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Britain sells over £3m of weapons to Sri Lanka in 2012

The British government sold millions of pounds worth of arms and ammunition to Sri Lanka in just a few months in 2012, revealed the Independent.

According to British government’s own Export Controls Organisation, in the three months between July and September last year  £3.741m of export licenses were approved from the UK to Sri Lanka. Just over £3 million were for military items, including 600 assault rifles, 650 rifles, 100 pistols and 50 combat shotguns, £330,000-worth of ammunition and £655,000 in body armour.

Kaye Stearman, from the Campaign Against Arms Trade, said,

“Given Sri Lanka’s shameful military record and its continuing abuse of human rights, it seems extraordinary that the Government has approved these export licences for small arms and ammunition.

In 2011-12, not a single licence application for these items was refused, even though the Foreign Office lists Sri Lanka as a ‘ country of concern’ for its human rights record."

See the report from the Independent here.

Writing in Independent Voice, journalist Jerome Taylor stated,

"This is why it is not surprising to see that we have granted licences to export weapons – including small arms and ammunition – to Sri Lanka. But it is depressing.

After all, the Sri Lankan army and the Rajapaksa government stand accused of overseeing some of the most horrific war crimes of the 21st century and have repeatedly resisted pressure to allow access to investigators.

Tens of thousands of civilians died in the closing stages of the Sri Lankan civil war, with widespread reports of rape, extrajudicial killing and deliberate targeting of civilians.

At the time, Britain was one of those shouting loudest. Three years on we are selling weaponry to the same regime."

Read his full piece here.