Sri Lanka: Armed Conflict

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 14th 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, what estimate he has made of the number of files held by his Department in relation to Sri Lanka dating from the 1970s and 1980s that (a) have been and (b) are planned to be destroyed.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State

​The FCO is unable to collate these estimates of file destruction within the timescale provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

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 all files from the 1970s and 1980s relating to Sri Lanka which the FCO has already 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 only contains information which is already in the public domain.

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