Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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MPs show “Sri Lanka: The Killing Fields” in the New Zealand Parliament

Statement by 3 New Zealand Members of Parliament, August 16, 2011

Green MP Keith Locke said the audience left the showing silent and stunned by the horrific scenes in the film...

There was a feeling among those present that something needs to be done to bring those responsible to account.

On August 16 three New Zealand Members of Parliament joined forces to host a showing of BBC Channel 4’s film, “Sri Lanka: The Killing Fields” in Parliament’s Theatrette – which is normally used to host the Prime Minister’s press conferences. The co-sponsors of the film showing were Green Party MP Keith Locke, Labour Party MP Maryan Street and National Party MP Jackie Blue.

MPs and staff from four parties attended the showing. They included Mana Party leader Hone Harawira and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.

Green MP Keith Locke said the audience left the showing silent and stunned by the horrific scenes in the film. Cell-phone footage showed innocent Tamil people being slaughtered following repeated shelling by the Sri Lankan army, plus evidence of rape and summary executions. The film also criticised the Tamil Tigers for stopping some people from leaving the areas being bombed.

There was a feeling among those present that something needs to be done to bring those responsible to account.

Not wishing to take any responsibility, the Sri Lankan High Commission, in tandem with some supporters in the Sri Lankan community, did everything they could to stop the film being shown in the New Zealand Parliament. But they were not successful.

Hopefully the film showing will give impetus to calls for an independent international inquiry into the war crimes that were committed in Sri Lanka in 2009, resulting in an estimated 40,000 people being killed.