Foreign Office’s action is designed to cover up the involvement of the SAS and MI5 in the training of Sri Lankan security forces

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) side-stepped the query whether documents that had been destroyed as reported in a section of the British and other media included diplomatic cables originating from the British High Commission in Colombo during eelam war IV.

Asked whether the FCO consulted British HC in Colombo before the destruction/removal of files/documents and among them were diplomatic cables sent from British HC in Colombo during the eelam war IV (Aug 2006-May 2009), a FCO spokesperson said: “We do not accept any files have been wrongly destroyed. These files have been destroyed in compliance with the Public Records Act.

Sri Lanka brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009.

“The FCO’s recommendations for the preservation or destruction of records take place under the guidance and supervision of The National Archives. FCO decisions are guided by The National Archive’s records collection policy and existing FCO policy.”

 

According to online report posted on May 23, 2018, the files that had been destroyed dealt with the situation between 1978 to 1980. The report claimed that MI 15 and Special Air Services (SAS) had secretly advised Sri Lanka in counter-insurgency operations at that time.

Mr Vairamuttu Varadakumar, Executive Secretary of Kingston, London based Tamil Information Centre as having said that “The Tamil community is taking strenuous efforts to collect and preserve records on history and the human rights situation in post-independence Sri Lanka. We are horrified to learn that the UK’s Foreign Office has destroyed vital information on the British government’s training and arming of Sri Lankan security forces, which were involved in widespread human rights violations against the Tamils.”

Reacting to the FCO claim that the information contained in the files was insignificant, Varadakumar said: “It is improper for the UK government to deceive the public, who have the right to know. It appears that the Foreign Office’s action is designed to cover up the involvement of the SAS and MI5 in the training of Sri Lankan security forces that might be potentially embarrassing to her majesty’s government.”