Tomorrow morning, Jon Snow’s film Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields will be screened to United Nations diplomats and the US media in New York City.
The Sri Lankan ambassador to the UN has expressed an interest in attending the screening, and has been offered the opportunity to speak after the film.
The critically-acclaimed investigation into the final weeks of the quarter-century-long civil war between the government and the secessionist rebels, the Tamil Tigers, featuring devastating new video evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity has already provoked comment from Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt.
Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields was previously premiered at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday 3rd June. The screening was attended by ambassadors and delegations from the UK, US, India, Indonesia, Mexico, France, Switzerland, Austria and Finland.
The screening in New York is being hosted by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – both organisations have called on the UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish an independent inquiry into the events described in the film.
At Prime Ministers Questions last week at the House of Commons Lee Scott MP said to David Cameron: “Last night on Channel 4 Television there was a documentary called The Killing Fields showing atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan Government to the Tamil People which resulted in above 40,000 people being killed. Will the Prime Minister join me in calling for justice for the Tamil People and the people who lost their lives?”
Prime Minister David Cameron responded: “I didn’t see the documentary but I understand it was an extremely powerful programme and it refers to some very worrying events that are alleged to have taken place towards the end of that campaign.
“And what the Government has said – along with other Governments – is that the Sri Lankan Government does need this to be investigated and the UN needs this to be investigated and we need to make sure we get to the bottom of what happened and that lessons are learned.”
In a statement issued the night the film aired, Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said he was “shocked by the horrific scenes” in Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, and “if the Sri Lankan government does not respond we will support the international community in revisiting all options available to press the Sri Lankan Government to fulfil its obligations.”
“Since the end of the conflict the UK has called for an independent, thorough and credible investigation of the allegations that war crimes were committed during the hostilities and the UK Government expects to see progress by the end of the year. I reiterated this message to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on 14 June.
“If the Sri Lankan government does not respond we will support the international community in revisiting all options available to press the Sri Lankan Government to fulfil its obligations.
“Unless this is done, Sri Lanka will not be able to move on, and the prospects for reconciliation between Sri Lanka’s communities will be curtailed. It is of the greatest importance that this does not happen.”
© Channel 4 Television