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British MPs launch motion on ending arms sales to Sri Lanka

British parliamentarians have launched an Early Day Motion on the UK’s weapons sales to Sri Lanka, calling for the immediate end of all arms exports to Colombo.

The motion, brought forward by Liberal Democrat MP Edward Davey,  “notes that Sri Lanka remains of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's list of countries with serious human rights concerns and that an estimated 200,000 military, police and intelligence personnel remain in Sri Lanka's north-east region resulting in a repressive militarised environment”.

The motion goes on to state that it

“believes licensing arms exports to Sri Lanka given these circumstances could contravene international humanitarian law and exacerbate conflict, with weapons being used for internal repression and crime; and calls on the Government to end all arms exports to Sri Lanka immediately”.

See the full text of the motion here.

The move by MPs comes after it emerged that Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has destroyed almost 200 files related to its involvement in Sri Lanka from 1978 to 1980, a period of time when the UK’s security agencies were providing assistance and training to Sri Lanka.

Earlier this year, the British government said any arms deals with Sri Lanka “take into account international humanitarian and human rights law”.