Since 2009 evidence has emerged to say between 40,000 to 70,000 civilians were killed in a tiny patch of north-eastern Sri Lanka in the last five months of the island’s long civil war. In terms of speed and intensity this scale of killing is some of the worst this century, which is why we believe it needs international investigation.
In May 2009 the Sri Lankan military defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE, an armed group that had fought for decades for a separate Tamil homeland.
The Sri Lankan government had excluded international journalists and aid workers from the war zone to ensure there were no independent witnesses. While the world looked away, hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians with the LTTE were ushered into government-designated “no fire zones” and then mercilessly shelled with heavy artillery. Food queues, hospitals, and aid convoys were all attacked by the Sri Lankan military, which denied civilians essential food and medicines.
The Tigers exacerbated the suffering by forcibly recruiting fighters, including teenagers, and refusing to negotiate an orderly surrender. The slaughter of those final months was unprecedented in Sri Lanka even by the scale of a long and brutal civil war.
After the guns went silent, credible evidence emerged of widespread and systematic torture, rape, disappearances and summary execution committed by the security forces. These abuses continue to the present day, despite the prevailing perception in the international community that the conflict has ended and the Sri Lanka government’s outright denial of any wrongdoing whatsoever.
In 2011 a United Nations report pointed to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed primarily by the government of Sri Lanka but also the LTTE. The report said what happened in Sri Lanka “represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law”.
The film NO FIRE ZONE reinforces the findings of war crimes lawyers by depicting the realities of the 2009 war using eyewitness testimony, graphic video footage and photographs of summary execution and torture.
Together they make a compelling case that it’s time for an independent international investigation into what really happened in Sri Lanka. You can make a difference by adding your name in support below:
We call on our own heads of government to pledge their support for this investigation and encourage all parties to cooperate fully, including the Sri Lankan government.