Jon Snow brings you insights, revelations and perspectives. Join Jon for a ringside seat to follow the news.

Channel 4 News Updates

Get the latest updates to this blog the moment they happen

Subscribe to RSS feed

January 26, 2016 36 Comments

The agony of Sri Lanka’s carapace of peace

Our return to Sri Lanka’s killing fields has managed to coincide with two major developments – the first is the President’s announcement that there will be no “international component” in any “investigation” of the civil war, or the alleged war crimes committed therein, which seem to be evidenced by the multiple videos sent to this programme in the wake of the war’s aftermath.

The second is that the Prime Minister chose a Hindu Festival in Jaffna last week to state bluntly that if people are missing – and there are still so many thousands of them – then they are dead.

Both statements have caused consternation in the Tamil community and re-opened the old mistrusts.

The change of Government and the arrival of a coalition with a five year remit ordained by the largely Sinhalese Parliament, has firstly seen off the Rajapaksas, even if the President during the end of the civil war does now himself sit as an MP. Secondly it has relaxed the atmosphere in the Tamil North noticeably – people in the streets, shops abundant with produce, and an air of ease.

But in addition the failure, seven years after the war’s end, to establish any formal or credible investigation into the multiple human rights abuses, and allegations of war crimes, first reported by Channel 4 News, during the war rankles hard with the Tamils. They are also angered by the continued failure to do anything at all about “the disappeared.” This continues to cause widespread grief and upset. We have seen too many tears this week.

The army is everywhere, having seized tens of thousands of acres of land. They have also infiltrated the shops, taking over many businesses. The country’s second most important fishing harbour Myliddy, is in the hands of the military. Worse still are the forty houses standing in the fishing village, after the war, that have now been deliberately bulldozed. The inhabitants languish in camps in Jaffna unable to fish. The camp is revolting. Each toilet is used by ten to fifteen families. In central Jaffna alone, at least some 1,700 people are still here in the very camps David Cameron visited two years ago. None of the demands he made then have been acted upon, including the ‘necessity’ for an international element in any war crimes investigation.

The scene at the killing fields, where some were used as human shields by the Tamil Tigers but an even greater number were massacred by the military, having been told it was a safe zone, is unutterably distressing. Nothing has been done to clear the shell craters that still contain rotting saris, shirts, pants and more. Worse, the beach is strewn with single shoes, particularly little children’s shoes.

Tonight on Channel 4 News we shall be telling a story of a degree of return to normality. But defeat of the Tigers has not been marked by action on any of this issues which the Chief Minister in the North warns if unresolved will lead to renewed violence.

Nothing so describes the arrogance of power in the South as the vast and brutal war memorials celebrating the defeat of the Tamil Tigers… boasting of the army’s heroism and patriotism in defeating what they call the “Terrorists”.

Unresolved human rights abuses are matched by continued military occupation – some 120,000 soldiers across the country, a force bigger than the entire British army, in a country with a population of some 20 million people.

Continue reading and comment

January 11, 2016 10 Comments

The incredible creative life force that was David Bowie

Bowie was emblematic of my generation. He was revolution, rebellion – even in a time when we all rebelled against the given order.

November 24, 2015 11 Comments

Bangladesh poised between agony and ecstasy: the choice depends on us!

If world leaders settle for modest restraints on global warming, I do not want to have to be the reporter sent to see the unfolding tragedy in Bangladesh.

November 15, 2015 4 Comments

My visit to the death scene at the Bataclan

The evidence of Friday night’s horror is still plain to see at the back door of the Bataclan concert hall. For local residents, the Paris terror attacks left psychological scars too.

November 14, 2015 41 Comments

Paris attacks: Middle East’s wars arrive in Europe

We have arrived at a crossroads. Few can have believed that the bloody killings of Charlie Hebdo’s staff would be the end of it.

October 29, 2015 7 Comments

Chilcot Inquiry: a very British farce

Who amongst us will ever read all two million words of Chilcot’s collected prose? And even if we do, will guilt, innocence, madness, patriotism, or anything else be clear enough for anyone to

September 21, 2015 7 Comments

Osborne in China: what will the UK do to get business there?

The exhibition by the great Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy is remarkable and dominated by the pressure and suffering the Chinese authorities have subjected him.

September 12, 2015 31 Comments

The Corbyn factor: shocking the political system through sheer normality

A sense of political intoxication: the enthusiasm, the detail, the debate, and the understanding of the issues was unlike anything I had experienced.

September 6, 2015 16 Comments

The day Britain took in 27,000 refugees

Over 40 years ago, Britain took a refugee crisis in its stride. We are confronted with an even greater need today.

August 28, 2015 22 Comments

New peers: time for a constitutional commission

Bloated and undemocratic, the current House of Lords is a nonsense. It’s time for a re-think.

More Channel 4 News blogs

More from Channel 4

Follow @jonsnowc4 on Twitter