Latest Channel 4 News:
Row over Malaysian state's coins
'Four shot at abandoned mine shaft'
Rain fails to stop Moscow wildfires
Cancer blow for identical twins
Need for Afghan progress 'signs'

Grim scenes at Sri Lankan camps

By Nick Paton Walsh

Updated on 05 May 2009

Channel 4 News reports from a camp in the northern Sri Lankan city of Vavuniya, where Tamil refugees have been taken.

Sri Lanka Refugees (credit Reuters)

Channel 4 News reports from a camp in the northern Sri Lankan city of Vavuniya, where Tamil refugees have been taken.

Shocking claims have emerged of shortages of food and water, dead bodies left where they have fallen, women separated from their families, and even sexual abuse.

This programme obtained the first independently filmed pictures from the internment camps set up by the Sri Lankan government to house Tamils who have fled the country's civil war.

There are at least a hundred thousand Tamils from the country's north held in these camps, and while the government insists their stay there is temporary, aid workers say there is not as yet a concrente plan for their resettlement into the country's north.

As access to the camps is prohibited to journalists, unless they are under military escort, independent information about conditions inside is hard to come by.

But Channel Four News managed to send a cameraman into the camps who filmed, without army escort, who filmed these scenes.


The cameraman also interviewed a number of relatives of people held inside and, importantly, a number of aid workers.

They gave the first independent testimony of life inside. Stories of children trampled in the rush to get food; of three women's bodies found in a bathing area in the open.

The information emerges at a time when the camps are the subject of great controversy. The international community, through the UN and aid agencies, are helping to build and organise aid inside the growing camp network which may one day need to hold 230,000 people.

Critics say the UN money is in effect being used to help the Sri Lankan government build a huge internment camp system.

One aid worker we speak to says he has been told by government officials, the camp system may need to last for over 3 years.

Send this article by email

More on this story

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.


Watch the Latest Channel 4 News

Watch Channel 4 News when you want

Latest International politics news

More News blogs

View RSS feed

Living with the Taliban

Taliban on the Afghan frontline

A rare film of Taliban fighters on the Afghan frontline.

Pakistan appeal

image

Actor Art Malik on why he is fronting the DEC's flood appeal.

Tackling Taliban IEDs

image

Bomb disposal soldiers on lonely walk to defuse bombs.

Snowmail




Channel 4 © 2010. Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.