish Regional GovernmentLord Alton of LiverpoolWe do not currently assess there to be a significant risk of genocide in northern Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The UK is firmly committed to supporting the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to counter the ongoing threat from Daesh through the Global Coalition, and to providing security to and supporting the rights of all minority communities in Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The NATO Mission in Iraq does not have troops in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. We continue to support the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh (UNITAD) in Iraq.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-01-09/hl245deployments; Iraq; war crimes
16 January 2020the then Attorney-General, in evidence to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee in 2015, said:

“One of the things we … need to think about … is what imminence means in the context of a terrorist threat”.

It would be most helpful if, when my noble friend winds up, she could shed some light on the detail of the Government’s current thinking on the definition of imminence.
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbots, ConservativeThe noble Lords, Lord Janvrin and Lord Judd, raised the matter of imminence. The legal test of an actual or imminent armed attack must be satisfied, and any action must be necessary and proportionate. The Attorney-General explained the Government’s understanding of the meaning of “imminent” in a speech on 11 January 2017. Consideration will be given to the immediacy of the threat, its seriousness and the likelihood of an attack taking place, among other things.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=imminence%20definition#contribution-DBD3740E-22B9-4BCC-9D85-6FFC28D93B5Einternational law; definition of imminence
16 January 2020Since the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings said that the attack “most likely” violated international law, can the Minister confirm whether the Government consider that the use of drones must be in accordance with international law?Baroness Smith of NewnhamRegarding the use of armed unmanned aerial systems and UK practice, respect for international law that governs the use of force is of paramount importance. My noble friend Lord Hodgson referred to mission creep and the noble Lord, Lord Judd, also expressed concerns. I make it clear that our Armed Forces have always known that they are answerable for their conduct on the battlefield. That accountability is not least to Parliament—a matter that the noble Lord, Lord Janvrin, very properly raised. Our Armed Forces have always known that they must conform to the highest standards of personal behaviour and conduct. They have also known that they are bound by the criminal law of England and Wales, and they will always operate in accordance with the laws of war.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=necessity%20international%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243IHL violations; drones
16 January 2020Can the Minister also give us a little more clarity on the UK’s understanding of “self-defence”? Baroness Smith of NewnhamI have run out of time. The noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, raised a number of other points and I undertake to respond to him in writing. I thank your Lordships for what I consider to have been a very important and useful debate. The UK will continue to support a nation’s right to self-defence and we will continue to uphold international law.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=necessity%20international%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243international law; definition of self-defence
16 January 2020It would be most helpful if, when my noble friend winds up, she could shed some light on the detail of the Government’s current thinking on the definition of imminence.Lord Hogdson of Astley Abbots, ConservativeThe noble Lords, Lord Janvrin and Lord Judd, raised the matter of imminence. The legal test of an actual or imminent armed attack must be satisfied, and any action must be necessary and proportionate. The Attorney-General explained the Government’s understanding of the meaning of “imminent” in a speech on 11 January 2017. Consideration will be given to the immediacy of the threat, its seriousness and the likelihood of an attack taking place, among other things.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=necessity%20international%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243international law; definition of imminence
16 January 2020The use of drones outside armed conflict often rests on the legal argument for self-defence under international law. Indeed, the US initially stated that the drone strike was justified as a self-defence measure. However, this shifted in the days after the strike, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointing to previous actions of Soleimani as justification. Since the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings said that the attack “most likely” violated international law, can the Minister confirm whether the Government consider that the use of drones must be in accordance with international law? The Joint Human Rights Committee has called for the UK to take the lead in building a consensus on how legal frameworks are applied, and I reiterate this today. The long-term question is whether humans will be removed from the loop, allowing AI-powered drones to select and kill targets with no human oversight. While the UN Secretary-General has described such machines as “morally repugnant”, the UK spoke forcefully against regulation on lethal autonomous weapons at UN talks last year. Can the Minister explain why the Government are so against regulation? The UK should be taking a lead on this issue internationally and considering how arms treaties can be upgraded to stop the development of fully autonomous weapons.
Lord Tunnicliffe, LabourRegarding the use of armed unmanned aerial systems and UK practice, respect for international law that governs the use of force is of paramount importance. My noble friend Lord Hodgson referred to mission creep and the noble Lord, Lord Judd, also expressed concerns. I make it clear that our Armed Forces have always known that they are answerable for their conduct on the battlefield. That accountability is not least to Parliament—a matter that the noble Lord, Lord Janvrin, very properly raised. Our Armed Forces have always known that they must conform to the highest standards of personal behaviour and conduct. They have also known that they are bound by the criminal law of England and Wales, and they will always operate in accordance with the laws of war.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020I am not here to question whether what the United States said about that attack was correct or to query the integrity of the noble Lord, Lord Ahmad, in accepting those assurances, but how far are Her Majesty’s Government able to interrogate United States actions ahead of time? How far are Her Majesty’s Government able to accept the assurances of the United States Government? How far are we able to be reassured? How far can the Minister reassure your Lordships’ House that when we work with the United States through our existing legal arrangements on its drone programmes, on any activity that involves UK drones, UK intelligence and our bases in Cyprus and elsewhere, as the noble Lord said, any activity undertaken by the United States is within the framework of international law?
Baroness Smith of Newnham, LDThe noble Baroness, Lady Smith, also raised the issue of target selection. Decisions on, and the necessity of proportionality in, the use of force are complex and highly sensitive. They require policy and national security input, including military, intelligence and legal, but the decision-making process enables all aspects to be considered and ensures that they will.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020Can the Minister also give us a little more clarity on the UK’s understanding of “self-defence”? Clearly it is a concept understood in international law, yet in the US’s attempt to say that the attack on 3 January was in self-defence and in the light of an imminent threat, that word can sometimes seem in danger of mission creep, as the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, said. Is the Minister reassured that the threat was imminent? Can she tell us how the United Kingdom Government define “imminent”? Perhaps it is not quite as finite a concept as it might appear.Baroness Smith of Newnham, LDThe noble Lords, Lord Janvrin and Lord Judd, raised the matter of imminence. The legal test of an actual or imminent armed attack must be satisfied, and any action must be necessary and proportionate. The Attorney-General explained the Government’s understanding of the meaning of “imminent” in a speech on 11 January 2017. Consideration will be given to the immediacy of the threat, its seriousness and the likelihood of an attack taking place, among other things.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020The report made a number of recommendations, and at the time of a new Government it seems appropriate to bring some of these to the attention of the Minister, in the hope that the Government will be prepared to consider them afresh. Some of the recommendations address the role the UK plays in drone strikes when it is working with other state partners and suggest ways to ensure that humanitarian and international laws are respected. For example, the Government should publish their policy on targeted killings: they should at least explain the legal basis; the criteria used and the precautions applied in the selection of targeted individuals; the decision-making process; and, in particular, the process of making sure that every alternative method of neutralising the threat posed by the targeted person has been exhausted.Baroness SternThe noble Lord, Lord Janvrin, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Stern and Lady Smith, also raised the issue of targeting and red cards. A robust system to authorise air strikes is in place and is well proven and tested. This process enables all relevant legal and policy requirements, including international humanitarian law, to be considered and applied. Expert legal advice is integral to decision-making, and all military targeting is governed by strict laws of engagement that are in accordance with UK law and international law, as well as any policy restrictions that the Defence Secretary might specify.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020In addition to the supply of intelligence, there is our commitment of personnel. There is now a high degree of interoperability between US and UK forces operating drones in the Middle East, and how the red card system works there—if at all—is not clear.

Finally and most importantly, there is the role of UK personnel in target selection. A former CIA official has underlined how effective UK forces have been:

“The British have been in Gulf states for decades. They have a reservoir of knowledge, contacts, and expertise that is very important … If you look at what capabilities each side has, that starts to tell you something about precisely where the actionable intelligence is coming from.”

I think my noble friend could usefully comment on the accuracy of that statement when she winds up.
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeMy noble friend Lord Hodgson and the noble Lord, Lord Judd, raised the issue of embedded personnel. This long-standing practice gives UK personnel valuable experience by operating alongside our allies. However, I reassure your Lordships that our personnel remain subject to UK law and to any policy restrictions placed on them by the MoD. If they are asked to take part in any unagreed operation, they must revert to the MoD for permission.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020Transparency is another important area, including the involvement of and accountability to Parliament. The provision of information by the Government is inadequate, and I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Janvrin, for his detailed contribution on this. The Defence Committee, the Intelligence and Security Committee, and the Joint Committee on Human Rights can look at certain aspects of drone use that fall within their mandates, but no parliamentary committee has the mandate to conduct comprehensive investigations into a drone strike. The report by our all-party group concluded that parliamentarians should demand greater transparency in the way the UK operates drones. A number of suggestions were proposed for consideration —for example, that the Government should create the post of an independent reviewer of drone operations, in the manner of the successful Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.Baroness SternThe noble Baroness also raised the issue of an independent reviewer. With the other processes and mechanisms in place, that might be premature, but, as with everything, the MoD will keep an open mind because, as one contributor observed, the whole process is evolving. As with others, we will certainly always assess what is happening and what we think might be necessary or might improve the situation.
16 January 2020In closing, perhaps I may ask the Minister three questions. First, can she tell the House whether the Government have any plans, or any work in progress, that would put more information on UK drone warfare into the public domain? Secondly, is there any plan to strengthen the accountability to Parliament in respect of drone warfare? Thirdly, if the answer to both these questions is negative—and it would be reasonable for the Minister to say that it is a bit soon in the life of this Parliament to ask such questions—is she prepared to meet some Members of your Lordships’ House, to hear their concerns and take this matter further?Baroness SternThe noble Baroness, Lady Stern, raised a number of issues from her report. I was able to look at it before coming into the debate, particularly the sections on transparency and accountability. These are important issues and the Government would never seek to evade or dodge them, but she will understand that there are mechanisms to ensure accountability, not least the role of Parliament, the role of committees within Parliament, and the right of parliamentarians to ask questions, hold debates and require Statements from Ministers. However, everything that we do has to be under the umbrella of acting in the best interests of the security of the United Kingdom, our citizens and our personnel if they are engaged in service in different parts of the globe. The MoD has a record of respecting parliamentary accountability and, subject to security constraints, of doing its best to co-operate in that regard.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020There are clear challenges in international law. Your Lordships’ International Relations and Defence Committee, on which I serve, in a report last year raised concerns that the international law-based order is already under threat. We are used to it being challenged by countries we see as, perhaps, our opponents in the international order; it is more of a problem when those threats come from our closest ally, the United States.

In our report we said that there were some challenges from the United States with Donald Trump as President, and that some of those challenges were likely to be much exacerbated in the event that a Trump Administration lasts not four years but eight years. So, as we look to the next American elections, are Her Majesty’s Government assured that the United States, as our closest ally, is acting within the framework of international law? Can we be assured that Ministers are acting, at least in private, to ensure that the United States is aware that we will not be complicit in illegal activities? Obviously I do not expect the Minister to suggest today anything that has been said. I assume that any conversations are in private, but I would like to be reassured that such conversations are happening.
Baroness Smith of Newnham, LDI will turn briefly to these vital rules under international humanitarian law. I am proud to say that the UK is a leader in that field and continues to uphold the rules-based international system. The Geneva conventions are a cornerstone of international humanitarian law and remain relevant to this day. I know that the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, was particularly concerned about this. I make it clear that the UK encourages all states to apply them in conflict. However, it is not just about ensuring responsibility in the conduct of warfare; there is also a need to ensure that weapons systems such as UAS do not proliferate into the hands of those who would use them unlawfully. That is why the UK applies strict criteria before issuing a licence to export arms, and works with partners, striving to ensure that the rules and regulations remain fit for purpose.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020The drone strike on 3 January raised a set of precedents that we need to be reassured are not likely to recur. The attack was on a state individual, not a non-state actor. It was undertaken without the permission of the host state—Iraq—and the President of the United States seemed to suggest that perhaps part of the motivation could be retaliation. Can the Minister assure us that the United Kingdom does not accept that we should in any case act without the permission of the host state, that we should not act outside a mandate from the United Nations and that we would not attack state individuals?Baroness Smith of Newnham, LDThe US case was set out in a letter to the UN Security Council on 8 January. The noble Baroness, Lady Smith, raised the issue of the UK’s relationship with the United States. The United States is a valued ally but, as has been observed in the past, that does not mean that we have to agree on everything. Good friends can reserve the right to disagree on certain things. We are united in our fight against terrorism but, in respect of individual acts, it is for the United States to be responsible for its own actions.

The United States asserted that Soleimani organised the strikes by militia group Kata’ib Hezbollah on 27 December 2019 that targeted a US military base in Kirkuk in Iraq and killed a US civilian contractor. The US is confident that Soleimani came to Baghdad to co-ordinate imminent attacks on American diplomats and military personnel. As one of the commanders of the Quds force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Qasem Soleimani certainly had blood on his hands and was behind the murder of numerous United States and British troops.
https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020Do the Government accept and put on record that they are legally responsible for what happens at the bases on our territory, for our partners’ use of intelligence and assets, and for the UK personnel embedded with partner forces, no matter which state commands? Will they clarify what safeguards and oversight mechanisms currently exist beyond assurances from partners? Is there an oversight mechanism? What is the line of oversight? Are they prepared to give an undertaking to establish and implement a mechanism to ensure that US operations involving UK intelligence and support are lawful, and develop policy safeguards to address areas of risk? These should surely include a robust assessment of the facts, taking into account information provided by the partner and the UK’s own intelligence and civil society sources of information, establishing a mechanism to ensure adherence to international human rights law when strikes are taken outside armed conflict, and establishing a framework to instate conditions on a partnership in the face of concerns, exiting the partnership if no improvement is made.Lord Judd, LabourA number of specific points were raised and I will try to deal with them if I can. My noble friend Lord Hodgson and the noble Lord, Lord Judd, raised the issue of embedded personnel. This long-standing practice gives UK personnel valuable experience by operating alongside our allies. However, I reassure your Lordships that our personnel remain subject to UK law and to any policy restrictions placed on them by the MoD. If they are asked to take part in any unagreed operation, they must revert to the MoD for permission.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020Currently, and disturbingly, the only options available are to assist or not to assist. Will the Government ask the US Government what is happening at the bases on UK territory? Specifically, is any element of the US drone programme, including but not limited to intelligence gathering, analysis and target development, facilitated through UK bases such as RAF Menwith Hill? In line with Section 17 of the Chilcot report, will the Government carry out standard continuous assessment of civilian casualties and harm resulting from UN drone strikes in places such as Yemen, where UK assistance is pivotal to the outcome of conflict? Will they inform Parliament, or a specific body in Parliament, of any assistance arrangements so that the requisite information is available for informed decision-makingLord Judd, LabourA number of specific points were raised and I will try to deal with them if I can. My noble friend Lord Hodgson and the noble Lord, Lord Judd, raised the issue of embedded personnel. This long-standing practice gives UK personnel valuable experience by operating alongside our allies. However, I reassure your Lordships that our personnel remain subject to UK law and to any policy restrictions placed on them by the MoD. If they are asked to take part in any unagreed operation, they must revert to the MoD for permission.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020What is the legal framework that covers the use of force on foreign soil? There are three elements: first, that it has been authorised by the United Nations; secondly, that it has the consent of the state in which the force is to be used; and finally, that it is used in self-defence. This right of self-defence depends on the imminence of any threat. The US interpretation of imminence has to date been a good deal more expansive than this country’s, but in recent years there appears to have been a series of subtle shifts taking us closer to the US position. Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeRegarding the use of armed unmanned aerial systems and UK practice, respect for international law that governs the use of force is of paramount importance. My noble friend Lord Hodgson referred to mission creep and the noble Lord, Lord Judd, also expressed concerns. I make it clear that our Armed Forces have always known that they are answerable for their conduct on the battlefield. That accountability is not least to Parliament—a matter that the noble Lord, Lord Janvrin, very properly raised. Our Armed Forces have always known that they must conform to the highest standards of personal behaviour and conduct. They have also known that they are bound by the criminal law of England and Wales, and they will always operate in accordance with the laws of war.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications of the use of drones to assassinate Qasem Soleimani for existing agreements on the use of drones.Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeLet me start by reiterating a point about the strike on Qasem Soleimani. It is important to be clear that the choice of air platform selected to deliver the strike has no bearing in determining whether the strike was lawful. Article 51 of the UN charter recognises that all states have an inherent right of self-defence, and it is for the United States to say how the criteria for self-defence are met. The UK will always defend the right of countries to defend themselves.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020I know that my noble friend is doing a valiant job, but one of the problems that we have is: yes, we are getting assurances, but is the red card ever used? Has it ever been used? I am not asking where it has been used or in what circumstances, but whether it has been used.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeI was just about to observe that the process applies to both UK strikes and those conducted by another nation. However, I am not sure whether it has been used. I shall have to take that back and write to my noble friend.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020Transparency is another important area, including the involvement of and accountability to Parliament. The provision of information by the Government is inadequate, and I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Janvrin, for his detailed contribution on this. The Defence Committee, the Intelligence and Security Committee, and the Joint Committee on Human Rights can look at certain aspects of drone use that fall within their mandates, but no parliamentary committee has the mandate to conduct comprehensive investigations into a drone strike. The report by our all-party group concluded that parliamentarians should demand greater transparency in the way the UK operates drones. A number of suggestions were proposed for consideration —for example, that the Government should create the post of an independent reviewer of drone operations, in the manner of the successful Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.Baroness SternThe noble Baroness also raised the issue of an independent reviewer. With the other processes and mechanisms in place, that might be premature, but, as with everything, the MoD will keep an open mind because, as one contributor observed, the whole process is evolving. As with others, we will certainly always assess what is happening and what we think might be necessary or might improve the situationhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020The use of drones outside armed conflict often rests on the legal argument for self-defence under international law. Indeed, the US initially stated that the drone strike was justified as a self-defence measure. However, this shifted in the days after the strike, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointing to previous actions of Soleimani as justification. Since the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings said that the attack “most likely” violated international law, can the Minister confirm whether the Government consider that the use of drones must be in accordance with international law? Lord Tunnicliffe, LabourThe noble Lord, Lord Janvrin, and the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, also raised important issues relating to the operational use of UAS. One question concerned the use of force outside an armed conflict. As the Government have stated previously, there is no policy on the use of force outside an armed conflict: rather, they have a policy to defend the UK and its citizens against both armed attacks and imminent threats of armed attack.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
16 January 2020Despite legal questions, drones and other autonomous weapons will continue to reshape warfare. Jane’s Information Group estimates that more than 80,000 surveillance drones and almost 2,000 attack drones will be purchased around the world in the next 10 years. The country that invests the earliest and most aggressively may end up in a position of military supremacy. People have argued that we should welcome such weapons systems because of their increased accuracy and the removal of harm for not only military personnel but civilians. While this can be the case, civilian casualties can never be ruled out, and autonomous weapons will continue to raise numerous concerns around oversight, accountability and human rights. In the short term, a definition of autonomous weapons would help lead to the creation of norms, even in the absence of the clear application of legal frameworks. Can the Minister explain why the UK Government are yet to adopt any internationally recognised definition of autonomous weapons? We should also use parliamentary committees to increase scrutiny of the MoD’s use of drones and emerging technology.Lord Tunnicliffe, LabourThe noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, raised a number of important points. On the matter of a definition of “autonomous weapons”, there is an ongoing international discussion and the technology is developing fast. The debate is insufficiently mature to conclude a definition. We therefore rely on the clear parameters of international humanitarian law to ensure legality, whatever weapon or weapons system is used.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-01-16/debates/A12A5FDB-E393-4C10-91CF-C88CBB51C78B/DronesInternationalLaw?highlight=international%20humanitarian%20law#contribution-1B864648-E529-461C-A183-F66E25DB5243
13 January 2020To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made as to whether the government of the United States' drone strike on 3 January constituted defensive action under international law.The Marquess of Lothian, ConservativeArticle 51 of the UN Charter recognises that all States have an inherent right of self-defence. It is for the United States to say how the criteria for self-defence are met. The Government of the United States has now set out its case for self-defence in a letter to the UN Security Council dated 8 January.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-01-07/hl143self-defence; IHL; extrajudicial killing; targetted killing
9 January 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has had discussions with his Kuwaiti counterpart on the potential for deploying RAF Reaper drones for operations over the Strait of Hormuz.Anneliese Dodds, Oxford East, LabourWe are in regular communication with all our regional allies. However, I am withholding information on the location of Reaper aircraft as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-01-06/479deployments and assets; RAF
7 January 2020In light of Soleimani’s alliances with Hezbollah and Hamas, and now the explicit threat of revenge, does my right hon. Friend agree that Israel is exposed and faces a real risk of attack from Iran? If he does, what steps are the UK Government taking to support Israel, a true friend of the UK and of democracy, in its right to self-defence?Suella Braverman, Conservative, FarehamRegretfully, I do not think the threat to Israel has changed because, even before the general’s death, Iran had been using its proxies to directly and indirectly target Israeli interests not just in the region but around the world. Israel, in its public statements, recognises the threat that General Soleimani posed but also recognises the importance of finding a solution to the growing tension in the region that helps absolutely no one. The tension does not help Iran find a way out, it does not help Israel’s security and it does not help Iraq’s security, which is why we are determined to see what we can do to try to de-escalate through the diplomatic route while also finding long-term solutions in the hope that the JCPOA continues to flourish or, if it does not, to ensure there is another path for Iran to follow.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-01-07/debates/BB5857A1-081F-483A-9E58-E22BEBCBA673/MiddleEastSecurity?highlight=self-defence#contribution-80DAE203-0C66-4043-A692-9669EC4E8894
7 January 2020I agree with much of the Minister’s critique of Iran and of General Soleimani, and I of course support the US’s right to self-defence, but to assert that right through international, extra-judicial, pre-emptive assassination surely warrants some criticism also, if only to ensure that our diplomacy is effective. Is the Government’s unquestioning support of Trump not likely to enhance Iran’s influence and control in Iraq, a country where so many of our armed forces have given their lives?Chi Onwurah, Labour, Newcastle upon Tyne CentralI am grateful for the hon. Lady’s comments. Our support for the US is not unquestioning at all; we talk to our allies a lot. Indeed, I talked to my US counterpart about being told in advance and not being told in advance; I have those discussions. We are friends and allies, but we are critical friends and allies when it matters. We are also focused on Iraq, which is on the frontline of both Iranian meddling and Daesh attacks on a daily basis. That is why we have been invited into Iraq by the sovereign Government at the moment to try to help build their capacity to help them defend themselves. That is the most important thing for us at this moment in time; the Iraqi people are at great risk of both Iranian militia antagonism and Daesh. We will be speaking to them and we are continually trying to get them to say that it is in their best interest for us to remain, but we will respect Iraqi sovereignty. If they require us to leave, that is their right and we will respect it. Interestingly, no one has yet asked in the media why an Iranian general felt it was his job to parade around Iraq, given that Iran is not invited into Iraq’s affairs.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-01-07/debates/BB5857A1-081F-483A-9E58-E22BEBCBA673/MiddleEastSecurity?highlight=self-defence#contribution-80DAE203-0C66-4043-A692-9669EC4E8894
6 January 2020To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to 2019 Unicef data recording more than 170,000 grave violations against children in war zones since 2010, what steps his Department is taking in co-operation with other countries to improve children’s safety in those areas.Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative, Morley and OutwoodThe UK is firmly committed to protecting children in armed conflict. We use our membership as a UN Security Council Permanent Member to prioritise conflict-related child protection issues in Council discussions and ensure that UN operations have the capacity and capability to address them. The UK is the largest single financial contributor to the Office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Children and Armed Conflict, contributing £800,000 in the last five years. The office works with parties to conflict that are committing grave violations to develop and implement action plans with the UN to (1) verify and release any child soldiers associated with armed groups and forces, (2) prevent re-recruitment and (3) the perpetration of other grave violations. The UK increased our funding for the 2019/20 financial year by a further £450,000 to the SRSG's core mandate and £50,000 for activities relating to the SRSG's Global Coalition for Reintegration.In 2018, the UK endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration and the Vancouver Principles, both key mechanisms for preventing grave violations against children. We collaborated with Sweden and others to agree Resolution 2427, adopted by the UN Security Council in July 2018, to strengthen protection mechanisms for children in armed conflict. We delivered a joint statement to the Human Rights Council in March 2019, reiterating our strong support for the mandate of the SRSG for Children And Armed Conflict, and called upon States to increase accountability for perpetrators of all six grave violations. Last year, the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UK signed up to the UN Voluntary Global Pledge – for Every Child, Every Right, which called for Member States to reaffirm their commitment to upholding and protecting child rights in the 21st century, and promoted children's perspectives in the development and assessment of strategies and programmes designed to realise their rights.https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-01-06/427Protection of Civilians
5 November 2019Congratulations to you, Mr Speaker. I thank the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Tom Tugendhat), for his comments. I have very much enjoyed being a member of that Committee.Will the Minister clarify what steps have been taken to review all sales of arms to Saudi Arabia? I can hardly bear to say the word “Yemen”, but there have been thousands of Saudi air attacks on civilians targets—including homes, markets, weddings, funerals, schools, hospitals and buses—that have killed thousands of civilians, including many children. Surely, that is in breach of international law. I hope that we are taking all the necessary steps to highlight the complicity of countries such as the UK in the alleged violations of international law.Ann Clwyd, Labour, Cynon ValleyI pay tribute to the right hon. Lady for her years of service to the House, particularly her years of service on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and for always keeping a laser-like focus on such issues. As she will be aware, we operate one of the most robust export control regimes in the world and take our licensing obligations seriously. When mistakes are made, things are investigated. As the Secretary of State for International Trade has said, the Government have apologised for the fact that export licences were issued in error, and we are investigating what happenedhttp://bit.ly/2XcxnCYYemen; IHL; Civilian protection
5 November 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, on how many occasions the illegal use of drones in the vicinity of the prison estate has resulted in convictions in each of the last three years.Gergory CampbellWe are taking decisive steps to tackle the use of drones as a supply route for criminals to bring contraband, including drugs and mobile phones, into prisons. Last year we launched Operation Trenton, a specialist team of Prison Service and Police investigators, to work together to intercept drones and track down the criminals behind them. It is not possible to identify from centrally held data which convictions secured under the Prison Act 1952 relate specifically to drones. However, we believe that at least 45 people have been convicted of illicit drone activity, with those sentenced serving a total of more than 140 years in prison. On 26 October, following the largest investigation of its kind, an organised criminal gang of 15 were collectively sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison for using drones to drop drugs into a number of prisons. The ringleader, Lee Anslow, received a sentence of 10 years, the highest single sentence for drone-related activity to date.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-11-05/188007/Prisons
30 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of undertaking an independent audit of the adequacy of the UK’s security sector reform program in Sri Lanka.Sarah Champion, Labour, RotherhamUK support to security sector development in Sri Lanka is an integrated part of our post-conflict approach to building lasting stability and accountability. We have a long-standing partnership with the Sri Lanka police service where we provide training and support designed to enhance their community policing capacity. We are also engaged in discrete activities involving the military and wider security sector which are designed to to support the Sri Lankan military to adapt and modernise, in particular to be more professional and accountable. As most of this activity is delivered via the Conflict Security and Stability Fund which conducts regular monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme, we assess that an independent audit is not required. All CSSF programmes are subject to rigorous annual reviews, which are conducted by an expert team including at least one person who is independent from the programme. Annual review summaries for the Sri Lanka programme are published on gov.uk. Following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks that killed more than 250 people, the then Minister of State for Security visited Sri Lanka to demonstrate solidarity, and to offer UK assistance in countering terrorism and violent extremism. We continue to engage with the Sri Lankan authorities and other international partners on where UK support would be most helpful. All UK security sector assistance is subject to robust Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments that analyse the potential human rights, international humanitarian law, political and reputational risks of any proposed assistance to ensure that it supports our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligationshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-30/7695Assistance; human rights; Sri Lanka
30 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his assessment is of the level of compliance with human rights law of the UK's security assistance to Sri Lanka after the 2019 Easter Sunday bombingsSarah Champion, Labour, RotherhamUK support to security sector development in Sri Lanka is an integrated part of our post-conflict approach to building lasting stability and accountability. We have a long-standing partnership with the Sri Lanka police service where we provide training and support designed to enhance their community policing capacity. We are also engaged in discrete activities involving the military and wider security sector which are designed to to support the Sri Lankan military to adapt and modernise, in particular to be more professional and accountable. As most of this activity is delivered via the Conflict Security and Stability Fund which conducts regular monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme, we assess that an independent audit is not required. All CSSF programmes are subject to rigorous annual reviews, which are conducted by an expert team including at least one person who is independent from the programme. Annual review summaries for the Sri Lanka programme are published on gov.uk. Following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks that killed more than 250 people, the then Minister of State for Security visited Sri Lanka to demonstrate solidarity, and to offer UK assistance in countering terrorism and violent extremism. We continue to engage with the Sri Lankan authorities and other international partners on where UK support would be most helpful. All UK security sector assistance is subject to robust Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments that analyse the potential human rights, international humanitarian law, political and reputational risks of any proposed assistance to ensure that it supports our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-30/7696Assistance; human rights; Sri Lanka; counterterrorism
29 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the internal security training provided by the British military mission to the Saudi Arabian National Guard comprises; and whether riot control is included in that trainingLloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownThe British Military Mission provides a variety of training to the Saudi Arabian National Guard, including occasional internal security training which includes a public order element. The British Military Mission provides training in appropriate and proportionate use of force, the rules of engagement, human rights compliance and de-escalation procedures in line with the principles of Her Majesty's Government's Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessment.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-29/7200Assistance; training; Saudi Arabia; OSJA
29 October 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to enhance cooperation between the UN, the EU, and international, regional, and sub-regional institutions, to advance support for peace in (1) the Sahel, (2) the African Great Lakes, and (3) the Horn of AfricaLord BoatengThe UK is enhancing its diplomatic and development efforts across the Sahel to improve international coordination. For example, the UK is expanding its Embassies in Mali and Mauritania, establishing new Embassies in Niger and Chad and setting up a regional hub in Dakar, Senegal. We are seeking to ensure that the Sahel Alliance of donors and the new Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel encourage close partnership between donors and Sahel governments and regional organisations. We are also working to ensure that the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) works effectively with the Malian Government and other security operations in the region. The UK will deploy 250 military personnel to this mission next year. The UK also supports efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to the Great Lakes region. The UK actively supports the work of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, who oversees the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSCF). This aims to address the root causes of conflict in the Great Lakes region. The UK is a significant bilateral donor in support of peacebuilding efforts in the region and supporter of MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping mission in eastern DRC. In the Horn of Africa, the UK is the penholder for all discussions on Somalia in the United Nations Security Council. This includes drafting the mandates for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM); both of which place strong emphasis on the need for coordination between Somalia's international supporters. In Sudan, the UK has frequent engagement with the AU, EU and UN counterparts to provide coordinated political and technical assistance to support the programme of reform and change that the new government has initiated. In addition, with our UN Security Council partners, we are securing renewed mandates for the UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur and the UN mission in Abyei. These will support developing peace processes led by the new government of Sudan. The UK also takes a lead role in South Sudan as a member of the Troika (with Norway and the US) to press for an end to the conflict, and implementation of the Peace Agreement signed on 12 September 2018. We released a statement on 21 October alongside Troika partners urging all sides to demonstrate their commitment to peace by increasing co-operation and working together to resolve outstanding issues (see attached document). We also engage frequently with regional countries, particularly members of IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) who brokered the Agreement. The UK takes a prominent role with the UN, providing 300 troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. We also play an active role at the UN in New York to ensure attention and support of the international community on ending the conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 since 2013.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-10-29/HL488Sahel; cooperation; partnership
24 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will review his Department's policy on training military officers from countries with a record of human rights abuses.Stewart Malcom MCDonald, SNP, Glasgow SouthAll training offered to foreign military personnel is provided in accordance with an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessment, which will evaluate the risk of the training being used in a way that is not in line with human rights and British values. Participation in UK training exposes personnel from other countries to UK values and standards and helps to promote concepts of accountability, transparency and human rights protection. OSJA assessments are reviewed annually and also if there is a change of circumstances which might significantly alter the risks relating to any existing Defence training programmes.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-24/5051Military Assistance; training; human rights
23 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen mechanisms to hold perpetrators accountable for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Yemen.Stephen Twigg MP (Lab) (Liverpool West Derby)The UK takes alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and human rights law extremely seriously. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of IHL, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from non-governmental and international organisations. In terms of human rights, Lord Ahmad made clear in his statement of 22 October that the overall human rights situation in Yemen remains deeply worrying, but that a political settlement to the conflict will create the conditions for the legitimate Government of Yemen to promote and protect the human rights of all Yemenishttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-23/4245IHL violations; Yemen
22 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the decision taken at the National Security Council in 2012 to collect and store evidence of breaches of international humanitarian law perpetrated during the Syrian conflict, what steps the Government is taking to use that evidence to tackle a culture of impunityDr Andrew Mitchell, Conservative, Sutton ColdfieldThe UK is committed to highlighting the appalling violations of international humanitarian law in Syria and to seeing those responsible held to account in the most appropriate jurisdiction. We are providing both political and financial support, including £950,000 to date, to the work of the UN International Impartial and Independent Mechanism which is gathering evidence for the prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law in Syria. This is part of the over £9 million that the UK has contributed since 2012 in support of efforts to gather evidence and assist victims of human rights abuses and violationshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-22/3591IHL violations; Syria
21 October 2019The recent attack on a Saudi oil facility was carried out using small pilotless drones capable of flying hundreds of miles. Will the Minister tell the House what defence the UK has against similar attacks?Eddie Hughes, Conservative, Walsall NorthThe Home Office has responsibility for counter-drone activity within the United Kingdom. The MOD has a layered air defence capability, and we are happy to allow other Departments to use that capability when they specifically request ithttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-10-21/debates/A8979067-C7CA-44CF-950E-C61ADA455704/TopicalQuestions#contribution-D758B85D-490D-4D63-934B-DFF3B9A6C7EFSaudi Arabia Aramco attack
21 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Saudi Arabian counterpart on the drone attacks on oil refineries in that countryJim Shannon, DUP, StrangfordThe Foreign Secretary raised the attacks with Saudi Minister of State Adel Al-Jubeir on 21 October. The UK is confident that Iran bears responsibility for the Aramco attacks in Saudi Arabia on 14 September. We continue to work for stability in the region with the international community, including Saudi Arabia, to uphold the international rules that protect us all.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-21/2724Saudi Arabia Aramco attack
18 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen mechanisms to hold perpetrators accountable for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Syria.Stephen Twigg MP (Lab) (Liverpool West Derby)The UK is committed to highlighting the appalling violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Syria and to seeing those responsible for the most serious crimes held to account in the most appropriate jurisdiction. We continue to support the UN Commission of Inquiry's investigations into human rights violations and abuses in Syria and the work of the UN International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) which is gathering evidence for the prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law in Syria. The UK has contributed over £9 million since 2012 in support of Syrian and international efforts to gather evidence and assist victims of human rights abuses and violations, including £950,000 to the IIIM.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-18/1881IHL violations
17 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) civilian staff in his Department based in the UK, (b) military personnel based in the UK, (c) civilian staff in his Department based in Saudi Arabia and (d) military personnel based in Saudi Arabia were employed on the (i) Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project and (ii) Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Project on 1 April 2019Martin Docherty-Hughes, SNP, West DunbartonshireI refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for North East Fife (Stephen Gethins) to Question 286284 on 9 September 2019 --> The number of civilian and military personnel based in the UK and Saudi Arabia who were employed by the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project (SANGCOM) and the Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Projects (MODSAP) on 1 April 2019 is shown below. The Saudi Arabian Government reimburses the UK Ministry of Defence for these staff costs and there is, therefore, no cost to the UK taxpayer.

Manpower number as at 1 April 2019


UK-based Civilian Staff: 4 (SANGCOM) and 69 (MODSAP)

UK-based Military Staff: 0 (SANGCOM) and 35 (MODSAP)

Saudi-based Civilian Staff: 51 (SANGCOM) and 38 (MODSAP)

Saudi-based Military Staff: 20 (SANGCOM) and 66 (MODSAP)

https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-17/1698 ; https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-09-03/286284/Saudi Arabia; assistance
17 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether lessons learned from recent urban operations in Raqqa and Mosul where the UK provided non-combat training and advice to partner forces have informed his Department’s plans to allocate funding for new urban capability to dismounted infantry.Martin Docherty-Hughes, SNP, West DunbartonshireFollowing any major conflict, lessons are identified and reviewed; changes are then made if required. The recent operations in Raqqa and Mosul are no different and have contributed to initiatives improving the equipment of the dismounted soldier in the urban environment.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-17/1695Urban conflict; Finances
15 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the Government is taking to fulfil the commitment to provide military assistance to Saudi Arabia made in the Written Statement of 23 May 2019, Official Report HCWS716Lloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownI refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 1 April 2019 to Question 237783 --> Question To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether (a) UK military forces and (b) UK passport holders contracted to work for the (i) Saudi Arabian and (ii) UK Government are operating inside Yemen --> Answer: The UK provides information, advice and assistance to Saudi Arabia to respond to the threat of strategic weapons fired by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia. We are not and have never been a member of the Saudi-led coalition. Our assistance is clearly limited to addressing this specific threat. UK military personnel in Saudi Arabia remain under UK command and control. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not hold information on non-MOD personnel. That is a matter for the individual concerned.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-10-15/650; https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-03-27/237783Military assistance; Saudi Arabia; Yemen
2 October 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen support for mechanisms to hold perpetrators accountable for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.Chris, Law, SNP, Dundee WestSupport for international criminal justice and international humanitarian law is a fundamental element of the UK's foreign policy. The UK believes that justice and accountability for the most serious international crimes are crucial to building lasting peace and security. In line with these principles, the British Government has supported the strengthening of a number of mechanisms to enable justice and accountability for the most serious international crimes. The UK, as a State Party to the Rome Statute, provides financial, political and practical support to the International Criminal Court. We are one of the largest contributors to the Court, contributing £9.7m in 2018. The UK, together with a number of other States Parties, is proposing a number of actions to strengthen the Court to help it to fulfil its mandate under the Rome Statute. These will be discussed at the Assembly of States Parties in December. Our goal is to improve the Court's ability to deliver justice for victims of atrocity crimes that fall under its jurisdiction. Since 2016, we have committed almost £1 million to the UN International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to support the preparation of legal cases for serious crimes under international law committed in the Syrian conflict. Following UK-led lobbying, on 1 August the UN Secretary General announced a new Board of Inquiry to investigate attacks on civilian infrastructure during the recent violence in Northwest Syria. We are also committed to supporting the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM). The UK played a leading role in the joint EU-OIC resolution that set up the IIMM, which will collect and preserve evidence of human rights violations for future prosecutions. Furthermore, we intend to establish a UK human rights sanctions regime under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 after we leave the EU. The regime designed to target individuals who have committed serious human rights violations, but who would otherwise not be addressed by the current geographical and thematic sanctions regimes. The UK is also committed to strengthening justice for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and holding perpetrators to account at the national and international levels through its Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI). This is the main focus of the UK-hosted PSVI international conference in London, 18-20 November, and a key outcome will be to agree concrete actions with the international community to ensure accountability for these horrific crimes. We work through the multilateral system not only to support the implementation of agreed standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law; but also to hold countries to account when they violate those standards. For example, in the OSCE the UK was instrumental in invoking the Moscow Mechanism in response to the serious human rights violations in Chechnya. The UK has been vocal in both the Permanent Council and the Human Dimension Committee in its criticism of those participating states that fail to uphold universally agreed principles. Similarly, in the Council of Europe the UK has been consistent in challenging those member states that fail to meet their obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights, including the execution of judgements by the Courthttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-24/290367Accountability for violation against IHL and IHRL
26 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the perpetrators of attacks on civilians in conflict zones are not supplied with arms, material or financial services by the UK.Caroline Lucas, Green, Brighton, PavillionThe Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework for regulating the export of arms and dual-use equipment from the UK. The Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the equipment might be used for internal repression, or in the commission of serious violations of International Humanitarian Law.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-26/291358Assistance; Civilian Protection; PoC; investigations
26 September 2019Toask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information his Department holds on the involvement in the recent air strikes on a detention centre in Sana’a of UK (a) planes and (b) weapons sold to Saudi Arabia.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyThe Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to consider the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. We will not issue any export licences for Saudi Arabia that are inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including Criterion 2(c): whether there is a clear risk that the goods might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-26/291331Arms Export; Saudi Arabia; IHL violations
26 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to support a full, independent UN-led inquiry into alleged war crimes committed by all sides in the Yemeni conflict.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyThe UK takes alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) extremely seriously. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of IHL, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from Non-Governmental Organisations and international organisations. The Government is not opposing calls for international independent investigation, but foremost, we believe the Coalition should investigate alleged breaches of IHL attributed to them. They have best insight into their own military procedures and this allows them to really understand what went wrong and apply the lessons learnt in the best possible way. The UK regularly raises the importance of IHL and of conducting thorough and conclusive investigations into alleged violations with Saudi Arabia, including at senior levels.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-26/291333IHL: Inquiry into violations in Yemen
26 September 2019Task the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made on the effectiveness of the Saudi-led coalition’s procedures for investigating airstrikes on civilian targets.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyThe UK regularly presses the Coalition on the importance of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and of conducting thorough and conclusive investigations into alleged violations of IHL. We welcome the release of over 100 statements by the Coalition Joint Incident Assessment Team from investigations into alleged breaches of IHL in Yemen. We welcome the improvements in the quantity and quality of JIAT’s statements. While we recognise there remains room for improvement and will continue to provide support, we are encouraged by the progress JIAT has made.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-26/291332Yemen; investigations into violations; JIAT
26 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade if she will make an urgent statement on the recent unlawful award of arms export licences to Saudi Arabia, in contravention of a Court of Appeal ruling that determined that the UK must cease arms exports to the countryChris, Law, SNP, Dundee WestToday, I will be tabling a written ministerial statement updating Parliament on the latest situation in relation to the undertaking given to the Court of Appeal on 20 June about export licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners. As the Government informed the Court on 16 September and followed up with an affidavit today, my Department identified errors in the export licensing procedure in relation to the Saudi coalition’s activities in the conflict in Yemen. As I stated publicly on 16 September, I unreservedly apologise for the export licences that my Department issued in error. I have also given my unreserved apology to the Court. A procedure to ensure that export licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners are not granted for goods for possible use in the conflict in Yemen was put in place on 20 June 2019. That followed the Court order and the then Secretary of State’s statement to Parliament. The Export Control Joint Unit subsequently issued export licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners and, in line with the agreed procedure, these were signed off at official, rather than ministerial, level. It subsequently came to light that two licences were in breach of the Court undertaking, and one licence was granted contrary to the statement in Parliament, as these licences were for goods that could possibly be used in the conflict in Yemen. Without seeking to prejudice the independent investigation, it appears that information pertaining to the conflict had not been fully shared across Government. I took immediate action as soon as the issue was brought to my attention on 12 September: taking immediate steps to inform the Court and Parliament; putting in place immediate interim procedures to make sure the errors could not happen again; and instigating a complete and full internal review of all licences granted for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners since 20 June. The Department’s permanent secretary, on my behalf, commissioned a full internal investigation. The Court and Parliament were informed on 16 September with the appropriate detail, and the interim procedures mean that senior officials in the Department for International Trade, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence guarantee that the latest information available to Government is used in their advice. All recommendations to grant licences for the export of items for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners will now be referred to Ministers, rather than being signed off at official level. The full review of licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners is currently being undertaken, and this internal review is still ongoing. As a result of the internal review so far, we have identified one further licence that has been granted in breach of the undertaking given to the Court of Appeal. This licence has not been used and has now been revoked. My officials are also carrying out an urgent review of the composition of the coalition. This has identified a further licence that is in breach of the parliamentary statement. We reassessed the licence in light of the latest information and subsequently revoked it in so far as it applies to Jordan. My officials continue to review all the information relating to licences granted for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners since 20 June 2019, and we will be open and transparent with the Court and Parliament as to any new issues that emerge. In addition, the DIT permanent secretary, on my behalf, has commissioned a full independent investigation, which will establish the precise circumstances in which the licences were granted and whether any other licences have been granted in breach of the undertaking to the Court or contrary to the parliamentary statement, and it will confirm that procedures are in place so that no further breaches of the undertaking can occur. This investigation will be led by an independent senior official: the director general of policy group for the Department of Work and Pensions. It is possible that more cases will come to light. As I have done so far, I will keep the Court and Parliament informed as to any new information that emerges.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-24/290367IHL; IHRL; violations of international law
25 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen support for mechanisms enabling perpetrators to be held accountable for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.Stephen Crabb, Conservative, Preseli PembrokeshireSupport for international criminal justice and international humanitarian law is a fundamental element of the UK's foreign policy. The UK believes that justice and accountability for the most serious international crimes are crucial to building lasting peace and security. In line with these principles, the British Government has supported the strengthening of a number of mechanisms to enable justice and accountability for the most serious international crimes. The UK, as a State Party to the Rome Statute, provides financial, political and practical support to the International Criminal Court. We are one of the largest contributors to the Court, contributing £9.7m in 2018. The UK, together with a number of other States Parties, is proposing a number of actions to strengthen the Court to help it to fulfil its mandate under the Rome Statute. These will be discussed at the Assembly of States Parties in December. Our goal is to improve the Court's ability to deliver justice for victims of atrocity crimes that fall under its jurisdiction. Since 2016, we have committed almost £1 million to the UN International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to support the preparation of legal cases for serious crimes under international law committed in the Syrian conflict. Following UK-led lobbying, on 1 August the UN Secretary General announced a new Board of Inquiry to investigate attacks on civilian infrastructure during the recent violence in Northwest Syria. We are also committed to supporting the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM). The UK played a leading role in the joint European Union-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation resolution that set up the IIMM, which will collect and preserve evidence of human rights violations for future prosecutions. Furthermore, we intend to establish a UK human rights sanctions regime under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 after we leave the EU. The regime designed to target individuals who have committed serious human rights violations, but who would otherwise not be addressed by the current geographical and thematic sanctions regimes. We work through the multilateral system not only to support the implementation of agreed standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law; but also to hold countries to account when they violate those standards. For example, in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the UK was instrumental in invoking the Moscow Mechanism in response to the serious human rights violations in Chechnya. The UK has been vocal in both the Permanent Council and the Human Dimension Committee in its criticism of those participating states that fail to uphold universally agreed principles. Similarly, in the Council of Europe the UK has been consistent in challenging those member states that fail to meet their obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights, including the execution of judgements by the Court.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-25/290889IHL; IHRL; violations of international law
25 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure that drone safety regulations are maintained when the UK leaves the EUJamie Stone, LibDem, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter RossThe UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the UK competent authority for the administration of legislation under the Air Navigation Order (ANO). The implications for the Regulation and operation of all military aircraft, including Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS), when the UK leaves the EU has been thoroughly assessed by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) (which forms part of the Defence Safety Authority) with relevant measures being developed in the case that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. This will be ongoing to ensure compliance with all future developments in this area. The MAA continues to publish guidance to its Regulated Communityhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-25/291043Drone safety outside EU
24 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what provision the review of the UK’s protection of civilians strategy is making for the specific vulnerabilities faced by children in conflict zonesChris, Law, SNP, Dundee WestThe Government is reviewing its strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. It is committed to ensuring that the outcome of the review is fully consistent with International Humanitarian Law, which does not draw distinctions between categories of civilians. The Government's approach will benefit all civilians, with a clear understanding of their diverse needs, and will reflect both the changing international landscape and complexity of many modern conflicts. The review also provides an opportunity for the Government to consider recent research by academics and Non-Governmental Organisations in this important field.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-24/290365Civilian Protection; PoC
24 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department’s review of the UK’s protection of civilians strategy will embed (a) civilian casualty recording and (b) civilian harm-tracking mechanisms to improve understanding of the impacts of conflict on civilians.Chris, Law, SNP, Dundee WestThe Foreign and Commonwealth Office is leading a review of the Government's approach to Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict – an initiative that coincides with the 20th anniversary of the first Protection of Civilians Resolution to be agreed by the UN Security Council in 1999 (UNSCR 1265). The review involves contributions from both the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence and is an opportunity for the Government to take into account recent developments in the field of Protection of Civilians policy, including work by states, international organisations, civil society and academia, and to consider a wide range of issues, including inter alia casualty recording and civilian harm-tracking mechanisms. The review will be completed by the end of 2019.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-09-24/290366Civilian Protection; PoC
3 September 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they intend to take as a result of the report of the UN Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts Yemen: Collective Failure, Collective Responsibility published on 3 September, which details multiple violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Yemen, and concludes that many of those "may result in individuals being held responsible for war crimes" and calls on the international community to "stop turning a blind eye to these violations and the intolerable humanitarian situation" and to refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict.The Marquess of LothianThis UN report underlines the deeply concerning human rights situation in Yemen and the importance of reaching a political solution to the conflict. The UK has been at the forefront of international efforts to bring a diplomatic solution to the appalling conflict in Yemen. We operate one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. The Government takes alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) extremely seriously. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of IHL, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from international organisationshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-09-03/HL17662Yemen; Arms Export; IHL
3 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has plans to include violations committed against children living in conflict in its protection of civilians strategy.Chris, Law, SNP, Dundee WestInternational Humanitarian Law (IHL) provides a robust legal framework for the protection of all civilians (including children) and combatants, and the UK works closely with states and NGOs to promote compliance with this legal framework. The UK is committed to protecting children affected by armed conflict, including ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers. As an active member of the UN Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), we have been working in particular on how to improve humanitarian access for children in conflict. The UK frequently applies diplomatic pressure to states and non-state armed groups who violate the rights of children in conflict contexts, and funds projects to help protect and rehabilitate vulnerable children. In April 2018, we endorsed the Safe School Declaration and we are encouraging other countries to follow suit. The UK worked very closely with Sweden and others to agree a UN Security Council Resolution on Children and Armed Conflict which was adopted in early July this year. The UK has also endorsed the guidance set out in both the Paris Principles and the Vancouver Principles, which aims to ensure that child protection is an operational priority for UN peacekeeping missions.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-09-03/169420Protection of civilians strategy; PoC; FCO
3 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has plans to run a public consultation on updating the UK’s protection of civilians strategyChris, Law, SNP, Dundee WestThere are no plans to run a public consultation.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-09-03/169419Protection of civilians strategy; PoC; FCO
3 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of its protection of civilians strategy; and whether he has plans to update that guidance.Chris, Law, SNP, Dundee WestThe principles of the 2010 Protection of Civilians Strategy continue to guide our work and we consistently review our cross-Government approach. We aim to address the growing challenges of protecting civilians affected by conflict through political engagement, strengthening accountability, peace support operations, ensuring respect for International Humanitarian Law in UK military operations, strengthening state and non-state capacity, humanitarian action, and offering refuge to those in need of protection. The continuing evolution of our approach is demonstrated by the UK's adherence, in April 2018, to the Safe Schools Declaration which supports the protection and continuation of education in armed conflict.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-09-03/169418Protection of civilians strategy; PoC; FCO
3 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the (a) expenditure was for the financial year 2018-19 and (b) budget is for 2019-20 for (i) the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project and (ii) the Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Project.Stephen Gethins, SNP, North East FifeThe expenditure of the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project (SANGCOM) is recovered from the Saudi Arabian Government, but SANGCOM operates under a separate Memorandum of Understanding from Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Project (MODSAP), under which the details of such recoveries are confidential to the two Governments. The expenditure by the MODSAP in financial year 2018-19 amounted to £66.43 million. The budget however for financial year 2019-20 is £69.08 million. The costs of MODSAP are met from a management fee received from the Saudi Arabian Government.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-09-03/286285/Saudi Arabia; assistance
3 September 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) civilian staff in his Department based in the UK, (b) military personnel based in the UK, (c) civilian staff in his Department based in Saudi Arabia and (d) military personnel based in Saudi Arabia were employed by the (i) Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project and (ii) Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Project on 1 April 2019Stephen Gethins, SNP, North East FifeThe number of civilian and military personnel based in the UK and Saudi Arabia who were employed by the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project (SANGCOM) and the Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Projects (MODSAP) on 1 April 2019 is shown below. The Saudi Arabian Government reimburses the UK Ministry of Defence for these staff costs and there is, therefore, no cost to the UK taxpayer.

Manpower number as at 1 April 2019


UK-based Civilian Staff: 4 (SANGCOM) and 69 (MODSAP)

UK-based Military Staff: 0 (SANGCOM) and 35 (MODSAP)

Saudi-based Civilian Staff: 51 (SANGCOM) and 38 (MODSAP)

Saudi-based Military Staff: 20 (SANGCOM) and 66 (MODSAP)

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-09-03/286284/Saudi Arabia; assistance
23 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what evidence his Department based its estimate of the predicted registration of 170,000 drone users within the first 18 months of the UK Drone Registration SchemeLee Rowley, Conservative, North East DerbyshireThe Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) consultation document explains that the predicted 170,000 unmanned aircraft operator registration figure has been calculated using adoption rates for other national registration schemes (such as those in Ireland and the United States) against the UK population, and available research on drone use and attitudes. The document also sets out the rationale for the cost of ongoing upgrades to the service. The initial scheme will be launched with a minimum scope and service level and, in common with best practice and the Government Digital Service framework, the CAA plans to make minor service improvements and major functionality improvements. Major improvements may include a renewal invitation process and incorporate the existing unmanned aircraft service for commercial operators.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-23/281035Drone registration; civilian drones
23 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using British Model Flying Association drone registration data to avoid duplicate registrations in the UK Drone Registration SchemeLee Rowley, Conservative, North East DerbyshireSmall unmanned aircraft (SUAs) can be enormously beneficial, both commercially and as a leisure pursuit. However, SUAs also have the potential to pose a safety and security threat so it is important that those operating them understand the law and their responsibilities as a remote pilot of an aircraft in UK airspace. The changes to the Air Navigation Order laid before Parliament in May 2018 require that all operators of SUAs of all types weighing 250g – 20kg must register their aircraft by 30 November 2019. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is working with the British Model Flying Association to see whether, as a service to their members, they may want to assist in the initial upload of data. The CAA will be launching an awareness-raising campaign to ensure that new and existing operators and remote pilots of small unmanned aircraft (SUAs) are aware of the requirement to register and take a competency test by 30 November 2019https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-23/281036Drone registration; civilian drones
22 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using drones to detect defects in roadsSir Greg Knight, Conservative, East YorkshireThe Government is committed to exploring all technology, including the use of drones, to identify road defects and improve road maintenance. The Infrastructure Inspection Pathfinder project, carried out by the Connected Places Catapult (previously Transport Systems Catapult) under the Government Drone Pathfinder Programme, aims at accelerating the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to enable UK businesses to access wider inspection and surveying capabilities of this smart technology.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-17/278390Civilian drones; repairs and maintenance
22 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterparts on (a) the accuracy of its reporting of civilian casualties due to US drone strikes and (b) the lasting effect of US drone strikes on civilian populations in SomaliaJo Swinson, LibDem, East DunbartonshireThe Secretary of State will build on the work of his predecessor and continue to have regular engagement with his US counterpart on counter-terrorism activities. We have not sought to make an independent assessment of the accuracy or impact of US strikes in Somalia; this would be challenging, given the difficult security environment. The main cause of civilian casualties in Somalia is the insurgency and indiscriminate terrorist activity of Al-Shabaab. Support from the US and others to the Federal Government of Somalia's efforts to counter terrorism is critical to limiting Al-Shabaab's capability to inflict harmhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-22/280178US drones; civilian casualties; Somalia
17 July 2019My Lords, yesterday the Defence Select Committee report found that MoD expenditure has been cut by an eye-watering 25% since 2010. The former US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs said that during this time there has been, “a steady decline of Britain as the partner of first choice for the US military”. Does the Minister accept that austerity has undermined the UK/US defence partnership and that ultimately you cannot do security on the cheap?Lord TunnicliffeMy Lords, no, I do not think it has undermined the partnership. It is true that defence expenditure has declined as a proportion of GDP since the 1980s, but we have seen total defence expenditure steadily increase again since 2014. I would add only that, when we look at defence spending, it is not necessarily appropriate to try to compare like with like, because the nature of defence spending changes year by year, particularly the nature of operational spending. As I said, the core defence budget has been increasing and is currently £39 billionhttp://bit.ly/37dSYj7Partnership US/UK
11 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Black Hornet drones the British Army (a) possesses and (b) has deployed in active serviceKeith Vaz, Labour, Leicester EastThe Army first purchased 160 Black Hornet 1 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in 2011 as part of a £20 million contract with FLIR UAS (formerly Prox Dynamics). The systems were used on operations in Afghanistan, but that capability has since been phased out. In 2019 the Army purchased 90 of the upgraded Black Hornet 3 UAS at a contract value of £1.7 million. There is no intention to deploy the capability on operations at this timehttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-11/276153Black Hornet; MOD
11 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much her Department has spent on the acquisition of Black Hornet dronesKeith Vaz, Labour, Leicester EastThe Army first purchased 160 Black Hornet 1 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in 2011 as part of a £20 million contract with FLIR UAS (formerly Prox Dynamics). The systems were used on operations in Afghanistan, but that capability has since been phased out. In 2019 the Army purchased 90 of the upgraded Black Hornet 3 UAS at a contract value of £1.7 million. There is no intention to deploy the capability on operations at this timehttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-11/276154Black Hornet; MOD
11 July 2019Given the evidence from organisations such as the Red Cross, and given what we know about the humanitarian violations in Yemen, does the Secretary of State not think it is time, once and for all and ​regardless of any review, to look at the international evidence, and stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia to break international law?Patricia Gibson, SNP, North Ayrshire and ArranWe take a rigorous and robust view in this country, as the court said, and we are very aware of any potential breaches of international humanitarian law. I think the hon. Lady will find that the United Kingdom has one of the most stringent sets of rules around arms exporting anywhere in the world.http://bit.ly/2O8cKDQSaudi Arabia; assistance
10 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the United Nations Security Council letter dated 26 January 2018 from the Panel of Experts on Yemen mandated by Security Council resolution 2342 (2017) addressed to the President of the Security Council, what steps he took following publication of (a) footnotes 19 and 20 on page 267 and (b) footnote 39 page on 272 recording that components of missiles used by the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen were manufactured by EDO MBM Technology Limited, UK.Caroline Lucas, Green, Brighton, PavillionThe Government rigorously assesses arms export licences against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. We draw on a wide range of sources of information in making our assessments, including reports from the UN Panel of Experts. We will not issue any export licences for Saudi Arabia that are inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including Criterion 2(c): where there is a clear risk that the goods might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law. The Government disagrees with the 20 June Court of Appeal judgment and is appealing to the Supreme Court. We are also carefully considering the implications of the judgment for decision-making. While we do this, we will not grant any new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia and other coalition partners for items which might be used in the conflict in Yemen.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-10/275727Arms Exports; Saudi Arabia
9 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when the Royal Marines will be ready to use the Lightweight Multirole Missile against dronesAndrew Rosindell, Conservative, RomfordOn current plans the Royal Marines will declare initial NATO compliant operating capability for the Lightweight Multirole Missile in early 2021https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-09/275153counterdrone technolgy
8 July 2019Given the increasing threat that drones pose to our national security, as recently highlighted by the insightful BBC documentary “Britain’s Next Air Disaster”, what assessment has my right hon. Friend made of our armed forces’ ability to respond to a potential drone strike, and what investment is her Department making in new technology to rapidly neutralise such threats?Maggie Throup, Conservative, ErewashMy hon. Friend raises an important point, and the MOD takes the threat of the nefarious use of drones very seriously. Using the defence transformation fund, we are working with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, international partners and industry to further develop our counter-drone capabilities, and of course they will be used to protect defence infrastructure wherever they are needed. More broadly, a lot of the responsibility for protecting other sites in the UK lies with the police, but we will always be there to help if neededhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-07-08/debates/99378AD2-572F-46CD-B99B-EFCF6B25D09E/TopicalQuestions#contribution-1E6F08F5-88B5-48BB-8731-2324B056589Adrone threat to UK; counterdrone technology
8 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the article published in The Guardian on 18 June 2019 entitled The Saudis couldn't do it without us: the UK's true role in Yemen's deadly war and the article published in The Observer on 23 June 2019 entitled British target training of Saudi air force did not stop Yemen atrocities, if he will make an assessment of the effect on the UK’s international reputation of its role in training the Royal Saudi Air Force.Lyn Brown, Labour, West HamThe UK and Saudi Arabia have a longstanding bilateral relationship based on a number of pillars including defence, security, trade and investment, shared concerns about regional issues and energy security. The UK supports Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect its national security against critical threats, such as the ballistic missiles and drones fired by the Houthis into civilian areas in Saudi Arabia. The UK works with Saudi Arabia to ensure targeting procedures are compliant with International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and we regularly raise the importance of IHL compliance with Saudi Arabia, including at senior levels. The UK is not a member of the Saudi-led Coalition and the UK’s role is limited to providing advice, information and assistance to help Saudi Arabia respond to airborne threats launched by the Houthis. The UK has no role in setting Coalition policy.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-08/274495Yemen; Saudi Arabia; assistance
3 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to paragraph 141 of the Court of Appeal judgment in R (on the application of Campaign Against Arms Trade) v The Secretary of State for International Trade, for what reason his Department's policy was not to assess past violations of international humanitarian law by the Saudi-led coalition in YemenLloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownThe central issue in relation to military exports to the Saudi-led coalition in the context of the conflict in Yemen is Criterion 2c of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the Government will not grant an export licence if there is a clear risk that the item might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL). Criterion 2c is a prospective and predictive exercise as to whether there is a clear risk in the future. Although the Government has always considered the historic record in respect of IHL, past instances are only a part of the picture in relation to Criterion 2c. The Court of Appeal judgment concerns reaching findings on IHL in specific incidents in the past. The Government’s approach has recognised the inherent difficulty of doing so where we do not have access to complete information. We are now considering the implications of the judgment for decision-makinghttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-03/272914Arms Export; Saudi Arabia; IHL violations
1 July 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to help protect children from the consequences of the bombing in Idlib, Syria.Frank Field, Independent (prev. L)The Government is immensely concerned about the plight of all civilians, particularly children, affected by the current conflict in Idlib and surrounding areas. Last year DFID provided over £80m humanitarian assistance to Northwest Syria. Our UN and NGO partners are working to meet growing needs among displaced people in the region, including the estimated 100,000 children displaced since 1 May, through the distribution of food, shelter and other essential items. We are also providing education and safe spaces for children. Whilst this work has been impacted by the recent conflict in the region and the senseless attacks on civilian infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, to date our partners are continuing to be able to work effectively in the region to help those most in need. In addition to humanitarian assistance, we continue to use our position on the UN Security Council to call out the regime and Russia for their attacks on schools and hospitals, breaching international law and needlessly impacting civilians.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-07-01/271376Civilian Protection; children, Syria
26 June 2019If that is the case, why are the Government appealing the judgment instead of promoting a peace settlement in Yemen? Since 2016, for three years, UN experts have been saying that the Saudi coalition has violated international humanitarian law in Yemen. This air campaign has killed tens of thousands of people, and injured and displaced many more. The Government say: “there can be no military solution to this particular conflict. There can only be a negotiated and political solution.”—[Official Report, 20 June 2019; Vol. 662, c. 380.] If that is the case, why have they already pumped £4.6 billion of military equipment into this brutal bombardment?Jeremby Corbyn, Labour, Islington NorthWhat we do believe, as I have just said—I said it in answer to the right hon. Gentleman’s last question and I said it, I think, in answer to his first question—is that the only way to ensure the security and stability of Yemen for the future is through a political settlement. That is why this Government are supporting the work being done by the UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths, and that is why we are continuing to use our diplomatic efforts, including, as I said, the Foreign Secretary holding a Yemen Quad on Saturday to encourage others around the table. We are very clear that we support the efforts to secure the agreement by the parties to the conflict to implement the Stockholm ​agreements. That is an important part of the process leading to peace and a political solution. That work is essential so that progress can be made at the next round of these talks and so that the humanitarian supply lines can be opened uphttp://bit.ly/2FzPICsYemen; arms export; assistance
26 June 2019The Prime Minister does not appear to understand the depth of feeling at the UN, Parliaments around the world or even the US Senate and the House on this situation. The UN itself has warned that by the end of 2019, if the war continues, 230,000 people will have lost their lives, of whom 140,000 are children under the age of five. The UK and EU law state that the Government must: “not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items used might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.” The Government said they had used the following criteria to judge “an understanding of Saudi military procedures; continuing engagement with the Saudis at the highest level” and “Saudi public commitments to IHL”.—[Official Report, 20 June 2019; Vol. 662, c. 375-6.] If the Saudi Government say they are respecting human rights, do we then ignore all evidence on the ground in Yemen and continue to sell weapons to the regime, which has led to this appalling death toll already in this conflict?Jeremby Corbyn, Labour, Islington NorthFirst, as I have made clear, we are seeking permission to appeal the recent judgment. The judgment is not about whether the Government made the right or wrong decisions, but about the decision-making process and whether it was rational. We are considering the implications of the judgment, alongside seeking permission to appeal, and while we do that, we will not grant any new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners that might be used in the conflict in Yemen. The right hon. Gentleman talks about the conflict in Yemen. As I have just said, let us remember what happened and why we are seeing this conflict in Yemen: it was the overthrow of the internationally recognised Government by rebel insurgents. We are all concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen. [Interruption.] The shadow Foreign Secretary might like, as this is an area of concern to her remit, to actually listen to what the Government are doing. [Interruption.] We are all concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen. That is why, since the start of the conflict in 2015, our total commitment to Yemen now stands at £770 million. We are one of the major contributors to support for the humanitarian effort. Ultimately, the only way to resolve this issue is through a political settlement. That is why we are supporting the efforts of the UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths.http://bit.ly/2Pjsh7LYemen; arms export; assistance
26 June 2019Germany, as an EU member state, has banned arms exports to Saudi Arabia, so has Denmark, and both the US Senate and House of Representatives have voted to ban arms exports as well. The UN describes the situation in Yemen as “humanity’s biggest preventable disaster”, but the Government see fit to continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia during that situation, so may I ask the Prime Minister a very simple question? Does she believe there are serious ongoing violations of international humanitarian law by Saudi Arabia in Yemen—yes or no?Jeremby Corbyn, Labour, Islington NorthThe right hon. Gentleman knows very well that we consider these issues very carefully when we are dealing with these arms export licences, as has just been quoted by the Court, but he references the situation in Yemen. This cannot go on. We need a political settlement in Yemen. I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that the Saudi-led intervention was at the request of the legitimate President of Yemen following a rebel insurgency, which overthrew the internationally recognised Government, and the intervention has been acknowledged by the United Nations. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary held a Yemen Quad meeting on Saturday, expressing concerns at escalating tensions, but what do we see the Labour party do? One of the right hon. Gentleman’s MPs was inviting rebel leaders of the insurgency into the House of Commons—yet again, Labour on the wrong side of the argument.http://bit.ly/2Yt1pSYYemen; arms export; assistance; IHL violations; IHL
25 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress his Department has made in the past year in combating the use of drones to supply illegal drugs to prisonersGregory Campbell, DUP, East LondonderryWe are taking decisive steps to tackle the use of drones as a supply route for organised criminals to bring contraband, including drugs, into prisons. Prisons use netting and window grilles to stop drones from delivering contraband successfully. To deter criminals, HM Prison and Probation Service is also working closely with the police to arrest suspected drone operators and secure convictions. Thanks to such joint working, and following the largest investigation of its kind, an organised criminal gang of 15 were collectively sentenced in October 2018 to nearly 40 years in prison for using drones to deliver drugs into Merseyside prisons. The ringleader received a sentence of 10 years, the highest single sentence for drone-related activity to date. Where contraband gets into prisons using a drone, our counter-measures assist us to retrieve them and frustrate further criminal activity. In respect of drugs, our Drugs Taskforce is working with law enforcement to restrict supply. It has also developed a national Prison Drug Strategy which was published in April to reduce demand for drugs and build recovery, as well as restrict supply. We have also invested £70 million to improve safety, security and decency in prisons, allowing us to fund new X-ray body scanners, improved searching techniques, phone-blocking technology and a financial crime unit to target organised crime group members operating in prisons.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-25/268997UAVs; prisons
25 June 2019What steps he is taking to strengthen the rules-based international orderJack Brereton, Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent SouthInternational institutions and international law have since 1945 provided the framework for a sustained rise in global peace and prosperity. As a permanent member of the Security Council, we consider the United Nations to be the foundation of peace and security around the world. The UK has been at the forefront of efforts to defend the system—for example, by challenging Russian attempts to undermine international institutions and international law.http://bit.ly/2ZOD4XKInternational Rules Based Order; UK global leadership
25 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 24 June 2019 to Question 266880 on Yemen: Military Intervention and with reference to the news article entitled, The Saudis couldn’t do it without us: the UK’s true role in Yemen’s deadly war, published by The Guardian on 18 June 2019 in which a senior UK diplomatic source stated that the UK was a party to the conflict in Yemen, for what reason the Answer stated that the UK is not part of the coalition operating in Yemen but did not state whether the UK is a party to the conflictLloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownAs stated in my answer of 24 June (PQ 266880), the UK is not part of the Saudi-led Coalition operating in Yemen. The UK does supports Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect its national security against critical threats, such as the ballistic missiles and drones fired by the Houthis into civilian areas in Saudi Arabia. Because of this, we decided to provide information, advice and assistance to Saudi Arabia in responding to this threat. This assistance is part of our ongoing defence relationship with Saudi Arabia. This does not mean that the UK has a role in setting Coalition policy and our assistance is clearly limited to addressing this specific threat. We cannot comment further for operational security reasons except to say that all UK military personnel in Saudi Arabia remain under UK command and controlhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-25/269109UK assistance; Saudi Arabia; Yemen; party to conflict
25 June 2019I thank the Minister for his reply. I was given an assurance in a past written response to a Question that every sale of arms from the UK undergoes a rigorous assessment in the light of serious violations of international humanitarian law. Yet in 2018 a Minister in the other place said: “The MOD does not investigate allegations of IHL violations”, and in 2016, as evidenced in the Court of Appeal last week, the decision was made that there would be no assessment of past violations of international humanitarian law with regard to Saudi Arabia. Can the Minister clarify whether international humanitarian law is taken into consideration when selling weapons?The Lord Bishop of St AlbansMy Lords, I thank the right reverend Prelate for his question. The key test for granting export licences in these circumstances is criterion 2c of the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, which considers whether there is a clear risk that the items to be exported might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law. The right reverend Prelate then moved on to a decision made in 2016. At that point, international humanitarian law was considered on past events as well, and the judgment under ground 1 was that we should also take into account past events.http://bit.ly/32M5v9ZArms exports; Saudi Arabia; IHL violations
24 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the recent Court of Appeal ruling on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and criterion 2c of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria which states that licences should not be granted if there is a clear risk the equipment to be exported might be used in a serious violation of international humanitarian law, if he will suspend arms sales to (a) Bahrain and (b) the United Arab Emirates.Tom Brake, Libdem, Carshalton and WallingtonThe Government is carefully considering the implications of the Court of Appeal judgment of 20 June for decision making under Criterion 2c of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export licensing Criteria. While we do we will not grant any new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners (UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt) for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-24/268343Arms export; Saudi Arabia; Egypt; Bahrain; UAE; Kuwait; Yemen
24 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the written statement of 23 May 2018, HCWS716, on Saudi Arabia, whether the information, advice and assistance provided by his Department to Saudi Arabia classifies the UK as a party to the conflict in YemenLloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownThe former Foreign Secretary made clear in the written statement HCWS716 that the UK is not a member of the Saudi-led coalition. Our position is unchanged. Our assistance is limited to addressing the specific threats faced by the Saudis. We are providing information, advice and training to help Saudi Arabia respond to these threatshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-24/268560Assistance; Saudi Arabia; Yemen; party to conflict
24 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to paragraph 141 of the 20 June 2019 Court of Appeal Judgment for what reason the Government stopped considering Saudi Arabia's past violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen in 2016.Lloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownThe Government has always taken into account the past record of Saudi Arabia in respect of international humanitarian law when making export licensing decisions. The Court of Appeal judgment concerns reaching findings on IHL in specific incidents. The Government’s approach has recognised the inherent difficulty of doing so where we do not have access to complete information. We are now considering the implications of the judgment for decision-makinghttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-24/268570Arms export; Saudi Arabia; past violations
24 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the regulation of the sale of dronesGraham P Jones, Labour, HyndburnAs set out in the Government’s recent drone consultation response on 7 January 2019, my Department is working with the Home Office and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on product standards for drones. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has also published new product standards for drones which will become fully applicable by 2022. These include a mandatory requirement for drones to be fitted with geo-awareness software and being remotely identifiable before being placed on the market. At an international level, the International Organization for Standardization is currently developing standards for drone safety and operation in which the British Standards Institution (BSI) committee members represent the UK. It is vital that we balance maintaining the UK’s world-leading position in aviation safety and security with supporting the development of this emerging industry.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-24/268456drone regulation
24 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if she will publish the (a) dates of training, (b) organisations trained and (c) programmes of training events provided by UK military personnel to the Saudi Arabian (i) armed forces and (ii) National Guard since March 2015 to help with compliance with International Humanitarian Law.Caroline Lucas, Green, Brighton, PavillionAll training provided in the UK or in Saudi Arabia by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces, National Guard (SANG), and Saudi MOD - supports and encourages compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Details of all training provided since March 2015 is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-24/268451Saudi Arabia; assistance
21 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent diplomatic steps he has taken to help reduce the number of children killed by airstrikes in Yemen.Jim Cunningham (Civentry South) (Lab)We regularly share experience with the Saudis for minimising civilian casualties. The UK continues to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with international humanitarian law and implement the Stockholm Agreement without delay to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-21/267712Civilian harm; children; civilian protection; PoC
19 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to The Guardian report on 18 June 2019 on alleged UK military involvement in Yemen, whether the UK is a party to the conflict in Yemen.Lloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownThe UK is not part of the coalition operating in Yemen and the UK has no role in setting coalition policy. Our assistance is limited to addressing the specific threats faced by the Saudis. We are providing information, advice and training to help Saudi Arabia respond to these threats. We have also shared techniques with the Saudis for minimising civilian casualties. The UK has a range of British personnel deployed across the region, but all remain under British command and controlhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-19/266880UK assistance; Saudi Arabia; Yemen; party to conflict
18 June 2019..... the prevention of and protection from mass atrocities remain almost wholly absent from the UK’s national framework of civilian protection. What steps is the Secretary of State taking to cover this glaring omission? Furthermore, will he ensure that the upcoming review of the Government’s protection of civilians in conflict strategy reflects the changing nature of modern conflict, which blurs the lines between combatants and non-combatants?Chris, Law, SNP, Dundee WestI am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his remarks. He must know that what we are able to do depends very much on access and safety and whether or not we can get to those who are most in need. At the moment, that is extremely problematic. We would prevail upon all parties to this to allow humanitarian access and to allow those of us who wish to protect civilians to be able to access those civilians wherever they are, so that the necessary protection can be afforded. However, he has to understand the difficulty of assuring the safety and security of those now delivering aid, and I pay tribute to those who provide aid under extremely difficult circumstances. He will be aware that a number of those individuals in our troubled world today have paid with their lives for that. It is absolutely a duty that we in Government and our agencies have to ensure that they are not put at risk more than is absolutely necessary in trying to do their vital work.http://bit.ly/33K4pNmCivilian Protection; PoC; Urban conflict; modern warfare
13 June 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce regulations that require manufacturers to have a signalling beacon on all (1) drones, and (2) other flying toys.Viscount Waverley, CrossbenchThe European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have published new product standards for drones which will become fully applicable by 2022. Some of these standards include the mandatory requirement for drones to be fitted with a geo-awareness software before being placed on the market. This software will notify the pilot when the drone is entering a restricted zone and when it’s coming close to other aircraft. This new requirement will ensure that our airspace is safely shared and managed more effectively to maintain the UK’s strong air safety recordhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-06-13/HL16363regulation
13 June 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to limit (1) the distance that drones may travel, and (2) the height that drones may reach to 125 metres, to reduce the risk of potential issues in airspaceViscount Waverley, CrossbenchThe Air Navigation Order 2016 already prohibits flying small unmanned aircraft beyond the line of sight or above 400ft, which is just over 121 metres, without permission or an exemption from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-06-13/HL16362drone regulation
12 June 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the use of drones on increasing the effectiveness of countering terrorism, piracy, kidnappings and other offences combatted by surveillance technologiesViscount Waverley, CrossbenchDecisions to use drones and in which circumstances are operational matters for the Police and other law enforcement agencieshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-06-12/HL16335surveillence
10 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to tackle the potential use of drones in terrorist attacksAndrew Rosindell, Conservative, RomfordThe Home Office is leading work across government to ensure a robust ap-proach to the illegal misuse of drones. This includes developing policy over how counter-measures can be best used to respond to malicious and illegal drone use, and accelerating work with the security community and industry to test and evaluate counter-drone technologies. We are working closely with UK sectors at risk to determine how they can be best protected, reducing the likelihood and impact of malicious incidents. To further strengthen our ability to tackle drone misuse, an Unmanned Aircraft Bill is currently being prepared which will give the police enhanced powers to enforce drone-related rules. From 30 November 2019 a registration requirement will also come into force for all operators of drones weighing 250 grams or more, as will a requirement for remote pilots of drones to take a competency test. The Department for Transport has also extended the restriction zone around airports where the flying of drones is prohibited. The new zones, which came into force in March this year, cover an airport’s aerodrome traffic zone and 5km extensions from the end of runways. This builds on the government’s changes to the law last year, which made it illegal to fly a drone above 400 feet or within 1 km of an airporthttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-10/262277terrorist use of drones
3 June 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the presence of the Islamic State for West Africa Province in the north-east of NigeriaLiz McInnes, Labour, Haywood and MiddletonWe are deeply concerned by the increase in Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) activity in North Eastern Nigeria. Together with international partners, we are committed to supporting Nigeria and its neighbours in tackling threats to regional stability by ISWA and Boko Haram. Humanitarian operations have been placed under pressure and some suspended, cutting off urgently needed support for up to 120,000 people. We are working with international partners to support contingency planning to protect aid workers, providing strategic military advice and training, and continue to review options for additional UK assistancehttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-06-03/259252ISIL; Nigeria; assistance
22 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the UK Government are providing security support or assistance to the Cameroonian Government in the form of (a) financial assistance, (b) security infrastructure, (c) military training and (d) weaponryLyn Brown, Labour, West HamThe UK has a longstanding relationship with Cameroon and we value the shared history and cooperation. The UK and Cameroon cooperate closely in the fight against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa, for which the UK provides limited military training. This training is provided in line with the UK Government's Overseas Security and Justice Assistance guidance and emphasises the importance of human rights. Cameroon remains a key and effective contributor to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), established in 2015 to facilitate regional co-ordination of military operations against Boko Haram.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-22/257452Security assistance; Cameroon
22 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what surveillance and enforcement procedures are in place to ensure that weapons and military equipment in contravention of international agreements to which the UK is a signatory are not (a) promoted, (b) sold during and (c) sold following the Defence and Security Equipment International 2019.Lyn Brown, Labour, West HamWe do not hold information about the cost of surveillance and enforcement activities at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibitions in 2013, 2015, 2017. All exports of military items from the UK are subject to export controls. Each export licence application is rigorously assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, which include criteria for human rights and international humanitarian law, and sanctions and embargoes. The Government will not grant a licence where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Government approval is also required for the release of classified defence-related information or equipment by UK exporters to overseas entities for marketing purposes. The Export Control Joint Unit attends some UK arms fairs (including DSEI) to raise awareness with the organisers and the exhibitors of their export control obligations.
22 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what surveillance and enforcement measures are in place to ensure that no onward sales are made to countries subject to arms embargo following sales to other countries at the Defence and Security Equipment International 2019.Lyn Brown, Labour, West HamWe do not hold information about the cost of surveillance and enforcement activities at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibitions in 2013, 2015, 2017. All exports of military items from the UK are subject to export controls. Each export licence application is rigorously assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, which include criteria for human rights and international humanitarian law, and sanctions and embargoes. The Government will not grant a licence where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Government approval is also required for the release of classified defence-related information or equipment by UK exporters to overseas entities for marketing purposes. The Export Control Joint Unit attends some UK arms fairs (including DSEI) to raise awareness with the organisers and the exhibitors of their export control obligations.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-23/257712Arms Exports (enforcement & surveillence of); IHL violations
22 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what surveillance and enforcement measures are in place to ensure that no direct sales are made to countries subject to arms embargo at Defence and Security Equipment International 2019.Lyn Brown, Labour, West HamWe do not hold information about the cost of surveillance and enforcement activities at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibitions in 2013, 2015, 2017. All exports of military items from the UK are subject to export controls. Each export licence application is rigorously assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, which include criteria for human rights and international humanitarian law, and sanctions and embargoes. The Government will not grant a licence where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Government approval is also required for the release of classified defence-related information or equipment by UK exporters to overseas entities for marketing purposes. The Export Control Joint Unit attends some UK arms fairs (including DSEI) to raise awareness with the organisers and the exhibitors of their export control obligations.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-22/257467Arms Exports (enforcement & surveillence of); IHL violations
22 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what information his Department holds on sales of arms and military equipment associated with (a) human rights abuses and (b) war crimes that were originally sold by the UK defence industry where the original sale was made a result of a UK arms fairLyn Brown, Labour, West HamWe do not hold information about the cost of surveillance and enforcement activities at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibitions in 2013, 2015, 2017. All exports of military items from the UK are subject to export controls. Each export licence application is rigorously assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, which include criteria for human rights and international humanitarian law, and sanctions and embargoes. The Government will not grant a licence where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Government approval is also required for the release of classified defence-related information or equipment by UK exporters to overseas entities for marketing purposes. The Export Control Joint Unit attends some UK arms fairs (including DSEI) to raise awareness with the organisers and the exhibitors of their export control obligations.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-22/257463Arms Exports (enforcement & surveillence of)
21 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the extent of damage to facilities funded by British NGOs of the bombing campaign by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyWe take all reports of facilities damaged by airstrikes in Yemen very seriously and regularly meet with NGOs to discuss their concerns. We use every opportunity to raise the importance of complying with international humanitarian law with the Saudi Arabian government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. Most recently we raised concerns about the airstrikes in Sana’a on 16 May and the Coalition confirmed they are taking steps to investigate the incident.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-21/256987Airstrikes Yemen; damage to facilities funded by UK NGOs
21 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken to respond to reports from Oxfam of airstrikes against their facilities in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition.Emily Thornberry, Labour, Islington South and FinsburyWe take all reports of facilities damaged by airstrikes in Yemen very seriously and regularly meet with NGOs to discuss their concerns. We use every opportunity to raise the importance of complying with international humanitarian law with the Saudi Arabian government and other members of the Coalition, including requesting investigations into alleged incidents of concern. Most recently we raised concerns about the airstrikes in Sana’a on 16 May and the Coalition confirmed they are taking steps to investigate the incident.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-21/256988Yemen; Airstrikes
21 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many alleged violations of international humanitarian law have been investigated by the Joint Incidents Assessment Team; and how many of those investigations have resulted in blame being apportioned to (a) Saudi Arabia and (b) Houthi rebels.Lloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownThe Joint Incident Assessment Team has published 136 statements regarding its investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law. The reports do not attribute blame.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-21/257090JIAT; IHL violations
17 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the bombings at (a) a Sanaa school on 7 April 2019, (b) a Save the Children-supported hospital on 26 March 2019 and (c) other bombings of civilian infrastructure in Yemen, what discussions he has had with his Saudi counterpart on the timeframe for the conclusion of the Saudi-led Coalition’s investigations into those incidents; and whether the results of those investigations will be made publicly available.Richard Burden, Labour, Birmingham, NorthfieldWe are deeply concerned by reports of an alleged airstrike on a petrol station at a hospital facility on 26 March 2019. Our officials have been in contact with Save the Children, who fund the hospital, about this alleged incident and have raised this matter with the Saudi-led Coalition, who have announced an investigation. We are also deeply concerned at reports of an explosion at a warehouse near two schools in Sa’wan on 7 April 2019. We have raised the incident with the Coalition who have announced an investigation in line with standard practices. We endorse the statement of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General of 9 April and continue to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with international humanitarian law and implement the Stockholm Agreement without delay in order to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-17/255648Saudi Arabia; Airstrikes; IHL violations
17 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to help ensure that deconflicted (a) hospitals and (b) schools in Yemen are protected from bombing.Richard Burden, Labour, Birmingham, NorthfieldWe have been clear that all parties to the conflict in Yemen must comply with international humanitarian law. We continue to call on all parties to exercise restraint and implement the Stockholm Agreement without delay in order to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemenhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-17/255649Yemen; IHL
9 May 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received about the Ministry of Defence's definition of an autonomous weapons system since the publication of the report of the House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Committee AI in the UK: Ready, Willing and Able on 16 April 2018.Lord Browne of Ladyton
Her Majesty's Government has received some representations on this subject from Parliamentarians. The House of Lords report recommended that "the UK's definition of autonomous weapons should be realigned to be the same, or similar, as that used by the rest of the world". However, the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Group of Government Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems is yet to achieve consensus on an internationally accepted definition or set of characteristics for autonomous weapons.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-04-24.HL15333.h&s=artificial+intelligence#gHL15333.q0Autonomous weapons
9 May 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to maintain the serviceability of the UK fleet of Thales Watchkeeper unmanned aerial vehicles.Lord Campbell of PittenweemThe Army have awarded Thales a Future Support Contract to maintain the serviceability of the Watchkeeper Unmanned Air System from 1 April 2019 for the next five years.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-04-30.HL15427.h&s=unmanned+aerial+vehicle#gHL15427.q0
8 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent introduction by the Civil Aviation Authority of Flight Restriction Zones around protected aerodromes on the interests of members of the British Model Flying Association in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.Sylvia Hermon MP (Independent) (North Down)The flight restriction zone around aerodromes was developed in response to submissions gathered through our consultation on the safe and effective regulation of drones, ‘Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK’. There was significant interest in the consultation, which closed in September 2018 and received around 5,000 responses. A range of options were considered when developing the extended restriction zone and factors including impacts on all airspace users, safety, security and the communication and enforceability of the zone were all evaluated.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-05-01.249885.h&s=drone#g249885.r0civilian drones; regulations
3 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 7 March 2019 to Question 228123 on Saudi Arabia: military aid, what the function is of the staff working in a liaison capacity inside the Saudi headquarters.Lloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownStaff working in any military liaison capacity ensure the timely flow of information between the Ministry of Defence in London, UK headquarters at home and abroad, and the overseas headquarters they are assigned to. Military liaison officers in Saudi Arabia conduct Key Leader Engagement and relationship building, and develop understanding of operational matters within the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defence and appropriate Saudi headquarters. More specifically, as I said in my reply to Question 228123, our liaison officers working in the Saudi Air Operations Centre observe Saudi-led coalition air operations in Yemen to help the UK support Saudi compliance with International Humanitarian Law.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-03/250790Military assistance; Saudi Arabia
1 May 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent introduction by the Civil Aviation Authority of Flight Restriction Zones around protected aerodromes on the interests of members of the British Model Flying Association in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statementLady Hermon, Independent, North DownThe flight restriction zone around aerodromes was developed in response to submissions gathered through our consultation on the safe and effective regulation of drones, ‘Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK’. There was significant interest in the consultation, which closed in September 2018 and received around 5,000 responses. A range of options were considered when developing the extended restriction zone and factors including impacts on all airspace users, safety, security and the communication and enforceability of the zone were all evaluated. The new legislation takes the same approach as the former restriction zone by allowing any small unmanned aircraft, including model aircraft, to fly within the restriction zone where the relevant permission has been received. When an Air Traffic Control Unit (ATCU) is operational, permission needs to be sought from this unit. The CAA will be assessing the permissions process as part of a wider review of airport restriction zones later this year.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-05-01/249885drone regulation
24 April 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to support an independent investigation into the airstrike on two schools in Sana’a, Yemen on 7 April 2019.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of whether the airstrike on two schools in Sana’a, Yemen on 7 April 2019 was a legitimate military operation in line with international humanitarian law.
Stephen Twigg MP (Lab) (Liverpool West Derby)We are deeply concerned at reports of an explosion at a warehouse near two schools in Sa’wan. British officials have raised this incident with Saudi officials, who have denied publicly that an airstrike took place, and British officials are urgently seeking information from all credible sources. We endorse the statement of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General of 9 April and continue to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with international humanitarian law and implement the Stockholm Agreement without delay in order to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-04-11.244004.h&s=UN+Secretary-General#g244004.r0civilian casualties; IHL, yemen
23 April 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, on what date a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee last visited NSA/NRO Menwith Hill.Alex Sobel MPThe Intelligence and Security Committee does not comment on the details of its work programme. Where appropriate it publishes information on visits it has undertaken in its Annual Reports.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-04-09.242955.h&s=speaker%3A24729#g242955.r0
16 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UK's involvement in drone activities in the Yemen following the ruling of the Higher Administrative Court in Münster in the case of bin Ali Jaber vs Germany.Lord Hodgson of Astley AbbottsAny use of force by the UK complies fully with UK domestic and applicable international law.

We are aware of the ruling by the German Higher Administrative Court on 19 March 2019 that Germany has a responsibility for ensuring that United States (US) operations conducted from German territory accord with international law. The Court also held that a lower Court had correctly deemed the case inadmissible, on the grounds that it could not be proved that the plaintiff's father was killed by a US drone strike on the day in question in 2012. The Court also stated that it could not be proved that the German government had knowledge of the use of Ramstein for drone strikes in 2012.
https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-04-02.HL15003.h&s=drone#gHL15003.q0military drone; legality; international law
16 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what methods they use to estimate the numbers of civilian deaths resulting from the use of remote-controlled drones in counter-terrorist operations either directly by the UK or by their allies in (1) Yemen, (2) Pakistan, and (3) North Africa; and what figures are available for such casualties.The Marquess of Lothian (Con)The United Kingdom has not conducted airstrikes from any platform, either manned or unmanned, in counter-terrorism operations in Yemen, Pakistan or North Africa. We do not comment on the operations of other countries.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-04-04.HL15069.h&s=civilian+casualties#gHL15069.q0Civilian casualties; military drones
11 April 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to support an independent investigation into the airstrike on two schools in Sana’a, Yemen on 7 April 2019.Stephen Twigg MP (Lab) (Liverpool West Derby)We are deeply concerned at reports of an explosion at a warehouse near two schools in Sa’wan. British officials have raised this incident with Saudi officials, who have denied publicly that an airstrike took place, and British officials are urgently seeking information from all credible sources. We endorse the statement of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General of 9 April and continue to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with international humanitarian law and implement the Stockholm Agreement without delay in order to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemenhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-04-11/244004Airstrikes; Yemen; Saudi Arabia; IHL
11 April 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of whether the airstrike on two schools in Sana’a, Yemen on 7 April 2019 was a legitimate military operation in line with international humanitarian lawStephen Twigg MP (Lab) (Liverpool West Derby)We are deeply concerned at reports of an explosion at a warehouse near two schools in Sa’wan. British officials have raised this incident with Saudi officials, who have denied publicly that an airstrike took place, and British officials are urgently seeking information from all credible sources. We endorse the statement of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General of 9 April and continue to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with international humanitarian law and implement the Stockholm Agreement without delay in order to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-04-11/244005Yemen; Airstrike; Saudi Arabia; IHL violation
11 April 2019To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Trade etc. in Dual-Use Items and Firearms etc. (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, on what basis the Government will determine what constitutes a human rights violation.Judith Cummins, Labour, Bradford SouthAfter EU Exit export licence applications will continue to be assessed in the same way as they are now, on a case-by-case basis against the eight criteria set out in the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Criterion 2 covers the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country for international humanitarian law. A licence would not be granted if to do so was inconsistent with the Criteria. The Criteria are statutory guidance issued under section 9 of the Export Control Act 2002 as most recently announced to Parliament in a Written Ministerial Statement on 25 March 2014. After the UK leaves the EU, the Criteria will remain in force until such time as any new or amended guidance is announced to Parliament.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-04-11/244135Dual use arms; arms export; Brexit
10 April 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his Written Statement of 8 April 2019 Official Report HCWS1498 on changes in the terminology from airstrikes to weapon release events when reporting the UK's contribution to the Counter-Daesh campaign, whether a Reaper launching two or more Hellfire missiles at one target counts as one weapon release event.Anneliese Dodds (Lab)Yes. A Weapon Release Event is when one or more weapons of the same type are released from the same aircraft, at the same time, at the same target.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-04-10/243570
10 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are monitoring the threat posed by Islamic terrorists in Mali and neighbouring countries; and what role the UK currently has in the EU capacity-building missions in Mali and the Sahel.The Earl of SandwichWe are deeply concerned by the security situation in the region, including recent attacks against civilians and security forces operating in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Working alongside international partners, we continue to monitor the threat posed by terrorist groups in Mali and neighbouring countries and we remain committed to helping to address complex challenges in the Sahel. The UK has seconded six military and two civilian personnel to the EU Training mission (EUTM) in Mali, who provide strategic advice; infantry, medical and counter-Improvised Explosive Device training; and international humanitarian law and gender expertise. Although there have been no UK personnel in the EU capacity building (EUCAP) missions in Mali and Niger since our last secondment in 2017, we continue to actively participate in all EU discussions concerning these missions and have supported their mandate extensions to January 2021 and September 2020 respectively.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-04-10/HL15192Counterterrorism; Africa; Mali; Sahel; partnership
9 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that UK personnel at Royal Air Force Menwith Hill are not directly or indirectly involved in drone activation including of Ghost Hunter, Ghost Wolf and other surveillance tools operated by United States service personnel.Lord Judd (Lab)https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-04-01.HL14962.h&s=drone#gHL14962.q0UK-US partnering; military drone operations
4 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 28 March (HL14604), whether third parties have provided information specifically about weapons made or sold by British companies and then used in Yemen; and if so, whether they will publish (1) that information, and (2) their assessment of it.The Lord Bishop of St AlbansWe are aware that some UK licensed weapons have been used by Saudi Arabia in the conflict in Yemen. We examine every export licence application rigorously on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, including an assessment of whether there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law (IHL). We regularly raise the importance of compliance with IHL with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition and draw on a range of sources in making assessments, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international organisations and continue to monitor the situation closely, seeking further information where appropriate. We welcome any further information NGOs and international organisations can provide. The Department for International Trade publish export licensing statistics quarterly, which can be found on the gov.uk websitehttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-04-04/HL15082Arms Export; Saudi Arabia; Yemen; British weapons used in Yemen
3 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Yemen—Britain's Hidden War that UK contractors have supplied arms that were used in the war in Yemen; what reasons were stated in export licence applications submitted by Saudi Arabia, BAE Systems plc, or any intermediary, for the supply and use of weaponry; and what criteria they use to assess and approve each applicationVicount WaverleyAll arms supplied by UK companies to Saudi Arabia require an export licence. We assess each export licence application very carefully against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the Consolidated Criteria). The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. These are not decisions we take lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria. The key test for assessing military exports to Saudi Arabia is Criterion 2(c) of the Consolidated Criteria – whether there is a clear risk that the exports might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). When considering export licence applications, we take into account a wide range of sources and analyses, including reports from non-governmental organisations and the United Nations, as well as those of a sensitive nature to which these parties do not have access. This provides a comprehensive basis on which Government can take informed decisions about export licence applications.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-04-03/HL15059Arms Export; Saudi Arabia
3 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Yemen—Britain's Hidden War that UK contractors have supplied arms that were used in the war in Yemen; what reasons were stated in export licence applications submitted by Saudi Arabia, BAE Systems plc, or any intermediary, for the supply and use of weaponry; and what criteria they use to assess and approve each application.Lord Judd (Lab)All arms supplied by UK companies to Saudi Arabia require an export licence. We assess each export licence application very carefully against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the Consolidated Criteria). The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. These are not decisions we take lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria. The key test for assessing military exports to Saudi Arabia is Criterion 2(c) of the Consolidated Criteria – whether there is a clear risk that the exports might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). When considering export licence applications, we take into account a wide range of sources and analyses, including reports from non-governmental organisations and the United Nations, as well as those of a sensitive nature to which these parties do not have access. This provides a comprehensive basis on which Government can take informed decisions about export licence applications.https://bit.ly/2VSAGOeArms Export; Saudi Arabia
2 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UK's involvement in drone activities in the Yemen following the ruling of the Higher Administrative Court in Münster in the case of bin Ali Jaber vs GermanyLord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, ConservativeAny use of force by the UK complies fully with UK domestic and applicable international law. We are aware of the ruling by the German Higher Administrative Court on 19 March 2019 that Germany has a responsibility for ensuring that United States (US) operations conducted from German territory accord with international law. The Court also held that a lower Court had correctly deemed the case inadmissible, on the grounds that it could not be proved that the plaintiff's father was killed by a US drone strike on the day in question in 2012. The Court also stated that it could not be proved that the German government had knowledge of the use of Ramstein for drone strikes in 2012https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-04-02/HL15003UK assistance; Yemen; Germany
2 April 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the timetable is for the remaining nine Reaper drones to be decommissioned ahead of the purchase of sixteen Protector drones from the United States.Kevan Jones (North Durham) (Lab)Doeshttps://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-03-28.238287.h&s=drone#g238287.q0Military drone; Protector; Reaper
1 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that UK personnel at Royal Air Force Menwith Hill are not directly or indirectly involved in drone activation including of Ghost Hunter, Ghost Wolf and other surveillance tools operated by United States service personnel.Lord Judd (Lab)In accordance with long standing policy we do not comment on the details of the activities carried out at RAF Menwith Hill in providing intelligence supporthttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-04-01/HL14962Menwith Hill; Assistance
1 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 28 March (HL14604), whether third parties have provided information about weapons made or sold by British companies that were subsequently used in Yemen; if so, which reports they have received; and what assessment they have made of any such reports.The Lord Bishop of St AlbansWe are aware that some UK licensed weapons have been used by Saudi Arabia in the conflict in Yemen. We examine every export licence application rigorously on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria including an assessment of whether there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law (IHL). We regularly raise the importance of compliance with IHL with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition and draw on a range of sources in making assessments, including NGOs and international organisations and continue to monitor the situation closely, seeking further information where appropriate. We welcome any further information NGOs and international organisations can providehttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-04-01/HL14976Saudi Arabia; Arms Export
1 April 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reasons the UK did not sign the October 2018 United Nations General Assembly Joint Statement on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas.Ben LakeThe use of lethal force in populated areas, as elsewhere, is governed by relevant international law - in particular, International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Our targeting policy and practice is entirely consistent with our obligations under UK and international law and we will continue to operate in accordance with its principles. The UK declined to sign the October 2018 United Nations First Committee Joint Statement on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas because its call for a binding political declaration risks undermining the primacy of IHL and imposing impracticable standards and expectations on military commandershttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-04-01/239286Explosive Weapons in populated areas
1 April 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that UK personnel at Royal Air Force Menwith Hill are not directly or indirectly involved in drone activation including of Ghost Hunter, Ghost Wolf and other surveillance tools operated by United States service personnel.Lord Judd (Lab)In accordance with long standing policy we do not comment on the details of the activities carried out at RAF Menwith Hill in providing intelligence support.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2019-04-01/HL14962/Menwith Hill; Assistance
28 March 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the timetable is for the remaining nine Reaper drones to be decommissioned ahead of the purchase of sixteen Protector drones from the United StatesKevan Jones, Labour, North DurhamThe out of service date for the Reaper fleet will align with Protector's entry into service by the middle of the next decade to ensure a seamless transition between the two fleetshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-03-28/238287Reaper; Protector
27 March 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK forces have been involved in any direct military action in Yemen in the last six months.The Marquess of LothianThe UK provides information, advice and assistance to Saudi Arabia to respond to the threat of strategic weapons fired by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia. We are not and have never been a member of the Saudi-led Coalition. Our assistance is clearly limited to addressing this specific threat. UK military personnel in Saudi Arabia remain under UK command and controlhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-03-27/HL14863Assistance; Saudi Arabia
27 March 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK forces have been involved in any direct military action in Yemen in the last six months.The Marquess of Lothian The UK provides information, advice and assistance to Saudi Arabia to respond to the threat of strategic weapons fired by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia. We are not and have never been a member of the Saudi-led Coalition. Our assistance is clearly limited to addressing this specific threat. UK military personnel in Saudi Arabia remain under UK command and control.https://bit.ly/2YIc0txAssistance; Saudi Arabia
20 March 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014, published on 13 September 2017, what steps his Department has taken to reduce the legal exposure of (a) the armed forces and (b) workers supporting the Royal Saudi Air Force under contract to the UK government from alleged violations of international humanitarian lawLloyd Russel-Moyle, Labour, Brighton, KemptownUK Armed Forces are not exposed to legal liability because the UK is not a member of the Saudi-led Coalition and all UK military assistance to Saudi Arabia is in accordance with international and national law. All UK personnel in Saudi Arabia remain under UK command and control. Regarding workers supporting the Royal Saudi Air Force under contract to the UK Government, our arms export regime is one of the most rigorous in the world. The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to international humanitarian law (IHL) is whether there is a clear risk that those items subject to the licence might be used in a serious violation of IHL. The situation is kept under careful and continual review.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-03-20/234802Assistance; Saudi Arabia
19 March 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 25 February (HL13675), whether attacks from drones on Palestinian lands are exempt under the consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria; and if so, why.Baroness Tonge (Lib Dem)We do not exempt either the end user or the proposed end use from any assessment against the Consolidated Criteria.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-03-05.HL14277.h&s=drone#gHL14277.q0Drone strikes; EU & arms export legality
15 March 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that all UK airports and RAF bases are supplied with military grade drone detection equipment, and that training is provided to relevant police, military personnel and airport staff.Lord Fink (Con)Her Majesty’s Government takes the threat posed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to airports and other critical infrastructure seriously. Steps have been, and are being taken, to ensure that our airports have the appropriate measures in place. Given the sensitivities around military grade equipment, it would be inappropriate to comment further about these measures.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-03-04.HL14185.h&s=drone#gHL14185.q0Civilian drones; Airport protection
5 March 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 25 February (HL13675), whether attacks from drones on Palestinian lands are exempt under the consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria; and if so, why.Baroness Tonge (Lib Dem)We do not exempt either the end user or the proposed end use from any assessment against the Consolidated Criteriahttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-03-05/HL14277Israel; arms export
5 March 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the ability of the new off-shore patrol vessels ships to have a UAV capability; and if he will make a statement.Vernon Coaker (Lab)The Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) are versatile ships that will be able to deliver across a broad range of defence tasks, in our home waters and overseas, exploiting flexible manning solutions and innovative technologies. This could also include an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capability that is already being exploited within the Batch 1 OPV.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-02-28.227042.h&s=Unmanned+aerial+vehicle#g227042.r0Navy Patrol vessels UAV capability
4 March 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that all UK airports and RAF bases are supplied with military grade drone detection equipment, and that training is provided to relevant police, military personnel and airport staffLord Fink (Con)Her Majesty’s Government takes the threat posed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to airports and other critical infrastructure seriously. Steps have been, and are being taken, to ensure that our airports have the appropriate measures in place. Given the sensitivities around military grade equipment, it would be inappropriate to comment further about these measureshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-03-04/HL14185counterdrone technology
4 March 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the (a) expenditure was in the financial year 2017-18 and (b) budget is for 2018-19 for the (i) Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project and (ii) Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces ProjectCatherine West, Labour, Hornsey and Wood GreenThe costs incurred by the Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Projects (MODSAP) in financial year 2017-18 amounted to £74.75 million. The budget for financial year 2018-19 is £63.64 million. The costs of MODSAP are met from a management fee received from the Saudi Arabian Government. The costs of the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project (SANGCOM) are similarly recovered from the Saudi Arabian Government, but SANGCOM operates under a separate Memorandum of Understanding from MODSAP, under which the details of such recoveries are confidential to the two Governments.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-03-04/228072/Saudi Arabia; assistance
4 March 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) civilian staff and (b) military personnel based in (i) the UK and (ii) Saudi Arabia were employed on the (A) Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project and (B) Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Project on 1 April 2018Catherine West, Labour, Hornsey and Wood GreenThe number of civilian and military personnel based in the UK and Saudi Arabia who were employed by the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project (SANGCOM) and the Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Projects (MODSAP) on 1 April 2018 is shown below. The Saudi Arabian Government reimburses the UK Ministry of Defence for these staff costs and there is, therefore, no cost to the UK taxpayer.

Manpower number as at 1 April 2018


UK-based Civilian Staff: 2 (SANGCOM) and 66 (MODSAP)

UK-based Military Staff: 0 (SANGCOM) and 33 (MODSAP)

Saudi-based Civilian Staff: 52 (SANGCOM) and 38 (MODSAP)

Saudi-based Military Staff: 22 (SANGCOM) and 69 (MODSAP)

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-03-04/228071/Saudi Arabia; assistance
28 February 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 16 March 2016 (HL6659, HL6660, and HL6661), what progress they have made in (1) legislation in regard to, and (2) protection against, drones in the last three years.Lord West (Spithead) (Lab)Last year, the Government legislated to make flying drones above 400ft or within 1km of an airport boundary illegal. Last month, the aerodrome restriction zone was expanded to include an airport’s aerodrome traffic zone as well as 5km by 1km extensions from the end of runways to protect take-off and landing paths.
Last year, the Government also put into law a registration requirement for all operators of drones weighing 250 grams or more, and a requirement for remote pilots of drones to take a competency test. These requirements will come into force on 30 November 2019.
A new Drones Bill will be introduced in the next Session, which will give the Police greater powers to tackle offences involving the misuse of drones. In addition, the Home Office has announced new stop and search powers for drones around aerodromes, which will also be included in the upcoming Bill.
The Home Office continues to review the UK’s response to the malicious use of drones, and will consider how best to protect the full range of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, as well as testing and evaluating technology to counter drones.
The Government will also continue to work closely with industry and other partners on regulation, anticipating future innovations wherever possible in order to keep our airports secure and our airspace safe.
https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-02-18.HL13815.h&s=drone#gHL13815.q0Civilian drones; protecting airports and critical infrastructure
27 February 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessments have required ministerial approval from his Department in each financial year since 2015-16.Nia Griffith, Labour, LlanelliOverseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments themselves do not require approval by Ministers. OSJA assessments are written records of the consideration of risks surrounding a proposed activity and they document those who have been consulted. Ministerial approval may be required to authorise the proposed activity being described by the OSJA assessment, depending on the level of risk identified. If the hon. Member is seeking a record of those OSJA related activities, not the assessments themselves, such approvals are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-02-27/226635Assistance; OSJA; ministerial approval
25 February 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on human rights of Elbit systems UK's sale of drones subsequently used in attacks in Palestine.Baroness Tonge (Lib Dem)Export licence applications to all countries, including Israel, are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Our key test for licensing to Israel is Criterion 2 – whether there is a clear risk that exports might be used for internal repression or in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law. We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories closely, and if extant licences are found to be no longer consistent with the Criteria, those licences will be revoked.
25 February 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reason his Department has removed one MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle from service.Kevan Jones,( North Durham) (Lab)One of the RAF's Reaper fleet has reached the end of its viable flying life and is now in storage. This has had no impact on operational tasking.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-02-20.223964.h&s=Unmanned+aerial+vehicle#g223964.q0MoD; Military drone
22 February 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a drone registration scheme similar to the scheme operated by the Federal Aviation Administration in the US.John Spellar (Warley) (Lab)The Government has already put into law a registration requirement for all operators of drones weighing 250 grams or more. This was done in May last year. The registration requirement will come into force this year on 30 November 2019.
As explained in the Government’s July 2017 response to its public consultation on the safe use of drones in the UK, the primary aims of introducing a registration scheme are to improve the accountability of drones users, aid enforcement and enable direct educational targeting of these users in order to improve safety, security and privacy.
https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-02-14.221570.h&s=drone#g221570.q0Civilian drone registration
20 February 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when his Department plans to update the Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in order to reduce the number of babies dying as a result of armed conflict.Chris, Law, SNP, Dundee Westhe Government is reviewing its strategy on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict now, and we will have more information in due course. The review coincides with the twentieth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1265 (1999) and the adoption of the Protection of Civilians as an item on the Security Council's agendahttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-02-15/222035Civilian Protection; PoC
18 February 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 16 March 2016 (HL6659, HL6660, and HL6661), what progress they have made in (1) legislation in regard to, and (2) protection against, drones in the last three years.Lord West of Spithead (Lab)Last year, the Government legislated to make flying drones above 400ft or within 1km of an airport boundary illegal. Last month, the aerodrome restriction zone was expanded to include an airport’s aerodrome traffic zone as well as 5km by 1km extensions from the end of runways to protect take-off and landing paths. Last year, the Government also put into law a registration requirement for all operators of drones weighing 250 grams or more, and a requirement for remote pilots of drones to take a competency test. These requirements will come into force on 30 November 2019. A new Drones Bill will be introduced in the next Session, which will give the Police greater powers to tackle offences involving the misuse of drones. In addition, the Home Office has announced new stop and search powers for drones around aerodromes, which will also be included in the upcoming Bill. The Home Office continues to review the UK’s response to the malicious use of drones, and will consider how best to protect the full range of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, as well as testing and evaluating technology to counter drones. The Government will also continue to work closely with industry and other partners on regulation, anticipating future innovations wherever possible in order to keep our airports secure and our airspace safe.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-02-18/HL13815drone legislation
14 February 2019On Monday, the Secretary of State for Defence made a number of announcements to the press. They included first, a proposal to have large squadrons of highly skilled killer drones, and secondly—and more oddly—the proposal to convert a number of old car ferries into frontline warships, including, according to The Times, the Empress of Margate. Is it not the case that the Secretary of State should come to the House to make a statement regarding these proposals, and that we should also have a wider debate on them?Jamie Stone, Libdem, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter RossThe hon. Gentleman will be aware that we have Defence questions on Monday 18 February, which will be a good opportunity for him to ask the Secretary of State directlyhttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-02-14/debates/F3F9CC25-D033-4FCB-8D3B-2D6BA201D411/BusinessOfTheHouse#contribution-2FC6937B-5971-4F3F-B102-35ECA2B658DDKiller drone squadron
14 February 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a drone registration scheme similar to the scheme operated by the Federal Aviation Administration in the USJohn Spellar (Warley) (Lab)The Government has already put into law a registration requirement for all operators of drones weighing 250 grams or more. This was done in May last year. The registration requirement will come into force this year on 30 November 2019. As explained in the Government’s July 2017 response to its public consultation on the safe use of drones in the UK, the primary aims of introducing a registration scheme are to improve the accountability of drone users, aid enforcement and enable direct educational targeting of these users in order to improve safety, security and privacy.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-02-14/221570drone registration
12 February 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on human rights of Elbit Systems UK's sale of drones subsequently used in attacks in PalestineBaroness Tonge (Lib Dem)Export licence applications to all countries, including Israel, are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Our key test for licensing to Israel is Criterion 2 – whether there is a clear risk that exports might be used for internal repression or in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law. We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories closely, and if extant licences are found to be no longer consistent with the Criteria, those licences will be revokedhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-02-12/HL13675arms export; Israel; human rights
4 February 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to recoup the cost of regulating drones from their users or manufacturers.Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) (Con)There are already charges that exist for certain drone users, when applying to the CAA for permission to operate commercially or for an exemption from an Air Navigation Order article. When registration of drone operators is implemented later this year, drone operators will be required to pay the CAA a registration charge in order to fund the running and maintenance of the service. The CAA will consult on the structure of the proposed charging later this year.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-01-30.214515.h&s=drone#g214515.q0Civilian drone regulation
4 February 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Government of Pakistan since the last election in that country; and what recent (a) military and (b) economic assistance has been offered to improve co-operation between the UK and PakistanJim Shannon, DUP, StrangfordWe have had regular discussions with the Government of Pakistan since the election in July 2018. This includes contact by the Foreign Secretary and other Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers. We maintain regular contact with the Government of Pakistan at all levels in Pakistan, the UK and international fora on a range of bilateral and multilateral issues. These include security cooperation; work on anti-corruption; and bilateral trade. We maintain defence training exchanges and senior bilateral defence meetings with Pakistan’s Armed Forces. We help strengthen Pakistan institutions responsible for upholding the rule of law and advancing the rights of women and minorities. The British government also works with the Government of Pakistan on improving education, healthcare, infrastructure, gender equality, economic growth and jobs, and peace, justice and institutions, including through Department for International Development-supported projects and programmes.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-02-04/216255Assistance; Pakistan
4 February 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the technical feasibility of requiring drones to be fitted with geofencing software which prevents their operation around certain sites including airports, high-population density areas and national security sites.Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) (Con)Many drone manufacturers already voluntarily implement geo-fencing around sensitive infrastructure such as airports and prisons in the UK. The UK has been participating in negotiations in the EU to mandate geo-fencing as a product standard for all drones. The Department for Transport will continue to work with manufacturers to implement geo-fencing in their products.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-01-30.214516.h&s=drone#g214516.q0civilian drones regulation; protecting airports and critical infrastrcuture
30 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to recoup the cost of regulating drones from their users or manufacturersSir Greg Knight, Conservative, East YorkshireThere are already charges that exist for certain drone users, when applying to the CAA for permission to operate commercially or for an exemption from an Air Navigation Order article. When registration of drone operators is implemented later this year, drone operators will be required to pay the CAA a registration charge in order to fund the running and maintenance of the service. The CAA will consult on the structure of the proposed charging later this yearhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-01-30/214515regulation
30 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the technical feasibility of requiring drones to be fitted with geofencing software which prevents their operation around certain sites including airports, high-population density areas and national security sitesSir Greg Knight, Conservative, East YorkshireMany drone manufacturers already voluntarily implement geo-fencing around sensitive infrastructure such as airports and prisons in the UK. The UK has been participating in negotiations in the EU to mandate geo-fencing as a product standard for all drones. The Department for Transport will continue to work with manufacturers to implement geo-fencing in their productshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-01-30/214516drone regulation; geofencing
29 January 2019My Lords, the Minister used the word “proportionality” today, and in a previous answer. Could she explain the principle of proportionality between a drone closing Gatwick for two days and people being allowed to do what they like with them elsewhere? It is a bit of a challenge, is it not?Lord Balfe (Con)The noble Lord is quite right; it is a challenge. We have brought in laws governing the use of drones within airport exclusion zones and across the country. It is against the law to fly your drone above 400 feet, but the noble Lord is right to point out that this is a complex issuehttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2019-01-29/debates/15231457-BFBD-4860-A905-A778F86D93BE/DronesConsultation#contribution-36EF7B44-ADA8-435A-AAE2-870A145AFA82Gatwick
29 January 2019To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultations they are conducting on the operation of drones in United Kingdom airspace; and whether they will include the British Airline Pilots Association and the Guild of Air Traffic Controllers as members of draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy committeesLord Balfe (Con)My Lords, the Government have a wide range of engagement with industry on the operation of drones in UK airspace, and the government response to the latest formal consultation was published on 7 January. The Department for Transport will continue to work with the British Airline Pilots Association and the Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers, airports, drone manufacturers and other key stakeholders on all issues relating to the operation of drones in UK airspace, including airspace modernisation.https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2019-01-29/debates/15231457-BFBD-4860-A905-A778F86D93BE/DronesConsultation#contribution-1E2E9D42-BA0B-4BA9-BCDD-B6818991A832consultation; legislation
29 January 2019To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultations they are conducting on the operation of drones in United Kingdom airspace; and whether they will include the British Airline Pilots Association and the Guild of Air Traffic Controllers as members of draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy committees.Lord Balfe (Con)My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper and draw attention to my interests as listed in the register.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2019-01-29a.992.0&s=dronecivilian drone regulation
29 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of the disruption caused by the Gatwick drone incident in December 2018.Jim Cunningham (Civentry South) (Lab)The Department for Transport has not made an estimate of the cost to the public purse of the disruption caused by the Gatwick drone incident in December 2018.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-01-22.211112.h&s=drone#g211112.q0civilian drone misuse
29 January 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they are giving to the use of drones for air-sea rescue purposes in the English Channel.Lord HyltonHer Majesty’s Coastguard is actively considering drone technology that could be used to enhance search and rescue efficiency across the UK, save more lives and reduce risk to personnel. This includes working with search and rescue partners and industry, to explore and trial the feasibility of using drones in real-life scenarios, which will improve situational awareness and decision making for search and rescue authorities.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-01-22.HL13020.h&s=drone#gHL13020.q0drones for air-sea rescue purposes
29 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of the disruption caused by the Gatwick drone incident in December 2018.Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab)The Department for Transport has not made an estimate of the cost to the public purse of the disruption caused by the Gatwick drone incident in December 2018https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-01-22/211112Gatwick (cost)
29 January 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent drones from interfering with equestrian events, including national hunt racing and flat racing.Lord PalmerThere are already existing laws which provide safety, security and data protection assurance which are relevant here. The Air Navigation Order 2016 restricts small unmanned aircraft (a drone of between 0-20kg) with a camera from being flown over or within 150m of congested areas, over or within 150m of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 people or within 50m of any vessels, vehicle or structure or people not under the control of the remote pilot. Furthermore, small drone users that collect personal data must comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, unless a relevant exemption applies. All drone users should also be aware that the Countryside and Rights of Way Act can apply and restricts people from undertaking any commercial activity, such as filming or photographing, on open-access land without the permission of the landowner. The CAA also require that commercial drone operators obtain a Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO).https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-01-23.HL13073.h&s=drone#gHL13073.q0civilian drones regulation
22 January 2019To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made towards introducing new regulations on the use of drones.Baroness RandersonMy Lords, the Department for Transport introduced legislation last year which made flying a drone above 400 feet or within 1 kilometre of an airport boundary an offence. We also introduced regulations for compulsory registration and testing for drone users, which come into effect in November. Earlier this month, we announced measures to extend the airport flying ban to include aerodrome traffic zones and additional 5 kilometre extensions from the ends of runways. We also announced new police powers to tackle drone misuse, including the ability to issue on-the-spot fines.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2019-01-22a.622.3&s=dronecivilian drone regulation
22 January 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they are giving to the use of drones for air-sea rescue purposes in the English Channel.Lord Hylton, CrossbenchHer Majesty’s Coastguard is actively considering drone technology that could be used to enhance search and rescue efficiency across the UK, save more lives and reduce risk to personnel. This includes working with search and rescue partners and industry, to explore and trial the feasibility of using drones in real-life scenarios, which will improve situational awareness and decision making for search and rescue authorities.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-01-22/HL13020rescue services
22 January 2019My Lords, the lessons are always learned after incidents of this nature. In previous answers, the Minister told us that the Department for Transport was not happy that any of the technological solutions were necessarily perfect. Is the perfect not the enemy of the good? Today, we were told by easyJet that the disruption at Gatwick cost it £15 million. Other airlines and the airport operators will have had similar costs, and of course, the public and business faced costs too. What estimate has the department made of the costs associated with these slightly less-than-perfect technological solutions? What would it cost to equip a single airport with that technology, compared with the losses incurred?Lord Harris of Haringey (Lab)My Lords, advancing counter-drone technology is a complex challenge, and I think it fair to say that there is currently no silver bullet in that regard. A number of products are available; when taken together, they can mitigate against a drone. We are working closely with airports to ensure that they have the appropriate measures in place. We also continue to test and evaluate the safe use of a range of counter-drone technologies, and we are looking at future options. This crucial technology will detect drones flying around sensitive areas, airports and other parts of critical national infrastructure. The noble Lord rightly highlighted the economic cost involved; he can rest assured that we are doing everything we can to protect against future drone incursionshttp://bit.ly/2Du692srogue drones
22 January 2019Can the Minister explain why compulsory registration of drones has to wait until November? Why can it not happen now? The Gatwick incident demonstrated that no one really knows who is in charge. Is it the Department for Transport, the Home Office or the MoD; is it the police, the Army, the CAA or the airport itself? That is one reason why it took so long to deal with. Whose responsibility will it be the next time it happens?Baroness RandersonOn the timing of the registration system, since we put the requirement into law last May, the CAA has been working to develop and build an online registration and testing system. It is of course important that we get the IT system right: we expect thousands of people to use it and we want it to be easy to use and future proof, as we expect rapid growth in the sector. It is fair to say that many lessons were learned from the Gatwick incident. The police at the airport initially led the response, but I can certainly assure the noble Baroness that across the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and the Department for Transport, we will continue to ensure that we react rapidly to future incidents http://bit.ly/2ECZm5ZRegistration
18 January 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of governments that are, or are almost, able to mobilise new weapons systems capable of operating without meaningful human control; how soon they expect the UK will be able to deploy such systems; and what steps they are taking to secure international controls of such systems.Lord Judd (Lab)UK policy is that the operation of weapon systems will always be under human control as an absolute guarantee of oversight and authority for weapons release - no UK weapons systems currently in development will be capable of attacking targets without human control and input. Officials from Her Majesty's Government are closely involved in international discussions on autonomy at the United Nations to ensure that developments occur responsibly and in line with international law.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-01-08.HL12667.h&s=autonomous+weaponAutonomous weapons
14 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 January 2019 to Question 205973 on Airports: Unmanned Air Vehicles, what consultations the Government undertook prior to implementing the 400 ft height and 1 km radius exclusion zone on the use of drones adjacent to airportsAlan Brown, SNP, Kilmarnock and LoudounFrom December 2016 – March 2017 the Department sought views on drones in our consultation “Unlocking the UK's High Tech Economy: Consultation on the Safe Use of drones in the UK”. Almost 700 responses were received, including from airports, airlines, GA pilots and drone users. The Department’s response to that consultation (July 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/benefits-of-drones-to-the-uk-economy) sets out its intention to ban the use of drones within a certain distance of airports and to ban flights above 400ft. Amendments to the Air Navigation Order (ANO 2016) were then made in May 2018 introducing the 400ft limit and the interim 1km airport restriction. Following the Department’s most recent public consultation, the Government will now amend the ANO to extend the 1km restriction to protect the aerodrome traffic zones of protected airports, and to add 5km long runway protection zones at the end of each runway. This was set out on 7 January 2019 in the Government Response to “Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK”.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-01-14/208366regulation; consultation
14 January 2019Civilian authorities and agencies are now often on the frontline in dealing with cyber-attacks, chemical weapons attacks and drone incursions. Will the Secretary of State confirm that the Ministry of Defence is stepping up training and resilience capability of our civilian agencies to ensure that the skills transfers are there, so that they too are able to defend our country?Mrs Madeleine Moon (Bridgend( (Lab)Yes; of course we always have that backstop of being able to step in and support civilian authorities as well. Increasingly, as we touched on earlier, there is a growing grey zone where people who wish to do us harm are acting, and we need to consider how we support civilian authorities more in future to help them best deal with those threatshttp://bit.ly/2F4lTc0
14 January 2019The Ministry of Defence is evidently well prepared to respond very quickly to drone threats, once it is asked for assistance, ​but can the Minister explain the policy whereby installations are not already in place and a crisis has to arise before that assistance is deployed to the airports?Dr Julian Lewis, New Forest EastAs I was saying, the protection of airports is in fact an issue for those airports. I know that the Department for Transport is working with airfields across the country to ensure that they have the protections they need. The response by the MOD was incredibly swift, and I pay tribute to it for thathttp://bit.ly/2TGFppeGatwick; MOD
14 January 2019What steps his Department is taking to support civilian authorities to tackle illegal drone use at and around UK airportsHenry Smith (Crawley) (Con)The Ministry of Defence rapidly deployed counter-unmanned air systems capability in support of Sussex police and the Metropolitan police, both at Gatwick and at Heathrow. We are working with colleagues in the Department for Transport and across the Government, and will continue to do sohttp://bit.ly/2O5Gy3EGatwick; illegal drone use; police
14 January 2019I have today received a parliamentary answer revealing that no Transport Minister visited Gatwick during the drone crisis. Can the hon. Gentleman tell us what contingency plans his own Department had for dealing with drones at airports? Will he also tell us on what date the Transport Department—or, indeed, the Cabinet Office—ask the MOD for help and support during the crisis? How did his Department respond, and when?John Spellar (Warley) (Lab)I was pleased to go to Heathrow myself just last week—[Hon. Members: “Gatwick.”] I know, but I personally went to Heathrow last week. We responded to the request that we received from Sussex police on 20 December and we have been working with colleagues across the Government, and with the Department for Transport, to ensure that we have all the availability that is needed, and that the airports have the proper advice that they require so that they can get the systems they need to ensure that they can protect their own runways
10 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which parties were consulted on the adequacy of the 400 ft height and 1 km radius exclusion zone on the use of drones adjacent to airports.Alan Brown (SNP spokesman)On 7th January 2019, the Government published its response to the recent consultation on the safe use and effective regulation of drones; “Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK”. There was significant interest in the consultation, which closed on 17 September and received around 5,000 responses.

One of the key topics covered in the consultation was whether the current airport restriction was sufficient, and if not, what kind of further extension should be considered. As a result, the exclusion zone around airports will be extended to approximately a 5km-radius (3.1 miles), with additional extensions at the end of each runway.

The consultation response document can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-future-of-drones-in-the-uk-consultation . Chapter 5 includes a summary of responses to the questions on the airport restriction zone, and summarises the views received from aerodromes and airlines, model aircraft fliers and leisure users of drones, amongst others.

As explained in the consultation response, The Department for Transport will still be instructing the CAA to review the effectiveness of aerodrome restriction measures during the next year.
https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-01-07.205973.h&s=drone#g205973.q0Civilian drones, airport disruption
10 January 2019I am sure that the Secretary of State can chew gum and walk at the same time, so while he is dealing with future viability with our leaving the EU, will he also deal with the current crisis over drones affecting airports? May I give him the opportunity to answer the questions that he did not answer earlier in the week? Were contingency plans agreed with the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office to protect our airports from drone incidents and others, and if not, why not? Were such plans not activated in time because of dithering? Why did they not work? Was that the fault of the Secretary of State’s Department, the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office or, indeed, the Cabinet Office?John Spellar (Warley) (Lab)Chris Grayling: I would simply remind the right hon. Gentleman of two factors. First, the disruptive attack at Gatwick was unprecedented anywhere in the world, and as a result we have been approached by airports around the world to learn more about how we tackled that. Secondly, as I have said, I am not able to discuss in the House the nature of the technology used for security reasons, but when a similar issue arose at Heathrow earlier this week, the response was very rapid indeed.http://bit.ly/2F9nHAnCivilian drones; Gatwick response
9 January 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce urgent legislation to immediately implement a five-kilometre drone exclusion zone as proposed by the British Airline Pilots Association for all commercial and military airports; if so, when; and if not, why not.Lord NasebyAs set out in my recent Statement [7 January 2019 vol 794] on the Government’s response to our recent consultation Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK, we will be taking forward several measures to ensure that passengers have confidence that their journeys will not be disrupted by drones, that aircraft can safely use our key transport hubs and that criminals misusing drones can be brought to justice. Although any restriction zone would not have prevented a deliberate incident such as that seen recently at Gatwick, we want to ensure that proportionate measures are in place at airports to protect aircraft and avoid potential conflict with legitimate drone activity. We will therefore introduce additional protections around airports, with a particular focus on protected exclusion zones 5km from runway ends at a width of 1km, alongside increasing the current restrictions to the extent of existing Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ) around airports. Drone pilots wishing to fly within these zones must only do so with permission from the aerodrome air traffic control. The Department for Transport will amend the Air Navigation Order 2016 to implement these changeshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2019-01-09/HL12715Civilian drones; Domestic drone legislation
8 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the oral contribution of the hon. Member for South West Norfolk, 6 December 2016 on Prison Safety, Official Report, column 95, what assessment he has made of (a) the effect of the use of patrol dogs barking to deter drones, (b) how many prisons use this method and (c) at what cost to the public purse.Layla Moran, Oxford West and AbingdonHer Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) uses dogs in a variety of roles, such as searching for drugs and other illicit items and for patrolling. Patrol dogs are deployed in various ways including at the perimeter of prisons, to deter and disrupt individuals from illegal activity such as throwing contraband over the perimeter or piloting drones over the prison. In the course of these duties, patrol dogs may also hear drones being used and alert their handler. However, dogs are not deployed specifically for this purpose and therefore there are no associated costs. We are taking decisive steps to tackle the use of drones as a supply route for organised criminals to bring illicit items such as drugs and mobile phones into prisons. Prisons that experience high numbers of drone incursions are receiving a wide range of support, including prison-specific vulnerability assessments and joint policing operations to arrest drone operators. We are also using physical counter-measures, including netting and window grilleshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-01-08/206453Civilan drones; UK; Prisons
8 January 2019To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of governments that are, or are almost, able to mobilise new weapons systems capable of operating without meaningful human control; how soon they expect the UK will be able to deploy such systems; and what steps they are taking to secure international controls of such systems.Lord Judd (Lab)UK policy is that the operation of weapon systems will always be under human control as an absolute guarantee of oversight and authority for weapons release - no UK weapons systems currently in development will be capable of attacking targets without human control and input. Officials from Her Majesty's Government are closely involved in international discussions on autonomy at the United Nations to ensure that developments occur responsibly and in line with international law.https://bit.ly/2mAFTgOAutonomous weapons
7 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which parties were consulted on the adequacy of the 400 ft height and 1 km radius exclusion zone on the use of drones adjacent to airports.On 7th January 2019, the Government published its response to the recent consultation on the safe use and effective regulation of drones; “Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK”. There was significant interest in the consultation, which closed on 17 September and received around 5,000 responses. One of the key topics covered in the consultation was whether the current airport restriction was sufficient, and if not, what kind of further extension should be considered. As a result, the exclusion zone around airports will be extended to approximately a 5km-radius (3.1 miles), with additional extensions at the end of each runway.

The consultation response document can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-future-of-drones-in-the-uk-consultation . Chapter 5 includes a summary of responses to the questions on the airport restriction zone, and summarises the views received from aerodromes and airlines, model aircraft fliers and leisure users of drones, amongst others. As explained in the consultation response, The Department for Transport will still be instructing the CAA to review the effectiveness of aerodrome restriction measures during the next year.
https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-01-07/205973Domestic legislation
7 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the cost to the public purse has been of the development of the ecoSUB-µ5-SVP vehicles to be deployed from HMS EnterpriseMartin ocherty-Hughes, West DunbartonshireThe ecoSUB-µ5-SVP vehicles were not developed as part of a defence contract. The vehicles were developed by industry, Planet Ocean, in collaboration with the National Oceanography Centre.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-12-07/200135/
7 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which parties were consulted on the adequacy of the 400 ft height and 1 km radius exclusion zone on the use of drones adjacent to airports.Alan Brown, Kilmarnock and LoudounOn 7th January 2019, the Government published its response to the recent consultation on the safe use and effective regulation of drones; “Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK”. There was significant interest in the consultation, which closed on 17 September and received around 5,000 responses. One of the key topics covered in the consultation was whether the current airport restriction was sufficient, and if not, what kind of further extension should be considered. As a result, the exclusion zone around airports will be extended to approximately a 5km-radius (3.1 miles), with additional extensions at the end of each runway.

The consultation response document can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-future-of-drones-in-the-uk-consultation . Chapter 5 includes a summary of responses to the questions on the airport restriction zone, and summarises the views received from aerodromes and airlines, model aircraft fliers and leisure users of drones, amongst others. As explained in the consultation response, The Department for Transport will still be instructing the CAA to review the effectiveness of aerodrome restriction measures during the next year
https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-01-07/205973/Civilian drones UK; Gatwick; Heathrow; legislation
4 January 2019To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of the contraband in prisons that enters prisons via droneRichard Burgon, Leeds EastIt is inherently difficult to estimate the proportion of contraband that enters prisons through different routes, including drones, as we can only base this on what is found; often this is in cells or wings where the method of conveyance is unclear. We are taking decisive steps to tackle the use of drones as a supply route for organised criminals to bring illicit items such as drugs and mobile phones into prisons. Prisons that experience high numbers of drone incursions are receiving a wide range of support, including prison-specific vulnerability assessments and joint policing operations to arrest drone operators. We are also putting physical counter-measures, including netting and window grilleshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2019-01-04/205339Prison
20 December 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the closure of Gatwick Airport on 19 and 20 December 2018 after illegal drone use threatened flight safety for the future resilience at that airport.Henry Smith (Crawley)The recent use of a drone to disrupt Gatwick airport operations was a serious criminal offence. The Department is working closely with the Home Office, Police, CAA and all UK airports to ensure that appropriate lessons are learnt from this incident, and appropriate mitigations put in place to reinforce their protection. Department for Transport and Home Office Ministers will be meeting with key UK airports this week to discuss their counter-drone strategies in the wake of the Gatwick incident. Air and Unmanned Aerial Systems strikes are being conducted in Iraq and Syria. The UK is conducting military counterterrorism operations or capacity building in 17 countries. Military personnel have been deployed on the ground but none of those personnel are employed in combat roles. The Ministry of Defence has not constructed nor is it retaining any military bases for the sole purpose of counterterrorism operations; UK forces use shared military establishments at the invitation of host governments or allies at a number of locations globally. These measures include new powers for the police to ensure they are able to enforce the law for offences involving drones, and increased drone restriction zones around airportshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-12-20/204480Gatwick
20 December 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, in how many countries the UK military is conducting counterterrorism operations; and in how many of those countries the UK is (a) conducting air and dronestrikes, (b) deploying combat troops, (c) constructing or retaining military bases and (d) building the capacity of partners to conduct counterterrorism and other actions.Dr Julian Lewis, New Forest EastAir and Unmanned Aerial Systems strikes are being conducted in Iraq and Syria. The UK is conducting military counterterrorism operations or capacity building in 17 countries. Military personnel have been deployed on the ground but none of those personnel are employed in combat roles. The Ministry of Defence has not constructed nor is it retaining any military bases for the sole purpose of counterterrorism operations; UK forces use shared military establishments at the invitation of host governments or allies at a number of locations globally.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-12-20/204354Armed forces, counter-terrorism
19 December 2018To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the UK Government takes to ensure that UK aid is not used to support military, security and intelligence authorities in Pakistan allegedly involved in the enforced disappearance of people in that countryAnn Clwyd, Labour, Cynon ValleyHMG makes robust use of oversees security and justice assessment (OSJAs) process to manage any risks arising from security and justice assistance delivered overseas. The UK’s work in Pakistan is focused on peace and stability, making democracy work, jobs and growth and providing basic services. Across Government, through the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) UK aid is used to support the reform of justice institutions and the development of provincial rule of law strategies, improving Pakistan’s capacity to counter terrorism, deal with organised crime, supporting the work of civilian and military agencies to handle Improvised Explosive Devices, and strengthening Mutual Legal Assistance.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-12-19/203801military aid; Pakistan
18 December 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to prevent illicit drugs being brought into prisons.David Simpson, Upper Ban...........We are working with the police to catch and convict criminals who smuggle contraband into prisons, and exploring additional security measures and new technology to stop these incursions. To date, there have been at least 45 convictions related to drone activity, with those sentenced serving a total of more than 140 years in prison.......https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-12-18/203266/Prison
6 December 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the follow-on process to develop international best practice standards stemming from the US-led joint declaration on the export and subsequent use of armed or strike enabled UAVs, what the Government’s main goals are; and which international partners the Government is working withTom Brake, Carshalton and WallingtonThe US is leading the process to develop possible international best practice standards in this area. We are concerned by the possible misuse of armed and strike-enabled UAVs and welcome the initiative. The UK already has a robust set of export controls in place. We would like to ensure that any future best practice standards are consistent with, and add value to, existing multilateral export control and non-proliferation regimes, and encourage the maximum possible compliance.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-12-06/199760/Drones, international best standards
6 December 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the conclusion of the US-led joint declaration on the export and subsequent use of armed or strike-enabled UAVs, what steps the Government taking to develop those standards.Tom Brake, Carshalton and WallingtonThe UK signed a 'Joint Declaration on the Export & Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)' on 5 October 2016, along with 52 other States. The UK already has a robust set of export controls in place in relation to UAVs. Following the Joint Declaration, we are in discussion with a number of countries about developing a set of international best practice standards regarding the export of armed or strike-enabled UAVs. These discussions are continuing; it is not yet clear when they will conclude.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-12-06/199759/Export
5 December 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, by what date his Department expects to complete the transition from Reaper to Protector aircraft.Nia Griffith, LlanelliUnder current plans, Protector will be fully operational by the middle of the next decade. Ongoing planning assumes a seamless transition with Reaper.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-12-05/199375/Military drone; Protector
3 December 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) confiscated drones and (b) persons prosecuted for the illegal use of a drone in the vicinity of a prison in the last two yearsGregory CampbellWe are taking decisive steps to tackle the use of drones as a supply route for organised criminals to bring illicit items such as drugs and mobile phones into prisons. These drone operators can be prosecuted for offences related to conveyance of items into prison under the Prison Act 1952. Last year we launched Operation Trenton, a specialist team of police and Prison Service investigators, to work together to intercept drones and track down the criminals behind them. In 2016, 92 drones were recovered. In 2017, 73 were recovered. In respect of persons prosecuted for the illegal use of a drone in the vicinity of a prison in the last two years, we do not hold this data centrally. However, we believe that at least 45 people have been convicted of illicit drone activity, with those sentenced serving a total of more than 140 years in prison. On 26 October 2018, following the largest investigation of its kind, an organised criminal gang of 15 were collectively sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison for using drones to drop drugs into a number of prisons. The ringleader received a sentence of 10 years, the highest single sentence for drone-related activity to date.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-12-03/198196/prisons
21 November 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he is exploring options to develop an unmanned maritime patrol aircraft capability to complement current and planned fixed and rotary-wing platformsKevan Jones, North DurhamAs set out in Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, Joint Force 2025 will deliver a fleet of nine Boeing P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. We recognise the potential strategic importance of developing further unmanned surveillance capability; however, we have not started formally exploring options.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-11-21/194117/Maritime Patrol Aifcraft
13 November 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department plans to take against (a) droneoperators and (b) prisoners involved in receiving messages or contrabandJim Shannon, StrangefordWe are taking decisive steps to tackle the use of drones as a supply route for organised criminals to bring drugs and mobile phones into prisons. These drone operators can be prosecuted for offences related to conveyance of items into prison under the Prison Act 1952. Last year we launched Operation Trenton, a specialist team of police and Prison Service investigators, to work together to intercept drones and track down the criminals behind them. On 26 October, following the largest investigation of its kind, an organised criminal gang of 15 were collectively sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison for using drones to drop drugs into several prisons. One member of the gang received a sentence of 10 years’ custody, the highest single sentence for drone-related activity to date. Prisoners who break the law in prison should expect to be sanctioned according to the severity of the crime, with serious crimes being referred to the police for investigation. The maximum sentence that a court may impose will depend on the facts of the case and the offence the prisoner has been found guilty of committing. In respect of controlled drugs, for example, prisoners involved in their delivery may receive a sentence of up to 10 years’ custody and an unlimited fine.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-11-13/190891/prisons
6 November 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assistance his Department has provided to the Government of the United Arab Emirates on counter terrorism in Yemen in (a) 2016, (b) 2017 and (c) 2018Tom Brake, Carshalton and WallingtonThe Ministry of Defence did not provide assistance to the government of the United Arab Emirates on counter-terrorism in Yemen in 2016, 2017 or 2018https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-11-06/188696Assistance; UAE
5 November 2018To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the killing of Abdel Hamid and two others by a Israeli drone strike near the border between Gaza and Israel.Baroness TongeWe have not discussed this specific issue with the Israeli authorities. ​The UK has repeatedly made clear to Israel our longstanding concerns about the manner in which the Israeli Defence Forces police protests and the border areas, including the use of live ammunition.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2018-11-05/HL11299/Israel
30 October 2018The Saudi-led war in Yemen is causing what could be the world’s worst famine in 100 years, with 14 million people at risk according to the UN. This war is dependent on the UK Government’s assistance and support, and it could not be waged without UK arms and military assistance. What crimes does the Saudi regime need to commit before the Government finally stand up for human rights and bring forward that resolution?Marsha De Cordova, Labour, BatterseaThe most important thing in Yemen is to bring the conflict to a conclusion. Over the weekend, I spoke to representatives of the UN, the United States, the coalition and the Government of Yemen. Intensive work is going on to make every effort to bring the conflict to a conclusion, and the United Kingdom will play a full part in thathttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-10-30/debates/4EFBC063-CEDD-4FFD-B48B-A22871B5B072/TopicalQuestions#contribution-E87BC139-FC20-4763-AB35-EF33F692C45Aassistance; UK; Saudi Arabia; IHL violation
29 October 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what military assistance the Government is providing to the Government of Nigeria to help it defeat Boko HaramJim Shannon, StrangefordThe UK and Nigeria share a deep and long-standing Defence partnership. Since 2014, the UK has sought to support and enable a Nigerian-led regional response to Boko Haram and related violent extremism, doing so in the context of the long-term need to help build capacity of the Nigerian Armed Forces and support Defence Transformation. Some 70 Defence personnel are currently deployed to Nigeria on an enduring basis, and over 800 have deployed to Nigeria on training and advisory tasks since April 2015. This is supported by equipment gifting, places on professional development courses, and a focus on developing Nigerian Command, Staff, and Leadership institutionshttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-10-29/184962Assistance; Partnership; Nigeria
17 October 2018To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment his Department made of the use of drones by the Police and Fire Services of the effectiveness of those services in relation to (a) difficult to reach areas, (b) incidents involving a danger to life and limb and (c) public disorder events.Dr Matthew Offord, HendonDecisions to use drones and in which circumstances are operational matters for the Police and Fire and Rescue services. The National Police Chief’s Council is undertaking a review of Police Air Support which is considering how drones should be used alongside manned aircraft.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-10-17/180702/Domestic use; Emergency services
9 October 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to Written Statement of 9 October 2018, HCWS974 on Airborne Warning and Control System, if he will publish the market analysis undertaken by his Department in relation to that decision.Nia Griffith, LlanelliThe analysis work relating to possible options to invest in and improve the United Kingdom's Airborne Warning and Control System capability considered a wide range of options available on the market, including a number of business jet-based solutions and also some more novel options, including unmanned aerial vehicles. I am withholding market analysis information as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our Armed Forces.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-10-09/177235/Airborne Warning and Control System
11 September 2018To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusions of the report by Human Rights Watch Hiding Behind the Coalition: Failure to Credibly Investigate and Provide Redress for Unlawful Attacks in Yemen, published 24 August, that the Joint Incidents Assessment Team of the Saudi–UAE coalition lacks credibility and fails to provide credible, impartial and transparent investigations into alleged coalition laws-of-war violations; and whether, following that report, they intend to conduct their own investigation into the impact of air strikes and potential violations of international humanitarian law in YemenLord JuddThe UK regularly encourages Saudi Arabia to conduct thorough and conclusive investigations into reports of alleged violations of international humanitarian law. The Coalition Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) is unparalleled in the region. We welcome the release by the JIAT of the outcome of over 85 investigations into incidents of alleged breaches of international humanitarian law in Yemen. We continue to believe that Saudi Arabia has the best insight into their own military procedures, in line with the standards we set for ourselves and our allieshttps://bit.ly/2NHcNcxYemen war; Saudi Arabia; UAE; IHL violations
11 September 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to Written Statement of 9 October 2018, HCWS974 on Airborne Warning and Control System, if he will publish the market analysis undertaken by his Department in relation to that decision.Lord JuddThis UN report further underlines the deeply concerning human rights situation in Yemen and the importance of reaching a political solution to this conflict. We believe it is important to give the Group of Eminent Experts more time to fully examine the conflict and to ensure that its conclusions accurately reflect the conduct of all parties in future reporting. The UK joined the consensus on the Resolution that established the Group of Eminent Experts last year and we hope the UN Human Rights Council will renew its existing mandate this year. We regularly raise the importance of compliance with international humanitarian law with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition. The Saudi-led Coalition Joint Incidents Assessment Team has so far announced the findings of over 85 investigations.https://bit.ly/2O8iKP5Partner assistance; Yemen
10 September 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals on drones.Melanie Onn, Great GrimsbyIn May this year, the Government amended the Air Navigation Order to restrict drones from flying above 400ft and within 1km of an airport boundary. These measures came into effect in July this year. The amendments also introduced the registration of all drone operators with drones of 250g and over, as well as competency tests for remote pilots of drones of 250g and over. These will come into effect in November 2019. The Government is currently consulting on measures to be included in a draft Drones Bill such as greater police powers against the misuse of drones and proposals for regulating and mandating the use of safety ‘apps’ and counter-drone technology. A draft Drones Bill is due to be published shortly.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-09-10/172638/Drones Bill UK
3 September 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has plans to run a public consultation on updating the UK’s protection of civilians strategy.Chris Law (Dundee West)​There are no plans to run a public consultation.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-09-03/169419/Policy: civcas
3 September 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has plans to include violations committed against children living in conflict in its protection of civilians strategy.Chris Law (Dundee West)International Humanitarian Law (IHL) provides a robust legal framework for the protection of all civilians (including children) and combatants, and the UK works closely with states and NGOs to promote compliance with this legal framework.The UK is committed to protecting children affected by armed conflict, including ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers. As an active member of the UN Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), we have been working in particular on how to improve humanitarian access for children in conflict. The UK frequently applies diplomatic pressure to states and non-state armed groups who violate the rights of children in conflict contexts, and funds projects to help protect and rehabilitate vulnerable children. In April 2018, we endorsed the Safe School Declaration and we are encouraging other countries to follow suit. The UK worked very closely with Sweden and others to agree a UN Security Council Resolution on Children and Armed Conflict which was adopted in early July this year. The UK has also endorsed the guidance set out in both the Paris Principles and the Vancouver Principles, which aims to ensure that child protection is an operational priority for UN peacekeeping missions.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-09-03/169420/Policy: civcas children
23 July 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure the realisation of the economic potential of drones for the UK economy in the forthcoming draft Drones Bill.Karl Turner, Kingston upon Hull EastThe measures included in the current consultation, which will feed into the upcoming draft Drones Bill, are a key step in maintaining the UK’s position as a global leader in the drones services market; by tackling misuse and building public confidence in drone technology and encouraging positive, innovative drone use. The consultation includes a proposal to mandate the use of safety apps which, if taken forward, will be one of the initial steps towards facilitating an unmanned traffic management system (UTM) and to unlocking the future potential of drones. The intention is to publish the draft Drones Bill later this year, following consultation.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-07-23/167242/Drones Bill
23 July 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the draft Drones Bill will include proposals for the creation of (a) U-space and (b) unmanned traffic management.Karl TurnerThe measures included in the current consultation, which will feed into the upcoming draft Drones Bill, are a key step in maintaining the UK’s position as a global leader in the drones services market; by tackling misuse and building public confidence in drone technology and encouraging positive, innovative drone use. The consultation includes a proposal to mandate the use of safety apps which, if taken forward, will be one of the initial steps towards facilitating an unmanned traffic management system (UTM) and to unlocking the future potential of drones. The intention is to publish the draft Drones Bill later this year, following consultation.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-07-23/167245/Drone BillUK
23 July 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government are taking to ensure that UK regulations will be sufficiently aligned to EU rules to support (a) the export of drones to Europe and (b) the operation of drones with UK approval in Europe after the UK leaves the EU.Karl TurnerThe Government and the CAA continue to engage with EASA on the development of its Basic Regulation and associated implementing regulations, which will establish new EU regulations for safe drone operations. Future arrangements on the export and operation of drones will be a matter for negotiations.It is the Government’s intention to remain part of the EASA system after exit, and to maintain a common rulebook with the EU for goods.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-07-23/167246/Drone BillUK
20 JulyTo ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential for unmanned transport systems to supply troops on the front line.Lord Kennedy of SouthwarkThe Defence Scientific and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) is leading the Ministry of Defence's research in this area, working with the US Department of Defense to accelerate and demonstrate the effective use of new robotic and autonomous systems technologies.This includes the 'Last Mile Challenge' innovation initiative which has challenged industry and academia to look at how delivery drones and resupply robots can provide vital reinforcements to frontline troops. The challenge is worth a total of £3.8 million over the next 12 months with prototypes being built for demonstration later this year. Four of the five successful organisations are British-led with a wide range of sub-contractors from small and medium sized enterprises, industry and academia.These capabilities and other emerging military technologies will be tested and evaluated at the Autonomous Warrior, Army Warfighting Exercise in November 2018. The exercise, which involves all three Services, DSTL, the US Army and around 50 industry participants, will test a range of research projects including in surveillance, long-range and precision targeting, enhancing mobility and the re-supply of forces, urban warfare and enhanced situational awareness. The lessons identified will support decision making for future investment in ground-breaking technology and innovation to ensure the Army and British industry remain at the cutting edge of technology and combat tactics.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2018-07-20/HL9747/technology: delivery dronesUK
17 July 2018Smuggling drugs into prisons with drones 166453; 164970; 14554https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-07-20/166453/; https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-07-17/164970/; https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-05-18/145547/Drug smuggling into prisonsDomestic
17 July 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what support his Department is providing to security forces in Nigeria to tackle violence between different groups in the Middle Belt.Jim Shannon, DUP, StrangfordAssistance provided by the Ministry of Defence to the Nigerian security forces is focussed on Nigerian efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in the North East of the country. The Ministry of Defence does not provide support specifically targeted at tackling the violence in the Middle Belthttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-07-10/162568Assistance; Nigeria
17 July 2018To ask Her Majesty's Government what training the army and Joint Forces Command supply to the Palestinian Authority Security Forces; what is their budget for such training; and which department provides the budget.Baroness TongeI refer the noble Baroness to the answer I gave her on 19 June 2018, to HL 8534. This training is paid for by the cross-Government Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) and MOD's Defence Assistance Fund (DAF). In financial year 2017-18, the CSSF spend was £2.32 million; and DAF spend was £145,000https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2018-07-17/HL9623assistance; Palestine
12 July 2018To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the Prime Minister's statement on 11 July, how the additional 440 UK military personnel to be deployed to the NATO mission in Afghanistan will "bring the stability and security that the Afghan people deserve"The Marquess of LothianThe uplift of 440 personnel will join the UK-led Kabul Security Force (KSF), which supports the wider NATO Train Advise Assist mission with non-combat support for the Afghan National Defence and Security Force (ANDSF). This support enables NATO advisors in the city to undertake capacity-building and directly mentors the ANDSF on delivering security for the civilian population, which they been responsible for since 2015. The UK is already playing a critical role, alongside our NATO partners, in training the ANDSF so they have the skills to maintain stability in a challenging environment. The UK uplift will further bolster these efforts where our operational experience and expertise directly benefit the ANDSF.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/lords/2018-07-12/HL9498Assistance; Afghanistan; NATO; Kabul Security Force
12 July 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has plans to develop a (a) UK-only unmanned combat aerial vehicle programme and (a) sixth generation successor to the Eurofighter.Tom Brake, LD Carshalton and WallingtonThe UK's Combat Air Strategy, published on 16 July 2018, outlines the Ministry of Defence's plans for the delivery of Combat Air capability. It has initiated the acquisition programme which will develop the proposals for the delivery of the next generation capability to replace Typhoon, including the nature of that capability.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-07-12/163497/TechnologyUK
1 July 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make it his policy to establish permanent arrangements to be activated automatically at the start of any UK military campaign to (a) record and (b) report estimated civilian casualties caused by UK military action; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of such arrangements being established (i) within his Department exclusively or (ii) on a cross-departmental basis.Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East)I refer my right hon. Friend to the answer I gave him to Question 158137 on 4 July 2018. (see below)https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-06-27/158141/Policy: civcas
27 June 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department has taken to implement the recommendations of Sir John Chilcot's Report of the Iraq Inquiry, published on 6 July 2016, on future (a) recording and (b) reporting of civilian casualties caused by UK military action; and if he will make a statement.The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes very seriously the conclusions set out at paragraphs 277 ("The Inquiry considers that a Government has a responsibility to make every reasonable effort to identify and understand the likely and actual effects of its military actions on civilians") and 280 ("The Government should be ready to work with others, in particular Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and academic institutions, to develop such assessments and estimates over time") of Section 17 of the Iraq Inquiry (Chilcot) Report. Since the publication of the Report, officials have been in discussion with several NGOs concerning these conclusions. In response to this dialogue, the Department now releases statistics relating to the number of civilians admitted to UK military field hospitals. In addition, the MOD publication 'The Good Operation'(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-good-operation ), a handbook for those involved in operational policy and its implementation published in January 2018, highlights paragraph 277 of Section 17 (on page 8); invites policy-makers to assess the likely impact of an operation on the populace, including factors such as protection of non-combatants (page 23); and draws attention to the legal dimension of operational planning, including targeting and rules of engagement, on pages 33-35. These considerations are a central part of our planning and campaign assessment processes. We are keen to continue the dialogue with NGOs over the coming period to ensure that, as far as practicably possible, we continue to address the conclusions set out in paragraphs 277 and 280 of Section 17.The current official statistics on operational casualties are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-armed-forces-and-uk-civilian-operational-casualty-and-fatality-statistics The operations on which we are currently reporting (KIPION, SHADER and TORAL) do not incorporate a deployed field hospital, hence no civilian casualty data are currently being reported regarding admissions to deployed UK military medical facilities. We intend to start reporting on numbers of casualties for Op TRENTON (South Sudan) as a UK field hospital is deployed, subject to further work on data compliance issues.We have previously published civilian numbers being treated in a UK field hospital as part of reporting for Op GRITROCK in Sierra Leone, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-armed-forces-and-uk-civilian-operational-casualty-and-fatality-statistics-financial-year-20142015 It is also important to stress that we do everything we can to minimise the risk to civilians from UK military action, not least through the professionalism of our personnel. Reports of civilian casualties are taken very seriously and will continue to be. We already have in place a process by which we identify any evidence that a civilian casualty may inadvertently have occurred. Any such evidence is assessed and if it is credible, it is passed to the relevant authorities for investigation. The results are published where any investigation shows that the UK has been responsible.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-06-27/158137/Policy: civcas
21 JuneTo ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to his Written Statement of 23 May 2018, Official Report, HCWS716, whether the Government's new agreement with Saudi Arabia includes providing information, advice and assistance for Saudi or Saudi-led coalition military operations in Yemen.Stephen Gethins, SNP, North East FifeHer Majesty's Government is working with Saudi Arabia to mitigate the threat from missiles fired from Yemen across the border into Saudi Arabia. UK personnel are providing information, advice and assistance limited to this objective. For reasons of operational security further details of this support are not being provided.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-06-21/156458Assistance; Saudi Arabia
21 JuneTo ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Written Ministerial Statement of 23 May 2018 on Saudi Arabia, HCWS716, whether he sought legal advice on the UK Government's role in providing information, advice and assistance to Saudi Arabia against the threat of Houthi missiles; and if he will make a statementStephen Gethins, SNP, North East FifeLegal advice was sought prior to the Written Ministerial Statement of 23 Mayhttps://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-06-21/156456Assistance; legal advice
20 June 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what advanced satellite monitoring and drone technologies his Department has made available to support implementation of the Blue Belt policy around the (a) Ascension Islands and (b) British Indian Ocean Territory.Angela Smith, Labour, Penistone and StocksbridgeThere are currently no funded programmes relating to satellite monitoring or drone technologies that support the implementation of Blue Belt policy around the Ascension Islands and British Indian Ocean Territory.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-06-20/155729/Policy: Environmental protectionBritish territory
18 June 2018To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the government of Israel about the Israeli military's use of drones which drop firebombs within the borders of Gaza.Baroness TongeWe are not aware of these specific incidents and have not raised them with the Israeli authorities. We continue to raise our concerns over the situation in Gaza with the Israeli authorities.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2018-06-18/HL8751/Human Rights Gaza
11 June 2018How many drones will we have for the RAF, the Royal Navy and the Army by 2027, both for reconnaissance and for taking out our enemies?Philip Hollobone, Conservative, KetteringI am happy to concede that my hon. Friend has caught me on the hop. I am not able to give him a specific answer at this time, but I am sure that he will allow me to write to him to confirm those figures in due course.https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2018-06-11a.568.11#g569.5
15 May 2018To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment he has made of the merits of using drones to drop emergency aid into Syria; and if he will make a statement.Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South)Aid delivered by road by trusted humanitarian partners is by far the most effective way to meet needs in Syria and to ensure that it reaches those most in need. We have, however, examined all options as part of our determination to do everything we can to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.Airdrops, manned or using drones, are not capable of meeting either the scale of needs or delivering many of the kinds of aid that could address the priority needs that we see in Syria (e.g. safe drinking water, health support). Furthermore, we judge that such an operation would carry a high level of risk because the consent is needed of those who control the airspace and those on the ground that could threaten aircraft. There is nothing to suggest that the Assad regime would provide such consent, given that it continues to use the denial of aid as a weapon of war.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-05-15/144164/Drones humanitarian aidSyria
16 April 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the US administration on the maintenance of the presidential policy guidance on use of drone strikes issued under President Obama; and if he will make a statement.Alex Sobel MPThe British Government has not held any recent discussions with the US Government on the maintenance of the Presidential Policy Guidance on approving direct action against terrorist targets issued in 2013.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-03-28/134642/
27 March 2018To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the merits of using unarmed drones to deliver humanitarian aid in Syria.Graham P Jones MP, HyndburnAid delivered by road by trusted humanitarian partners is by far the most effective way to meet needs in Syria and to ensure that it reaches those most in need. We have, however, examined all options as part of our determination to do everything we can to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

Airdrops, manned or using drones, are not capable of meeting either the scale of needs or delivering many of the kinds of aid that could address the priority needs that we see in Syria (e.g. safe drinking water, health support). Furthermore, we judge that such an operation would carry a high level of risk because the consent is needed of those who control the airspace and those on the ground that could threaten aircraft. There is nothing to suggest that the Assad regime would provide such consent, given that it continues to use the denial of aid as a weapon of war.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-03-21/133804/HumanitarianSyria
21 March 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish the UK’s (a) legal framework and (b) guidance on its use of lethal force.Steve McCabe, Labour, Birmingham, Selly OakI refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Clive Betts) in response to Question 128425 on 22 February 2018.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-03-21/133772Law
21 March 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the use of lethal force is confined to (a) armed conflicts in which the UK is openly involved and (b) exceptional circumstances in which there is an imminent threat to the UK.Steve McCabe, Labour, Birmingham, Selly OakThe use of offensive lethal force overseas is controlled by robust Rules of Engagement and is ordinarily confined to armed conflicts in which the UK is openly involved. However, and as the Government has stated previously, if the UK is subject to an armed attack or the imminent threat of an armed attack, it reserves the right to take action first and inform Parliament after the event. Any decision to use lethal force outside of an armed conflict would be conducted on a case by case basis but always cognisant of the international law principles of necessity and proportionality.https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-03-21/133771Law
5 March 2018T2. After the Secretary of State’s statement that terrorists cannot harm us and his ministry was forced to admit that its drone policy was misleading and erroneously ​drafted, will the Secretary of State tell the House whether it is the policy of the UK Government to kill people outside warzones?Tom Brake, Lib Dem, Carshalton and WallingtonOur Department and our armed forces always operate within the letter of UK and international law. *BUT* Do our armed forces step up to keep our country safe from terrorist threats? Yes they do, and they will continue to do so. I am very proud of the amazing work they do to keep this country safe. I hope the right hon. Gentleman is also proud.https://goo.gl/LiZH2P Tweet by Drone Wars pointing out omission of *BUT* https://twitter.com/Drone_Wars_UK/status/970957678808895490 Policy
1 March 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many US (a) military personnel, (b) contractors and (c) civilians are stationed at RAF Fylingdales Alex Sobel, Labour, Leeds North West The number of US military, US contractor and US civilian personnel at RAF Fylingdales as at 1 March 2018 can be found below;

US Military personnel

~

US Contractor

10

US Civilian personnel

0

In accordance with the Data Protection Act data has been rounded to the nearest 10 where ~ denotes a number less than 5.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-03-01/130642Bases
26 February 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterpart in Saudi Arabia on ensuring that Saudi military actions in Yemen avoid civilian casualties.Keith Vaz, Labour, Leicester EastWe regularly raise the importance of compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) with the Saudi-led Coalition at all levels. When allegations of IHL violations are made, we insist that they are investigated and that any lessons are acted upon. We have also provided training on IHL compliance to the Saudi-led coalition.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-02-26/129602/Civilian Casualties
19 February 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish his Department's (a) legal framework and (b) guidance on the use of lethal force.
Clive Betts, Labour, Sheffield South EastThe use of military force is governed by applicable UK and International Law. The UK Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict sets out UK practice and is available at the following internet address:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jsp-383-the-joint-service-manual-of-the-law-of-armed-conflict-2004-edition.

As the Government has stated previously there is no separate policy or legal guidance on the use of force outside of an armed conflict. Rather it has a policy to protect the UK and its citizens against both armed attacks and imminent threats of armed attack. In implementing this policy it may draw on a wide range of options including, in extremis, the use of lethal force. As such a decision to use lethal force outside of an armed conflict would be conducted on a case by case basis.
https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-02-19/128435Law
7 February 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what criteria is used by his Department to estimate the level of civilian casualties as a result of UK airstrikes.Hilary Benn, Labour, Leeds CentralIn line with International Humanitarian Law, pre-strike assessments are undertaken to ensure that we minimise the risk to civilians and civilian objects. Post-strike the UK uses a range of methods, which may include the use of full motion video, to judge the effectiveness of its airstrikes and to determine whether we have caused civilian casualties. The Ministry of Defence is committed to investigating any credible reports that UK airstrikes have been responsible for civilian casualties.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-01-29/125442/Civilian Casualties
7 February 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Government has a published legal framework and guidance on its use of lethal force using armed drones (a) in recognised conflict zones and (b) outside conflict zones.Catherine West, Labour, Hornsey and Wood GreenThe use of military force, regardless of whether it is delivered by manned or unmanned aircraft or any other military equipment, is governed by applicable UK and International Law. The UK Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict sets out UK practice and is available at the following internet address: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jsp-383-the-joint-service-manual-of-the-law-of-armed-conflict-2004-edition. As the Government has stated previously there is no separate policy or legal guidance on the use of force outside of an armed conflict. Rather it has a policy to protect the UK and its citizens against both armed attacks and imminent threats of armed attack. In implementing this policy it may draw on a wide range of options including, in extremis, the use of lethal force. As such a decision to use lethal force outside of an armed conflict would be conducted on a case by case basis.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-02-07/127305/Law
6 February 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the Government’s policy is on the use of drones overseas outside of conflict zones.Dr David Drew MP, Labour, StroudAs the Government has stated previously there is no policy or guidance on the use of force outside of an armed conflict. Rather it has a policy to protect the UK and its citizens against both armed attacks and imminent threats of armed attack. In implementing this policy it may draw on a wide range of options including, in extremis, the use of lethal force. As such a decision to use lethal force outside of an armed conflict would be conducted on a case by case basis but always in accordance with applicable UK and International Law.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-02-06/126975/Policy
29 January 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what criteria is used by his Department to estimate the level of civilian casualties as a result of UK airstrikes.Hilary Benn, Labour, Leeds CentralIn line with International Humanitarian Law, pre-strike assessments are undertaken to ensure that we minimise the risk to civilians and civilian objects. Post-strike the UK uses a range of methods, which may include the use of full motion video, to judge the effectiveness of its airstrikes and to determine whether we have caused civilian casualties. The Ministry of Defence is committed to investigating any credible reports that UK airstrikes have been responsible for civilian casualties.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-01-29/125442/Civilian Casualties
8 January 2018To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate his Department has made of the number of civilian casualties in Syria as a result of UK air strikes.David Linden, SNP, Glasgow East In carrying out airstrikes, expert analysts routinely examine data from every UK strike to assess its effect, and we do everything we can to minimise the risk of civilian casualties through rigorous targeting processes and the professionalism of the RAF crews. We co-operate fully with NGOs such as Airwars, who provide evidence they gather of civilian casualties. After detailed work on each case, we have been able to discount RAF involvement in any civilian casualties as a result of any of the strikes that have been brought to our attention.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-12-20/120695/Civilian Casualties
20 December 2017To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate his Department has made of the number of civilian casualties in Syria as a result of UK air strikes.
David Linden, SNP, Glasgow East In carrying out airstrikes, expert analysts routinely examine data from every UK strike to assess its effect, and we do everything we can to minimise the risk of civilian casualties through rigorous targeting processes and the professionalism of the RAF crews. We co-operate fully with NGOs such as Airwars, who provide evidence they gather of civilian casualties. After detailed work on each case, we have been able to discount RAF involvement in any civilian casualties as a result of any of the strikes that have been brought to our attention.Civilian CasualtiesSyria
30 November 2017To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of the United States regarding the legal criteria under which an individual is deemed to be a member of ISIS.Baroness Stern, Crossbench Everyone who returns from taking part in the conflict in Syria or Iraq must expect to be investigated by the police to determine if they have committed criminal offences, and to ensure that they do not pose a threat to our national security.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2017-11-16/HL3312/Targetting
29 November 2017To ask Her Majesty's Government by what criteria they assess an individual to have taken a direct role in hostilities in Iraq and Syria.Baroness Stern, Crossbench UK individuals suspected of taking part in the conflict in Syria or Iraq will be investigated to determine if they have taken part in terrorist related activity. This assessment is an operational matter, determined on a case by case basis by police. Where there is evidence that crimes have been committed, those responsible should expect to be prosecuted under the full range of existing counter terrorism legislation.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2017-11-16/HL3311/Targetting
28 November 2017To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are in place to determine whether British-born ISIS combatants have surrendered following the fall of Mosul and RaqqaClive Lewis, Labour, Norwich South Those who have committed criminal offences should expect to be prosecuted for their crimes under the full range of existing counter terrorism legislation. Any decision on whether to prosecute will be taken by the police and Crown Prosecution Service on a case by case basishttp://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-11-20/114631/Hors combatSyria
24 November 2017To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 16 October 2017 to Question 106342, which policy or policies govern UK sharing of intelligence with the US for use in US drone strikes outside of areas of armed conflict.Caroline Lucas
Green, Brighton, Pavilion
Prior to sharing intelligence with any nation, regardless of the operation, the UK conducts robust assessments to ensure that our contribution to that operation complies with UK and International Law.https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-11-24/115650/Intelligence Sharing
24 November 2017To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what role the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability of the Royal Air Force's Reaper Fleet has played in determining whether an individual is an ISIS combatant.Lucy Powell, Labour, Manchester CentralAn individual is identified as being a Daesh combatant after UK commanders, as part of the Coalition, have undertaken a rigorous surveillance and targeting process. This process is no different on the UK Reaper fleet than on any other UK airborne strike platform. The precise indicators and procedure cannot be shared publicly, in order to protect operational effectiveness.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-10-31/110648/ISR; TargettingSyria
16 November 2017To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what role the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability of the Royal Air Force's Reaper Fleet has played in determining whether an individual is an ISIS combatant.Lucy Powell, Labour, Manchester CentralAn individual is identified as being a Daesh combatant after UK commanders, as part of the Coalition, have undertaken a rigorous surveillance and targeting process. This process is no different on the UK Reaper fleet than on any other UK airborne strike platform. The precise indicators and procedure cannot be shared publicly, in order to protect operational effectiveness.
16 November 2017To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will place in the Library a copy of the report into the loss of Watchkeeper drones (a) WK042 and (b) WK043.Martin Docherty-Hughes SNP, West DunbartonshireThe Service Inquiries into Watchkeeper Unmanned Air Vehicles WK042 and WK043 are currently ongoing, and will be published through Gov.uk and placed in the Library of the House upon completion.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-11-16/113630/ISR
7 November 2017To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many people work at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill; and how many of those people are (a) US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, (b) US contractors, (c) US civilians, (d) NSA, (e) NRO, personnel, (f) US CIA, (g) British military, (h) RAF personnel, including the RAF Liaison Officer, (i) his Department's personnel, (j) GCHQ personnel, (k) British contractors and (l) British civilians.Alex Sobel, Labour, Leeds North WestThe numbers of personnel based at RAF Menwith Hill are given below, and are current as of 8 November 2017:

US Military

33

US Contractors

344

US Civilians

250

UK Military

7 (5 RN; 2 RAF)

UK Contractors

85

UK Civilians

486

The number of GCHQ employees is included in the overall figure for UK civilians as it is Government practice not to disclose the number of personnel working in intelligence at specific locations.

The US authorities do not release a detailed breakdown of US civilian personnel; therefore the overall total of US civilians has been provided.
https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-11-07/112002/MilitaryMenwith Hill
31 October 2017To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the reported use of civilians, including women and children as human shields by ISIS combatants in Syria; and whether this falls within acceptable collateral damage.Lucy Powell, Labour, Manchester CentralAs operations in Iraq and Syria have intensified we have seen increasing evidence of Daesh's callous disregard for human life, their unwillingness to allow civilians to leave their homes, and in some cases their deliberate attempts to use civilians to shield their fighters from coalition strikes, which is completely unacceptable.

All UK strikes are planned and executed in strict accordance with International Humanitarian Law and we take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from the effects of military action.
Civilian Casualties; Collateral Damage
31 October 2017To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the reported use of civilians, including women and children as human shields by ISIS combatants in Syria; and whether this falls within acceptable collateral damage.Lucy Powell, Labour, Manchester CentralWe continue to work closely with the US and our other partners in the Global Coalition to defeat Daesh and to ensure justice for those who have suffered at their hands. The Foreign Secretary discusses the Global Coalition's action against Daesh on a regular basis with US colleagues.http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-10-31/110698/Civilian CasualtiesSyria
31 October 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the ISC report on lethal drone strikes in Syria published in April 2017, what steps the Government is taking to better scrutinise and assess collateral damage arising from UK or j