Frontline Club initiates debate on ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’

In London on May 16

By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

A debate has been organized by the Frontline Club, the only media club in London, to discuss the impact of  ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ and the current situation in the country, on Wednesday, May 16 at 7 pm. 

The Frontline Club, referring to the forthcoming debate in their website, says "Nearly three years after the end of the 26-year civil war in Sri Lanka that reportedly left an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 dead, questions are still arising about alleged war crimes and how they will be addressed".

"The Killing Fields, first broadcast by Channel 4 in June last year and a follow up aired this March called Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished, have been significant in bringing evidence of executions, the shelling of civilians and other atrocities to light", it says.

"The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence rejects the evidence, however, arguing that it has been falsified by Channel 4 and that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE ) were responsible for a proportion of the civilian casualties. It also rejected calls from the UN-led investigation into alleged war crimes, opting for a locally-organized investigation, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

"What action will the Sri Lankan government take in light of new footage and will it be forced address the issue of high-command responsibility? After the failing of the international community to prevent such atrocities, what role can they play in the future?", it added.

While BBC Hardtalk host Stephen Sackur will Chair the debate, journalist, filmmaker and Director of both Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields and Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished Callum Macrae, spokesperson for Tamils Against Genocide [TAG] Jan Jananayagam, Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka researcher Yolanda Foster and adviser to the President on Reconciliation Professor Rajiva Wijesinha MP will are billed as speakers. 

Although the Frontline Club website named Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dr. Chris Nonis as a speaker, the Sunday Island reliably learns that he will be replaced by Arun Tambimuttu whose father and mother were gunned down by the LTTE. Arun’s father Sam Tambimuttu was a former member of parliament. 

Channel 4 news presenter John Snow was also expected to participate, but he has withdrawn from the debate, it is understood.

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