Sri Lanka: Armed Conflict

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 8th February 2019.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Labour, Slough

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for what reasons his Department destroyed files on Sri Lanka dating from the 1970s and 1980s.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State

​The FCO, as with all government departments, reviews all its files in line with the requirements of the Public Records Act before making a decision on permanent preservation. This applies to files from the 1970s and 1980s relating to Sri Lanka which the FCO reviewed under the Act.

Selection of such records for permanent preservation took place under the guidance and supervision of The National Archives.

The Public Records Act does not require departments to preserve files if they are of no long-term historical value. For instance, the FCO may destroy a file if it only contains administrative or ephemeral content or because it contains information which is already in the public domain.

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