Arms trade aggravated the war in Sri Lanka

July 14 2011, 7:22 AM  by Oistein Thorsen

A new report from the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society and the Swedish Committee for Sri Lanka exposes the effects of the international arms trade on the war in Sri Lanka. The report Arms Trade with Sri Lanka – global business, local costs reveals what countries sold weapons to Sri Lanka. 

We can see that even relatively small amounts of arms had disastorous effects. The arms sales to both the government and the LTTE enabled both sides to wage war with terrible violations of human rights as a result, says Christopher Sjöholm, Secretary General of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society.

The war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was one of the world’s most violent and long-lasting armed conflicts. An estimated 84 000 people lost their lives, while hundreds of thousands were displaced. Severe human rights abuses accompanied the armed conflict, which started in 1983 and ended with a government military victory over the LTTE in 2009.

The report reveals that several EU member states, including Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Spain and Slovakia, delivered war materials to Sri Lanka in spite of the strict criteria supposed to regulate arms exports.

– The review underlines the need for a global treaty to regulate the arms trade, an Arms Trade Treaty, which is currently being negotiated within the UN. Such a treaty would lessen human suffering in armed conflicts like the one in Sri Lanka, says Christopher Sjöholm.

The report Arms Trade with Sri Lanka – global business, local costs is written by Camilla Orjuela and Jonas Lindberg (Gothenburg University), Siemon Wezeman (SIPRI) and Linda Åkerström (formerly of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society).

For more information
Christoffer Sjöholm, Secretary General of Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, phone: + 46 (0)70 284 34 32.