Motion ref. S6M-00512
Arms Sales and the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen
Submitted by: Alex Rowley, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour.
Date lodged: Thursday, June 24, 2021
Supported by: Ariane Burgess, Maggie Chapman, Katy Clark, Natalie Don, Annabelle Ewing, Kenneth Gibson, Bill Kidd, Fulton MacGregor, Rona Mackay, Ruth Maguire, Gillian Martin, John Mason, Stuart McMillan, Pauline McNeill, Audrey Nicoll, Willie Rennie, Mark Ruskell, Lorna Slater, Colin Smyth, Paul Sweeney, Michelle Thomson, Mercedes Villalba, Beatrice Wishart
That the Parliament notes with concern what it sees as the continued humanitarian crisis in Yemen; notes the recommencing of arm sales to Saudi Arabia by the UK Government in July 2020, following a year-long halt after the UK court of appeal ruled that UK Ministers had “made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law”; deeply criticises the reported indiscriminate bombing in Yemen, which has contributed to the 8,759 civilian deaths over the course of the conflict; understands that the UK has sold billions of pounds worth of fighter jets, bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia, having licensed more than £6.8 billion of arms sales to that country since the bombing began; understands that reports have indicated that the Saudi-led coalition has targeted homes and farms, schools and hospitals, weddings and funerals; recognises that arms sales are prohibited by UK rules where there is a “clear risk” that a weapon “might” be used in a serious violation of international humanitarian law; welcomes the recent news that the US has approved a bill to limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi; supports the statement from President Biden in early February 2021 calling for the end of "all American support for offensive operations in Yemen, including relevant arms sales”; regrets, however that the US has announced it will resume arms sales to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is a party to the conflict in Yemen; understands that, according to UN investigators, despite announcing the withdrawal of most of its ground troops in mid-2019, the UAE has continued its air operations and support for ground forces in the conflict; believes that the victims of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the Yemeni people, and considers that no government should put profit ahead of the protection of life regardless of where that life is lived.