How can the Conservative Government do anything other than overlook human rights abuses in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, when it seems to be committing such abuses in Yemen?
The UK played a crucial and sustained role [in the US counter-terrorism effort in Yemen, working] with the CIA in finding and fixing targets, assessing the effect of strikes, and training Yemeni intelligence agencies to locate and identify targets for the US drone program.
The US-led covert war in Yemen, now in its 15th year, has killed up to 1,651 people, including up to 261 civilians, according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
“The involvement of the British state is something that the government ought to make plain to parliament,” David Davis MP, chair of the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on drones, [said].
“If we know we’re handing intelligence over which will be used in a killing then we ought to be confident that it meets our own rules and guidelines. If there are deaths of civilians there’s a moral and legal problem.”
The British … wanted to be involved in American operations to learn about potential threats to the UK
A British official noted that, “once they are seconded, the MoD loses any control over what they get up to.” This allowed the MoD to remain in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, while British troops were nonetheless used to assist in the assassination of targets.
British MP Harriet Harman — chair of the UK’s Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights — emphasized the need to clarify the rules for intelligence sharing. “We must look at governance where we hand intelligence to others, such as the US, leading to a strike,” she told an audience at the Royal United Service Institute conference on drones in November 2015. “We are culpable in that process.”
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