10/04/2013, 00.00
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Sri Lanka prohibits Nepal from projecting a documentary about the civil war

by Melani Manel Perera
"No Fire Zone: In The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka", by the British director Callum Macrae, was to be screened at a film festival, but the Sri Lankan government has forbidden it. Organizers of the exhibition: "An act contrary to freedom of expression". The film shows the massacres committed by the army and rebels in the final stages of the conflict.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Sri Lanka has sought and obtained from Nepal to not project the Film SouthAsia 2013 (3-6 October, Kathmandu) a documentary denouncing crimes against the population that occurred in the last stages of the civil war. In the announcement, the organisers of the film festival explained that "the Sri Lankan Government has pressured Nepalese authorities to stop the spread of the three Sri Lankan documentaries selected for the festival. It is an act that goes against freedom of expression".

The screening of The No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka (see trailer) was scheduled for today. The festival organizers have revealed that tomorrow it will be presented anyway - at a private venue- at Yala Maya Kendra in Kathmandu.

According to the Englishman Callum Macrae, director of the documentary, No Fire Zone is "a devastating indictment of the Sri Lankan Government in the massacres at the end of the war". The film is the result of three years of investigation and presents original photography and video documents and testimonies of the survivors.

"With harrowing details", explains the director, "the documentary describes how in January 2009 the government encouraged thousands of Tamil civilians to gather in the so-called no-fire zones, and then subjected them to deliberate, sustained shelling. Nobody knows how many people are dead, but a U.N. report suggests more than 40,000". To demonstrate the objectivity of his work, Magrae explains that "the film also examines the role of Tamil Tigers in the tragedy, revealing how the insurgents have compounded the agony of [Tamil] civilians by preventing them from abandoning the no-fire zones and in some cases firing at those who tried to escape." 


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