Still Counting the Dead

Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War

Frances Harrison

Published: 6 June 2013
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 272 pages
ISBN: 9781846274701


The tropical island of Sri Lanka is a paradise for tourists, but in 2009 it became a hell for its Tamil minority, as decades of civil war between the Tamil Tiger guerrillas and the government reached its bloody climax. Caught in the crossfire were hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren, doctors, farmers, fishermen, nuns and other civilians. And the government ensured through a strict media blackout that the world was unaware of their suffering. Now, a UN enquiry has called for war-crimes investigations. Those crimes are recounted here to the wider world for the first time in sobering, shattering detail.

About the author

Image of Frances Harrison

Frances Harrison was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, as well as the School of Oriental & African Studies, and Imperial College in London. For many years she worked as a foreign correspondent for the BBC posted in South Asia, South East Asia and Iran. From 2000-4 she was the resident BBC Correspondent in Sri Lanka. She has worked at Amnesty International as Head of News and while writing this book was a visiting research fellow at Oxford University. More about the author


‘[She] narrates the personal tragedies of common Tamils who survived the conflict of 2009’



‘A heart-breaking read... [This] reminds us of the need to remember this tortured corner of modern history’ Emanuel Stoakes

‘A sad but gripping reading’ Syed Badrul Ahsan

‘All the stories have the common thread of unimaginable horror running through them, with stark, vivid descriptions of the atrocities the survivors witnessed and suffered’

‘An extraordinary book, brilliantly crafted’

‘An extraordinary book. This dignified, just and unbearable account of the dark heart of Sri Lanka needs to be read by everyone who upholds human rights. As a Sri Lankan myself, knowing what I do about the war, I was very moved by Harrison's beautiful clear prose, her straightforward retelling of the complex situation there, and her refusal to compromise the evidence. Every member of the UN Security Council should be sent a copy of this book’ Roma Tearne, author

‘Each chapter recounts gripping 'tales' of the battle zone... A valuable source material to the literature on the four decades of ethnic conflict’


‘Gripping and deeply disturbing’ Ellen Otzen

‘Ground-breaking and utterly compelling’

‘Harrison demonstrates journalism at its best’ Helena Williams

‘Harrison reclaims the human catastrophe from the statistics’ Steve Crawshaw

‘Heartbreaking and horrifying.... one of the most powerful books I've ever read.’ Anna Perera, author of Guantanamo Boy & The Glass Collector

‘If and when the war crimes inquiry gets off the ground, Frances Harrison's brilliant exposition will provide a great deal of evidence for its hearings... A searing reading experience’ David Watts

‘Powerful’ James Crabtree

‘Shocking... Harrison's account, based on the tales of survivors, is no less bloody for being told in words and numbers rather than pictures’

‘Very important, and very timely... makes the full horror of the last months of the war almost unbearably real’

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