The humanitarian situation in many parts of Yemen is extremely dire. Indeed, the UN has estimated that over 18 million people are in need of humanitarian or protection assistance and over 3 million people have been internally displaced.

I share the strong concerns that have been raised about reports of potential breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) in Yemen and these must be investigated. The Government has been pressed on this issue in Parliament on numerous occasions.

In my view, there is sufficient evidence to constitute a serious risk that UK-provided arms may be used in violations of IHL. I am therefore of the view that the Government should support an independent inquiry into alleged violations of IHL in Yemen and immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia until this has concluded. I believe any perception that the Government is failing in its responsibility to apply its own criteria on arms sales would seriously undermine Britain in the eyes of the world.

An end to the crisis in Yemen will only be brought about by peace talks and a negotiated settlement, and this must be the priority for everyone. I strongly hope the Government will continue to encourage all parties to work towards this to bring peace to the people of Yemen who have suffered so much throughout this conflict.

Published 11 January 2017

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