By Colombo Telegraph –
UK Government database shows that arms sales continue despite litany of rights abuses, the Independent newspaper reports today, under the headline “Revealed: UK sells arms to Sri Lanka’s brutal regime”.
The newspaper said; “Britain is selling millions of pounds worth of small arms and ammunition to Sri Lanka despite the country’s dire human rights record, The Independent can disclose today.”
According to the newspaper, figures taken from the Government’s own database show how the authorities in Colombo have gone on a buying spree of British small arms and weaponry worth at least £3m.
“The sales indicate how far President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government has been welcomed back into the international fold by Britain, despite the behaviour of his armed forces during the brutal last few months of the 2009 civil war”, the newspaper said.
The Independent reported ;More than £2m of the sales came under the “ML1” label – a category used by the Government to denote small arms and weapons. Export licences were granted on four separate occasions – once in July and three times in August. In total the Government approved the sale of 600 assault rifles, 650 rifles, 100 pistols and 50 combat shotguns. The sales also included £330,000-worth of ammunition and £655,000 in body armour. It is not clear whether the sales are a one-off or represent a significant increase in British weaponry heading to Sri Lanka. From the beginning of 2008 to June 2012, the value of export licences to Sri Lanka amounted to just £12m.
Read more in the Independent.
Read in the Guardian