Parliamentarians oppose British millions for Sri Lanka ‘military reform’

A group of opposition Labour party parliamentarians have urged UK government to reconsider plans to provide Sri Lanka with £6.6 million aimed at reforming the military.

In a letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Minister of State,  Hugo Swire on 10 December 2015, the parliamentarians have requested to be ‘explicit about what reforms’ the UK government ‘expects in return’.

Following a bilateral meeting with Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena at the Commonwealth summit meeting in Malta British Prime Minister announced that UK will provide “£6.6 million to Sri Lanka, spread over 3 years, to support reconciliation, military reform and to help people who were forced from their towns and villages during the civil war to return home.”

Rajapaksa allies

In their letter, the opposition MPs call to urgently  reconsider the funding to Sri  Lanka

The UK financial assistance has been also opposed by senior Sri Lanka politicians aligned with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris told journalists in Colombo that accepting British funds for military reforms in Sri Lanka was a serious threat to the country’s national security.

However, during Rajapaksa's tenure as president, the British Government came under severe criticism several times from international rights groups for providing military assistance to Sri Lanka'.