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Press

Prime Minister Cameron questioned in parliament on C4 Sri Lanka film

CorporatePortal

Prime Minister David Cameron today commented on Sri Lanka's Killing Fields telling MPs that the Sri Lanka government, "does need to be investigated" and, "lessons need to be learned."

Jon Snow's critically-acclaimed investigation into the final weeks of the quarter-century-long civil war between the government and the secessionist rebels, the Tamil Tigers, featured devastating new video evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity - some of the most horrific footage Channel 4 has ever broadcast.

Lee Scott MP raised the film at Prime Ministers Questions today at the House of Commons. He said: "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 last night, 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."

Speaking after the film aired, Foreign Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt said: "I was shocked by the horrific scenes I saw in the documentary that was broadcast on 14 June.

"The recent UN Panel of Experts' report, this documentary and previously authenticated Channel 4 footage, constitutes convincing evidence of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The whole of the international community will expect the Sri Lankans to give a serious and full response to this evidence.

"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."

Sri Lanka's Killing Fields was premiered at the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday 3rd June, attended by ambassadors and delegations from the UK, US, India, Indonesia, Mexico, France, Switzerland, Austria and Finland.

The film averaged 782,000 viewers last night which is up 64 per cent on the slot average for volume and 73 per cent for share (slot average 478k/5.1 per cent). It peaked at 0.9 million viewers. It is now available to watch internationally on Channel 4's online video player - 4oD.

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