Foreign Office refuses to count destroyed files on Sri Lanka
Posted on February 15th, 2019

Courtesy Morning Star

The government is claiming it will cost too much to calculate how many diplomatic files it has destroyed about Britain’s role in Sri Lanka’s civil war.

Foreign Office Minister Mark Field made the comment in response to a parliamentary question from Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi.

Mr Field said his department was unable to collate these estimates of file destruction within the timescale provided without incurring disproportionate cost.”

The Morning Star has previously revealed that the Foreign Office destroyed nearly 400 files on Sri Lanka dating from 1978 to 1985.

All that survives are a list of file titles, showing that many of the papers would have detailed arms sales by the Thatcher administration to Sri Lanka’s right-wing leader, who was fighting Tamil rebels.

Mr Dhesi tried to discover the total number of files destroyed from the 1970s and ’80s.

He told the Star: Considering the sensitive content of these files, the government should be open about the scale of the destruction process.

By not even providing an estimate of the files … the whole process lacks transparency, thereby leaving the government open to accusations of a cover-up.”

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