Sri Lanka

House of Lords written question – answered on 17th March 2014.

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Photo of Lord Wills Lord Wills Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Warsi on 26 February (HL Deb, col 920), what assessment they have made of the authorship and sponsorship of the book Corrupted Journalism: Channel 4 and Sri Lanka in their analysis of human rights in Sri Lanka.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

“Corrupted Journalism: Channel 4 and Sri Lanka” was written as a collective work by ‘Engage Sri Lanka’ and published by them. According to their website, ‘Engage Sri Lanka’ was established “to make the case for the United Kingdom engaging more closely with Sri Lanka”. We are not aware of the source of their funding, and this is a matter for ‘Engage Sri Lanka’. The book argues that Channel 4 documentaries on Sri Lanka are inaccurate and prejudiced.

As the British Government has made clear, the footage from Channel 4 documentaries is disturbing and brings to international attention important information to support allegations of grave abuses. Independent experts engaged by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions have verified some Channel 4 footage, specifically relating to the summary executions of Tamils by Sri Lankan forces. We believe that credible allegations of violations and abuses of international humanitarian and human rights law, including those resulting from Channel 4 footage, merit proper investigation. As a result, we will be using our position on the UN Human Rights Council to actively press for an international investigation given the lack of a credible domestic accountability process to date.

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