Curtain up in Geneva – Amnesty screens Sri Lanka documentary at UN

The Sri Lankan ambassador to the UN is not very pleased with Amnesty. In fact Ravinatha Aryasinha has gone so far as to issue a public letter calling for Amnesty’s consultative status at UN be withdrawn. The reason is a screening we are co-hosting with Human Rights Watch today, in Geneva.

No Fire Zone: Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields is the third part in Channel 4’s acclaimed "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields" series. The series has made quite a stir, and has won two consecutive Amnesty Media awards, amongst other accolades. The deadline for entry to this year’s awards is today, by the way and this final instalment could well be a contender. It shows the gruesome final bloody months of the Sri Lankan armed conflict in 2009. The footage of executions, petrified civilians under fire and women who have been raped and killed, was recorded on phones by victims and also by soldiers in the Sri Lankan armed forces who made the videos as macabre trophies.

The audience for the screening are the delegates at the UN Human Rights Council session, and the screening is happening just ahead of a crucial UN resolution on the war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Sri Lankan conflict. Amnesty is calling for a strong resolution on Sri Lanka to be adopted.

The Sri Lankan government has so far completely failed to follow up in any credible way on domestic and international recommendations that alleged killings of thousands of civilians at the hands of the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE during the final months of the armed conflict be investigated. They went to such lengths to ensure the closing chapter of the conflict took place out of the glare of  international  scrutiny that  this sort of documentary evidence is of crucial importance in reminding the UN why it is so vital to challenge the impunity for war crimes in Sri Lanka. You can read about this harrowing episode, when the 12 year-old son of one of the Tamil leaders is ‘handed a snack and then taken out and shot’. A poigniant series of images which underscore the merciless nature of the killing spree underway as the conflict ended.

Despite the end to Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, the government has stepped up its crackdown on dissenting views in a bid to consolidate power. Those harassed, threatened or violently attacked include politicians, the judiciary, human rights defenders and journalists. This is a documentary which reaches back into history, but the problems in Sri Lanka are on-going and the need to address them is urgent.

For more information, including a brief introduction to the documentary by Director Callum Macrae, visit the website:

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I am ashamed that Amnesty International is uncritically sponsoring these chanel-4 movies.
The most recent, `no-fire zone', shows LTTE-leader's son staying in an LTTE bunker, happily eating a snack, with no fear, no crying or trauma.
<b>He is among his own people (i.e.,. LTTE), and NOT among among soldiers, but the film pretends that he is a captive of the army. </b>
Then we have pictures of the boy said to be dead, lying on the ground, with a black mark said to be a bullet hole, but no swelling, no blood etc!!!!!
The people surrounding him are wearing slippers, as the Tigers did, and so they are NOT soldiers.
These and other photos have been anaylzed in detail in a newspaper run by Asian Human Rights groups (Sri lanka Guardian, Feb. 21st: There are other analyses published. The verdict is that these pictures are phot-shop doctored material.

In any case, last May (2012), Amnesty International had Madeline Albright (who said that the death of millions of Iraqi babies was worth the objective on 60 miniutes) as the lead speaker at the Chicago meeting, and ex-CIA associate Ms. Suzanne Nossel was the executive director of AI at the time.

The US-AI is now part of the US establishment. The UK-AI is now part of the British Establishment,
In 2011, Amnesty International received £842,000 in 2011 from the UK Department for International Development as part of a four-year award commencing in 2008 and totaling £3,149,000.
And in 2009, Amnesty received €2.5 million (approximately 1% of its donations) from governments. The British government was the third largest donor (€800,000). Amnesty also received government funding in 2008 (€1million), 2007 (€1 million), and 2006 (€2 million).
Clearly then, Amnesty does take money from both governments and corporate-financier interests, one of the most notorious of which, Open Society, is headed by convicted financial criminal George Soros.

<b>So AI is with US, British interests in Geneva, together with the LTTE lobby that gave $50,000 to the Canadian AI, and also supported the Chanell-4 series of movies that AI is supporting. SHAME </b>

Thana 6 years ago

Let me add to my previous comment to give details of technical analyzes of previous channel-4 movies that has also been uncritically supported in various ways by Amnesty International, Human-Rights Watch etc.
They show that footage included in Channel-4 movies had already circulated in tamil in a Boston TV show in 2011, where the assassins were LTTE. Then, in 2012 Chanelle-4 re-broadcaste the same footage with the Tamil suppressed, and claiming it to be the work of Sinhalese Soldiers.

If we are to uphold human rights, we need to uphold the facts as well.

Thana 6 years ago

The Channel Four documentary adds to an ever growing body of evidence about human rights abuses and possible war crimes committed at the end of the Sri Lankan conflict. As we have said before, if the Sri Lankan government takes issue with any of the footage in such documentaries, then the only appropriate way to disprove the allegations is to examine all the evidence and hear testimony from witnesses in a full and independent investigation.

top hatStaff 6 years ago