Project Description


18 October 2014

Melbourne, Saturday -­ The Tamil Refugee Council welcomes the decision by Crown Resorts boss James Packer to view the Emmy-­‐nominated British documentary ‘No Fire Zone’ as he prepares to build a new casino in Sri Lanka.

‘No Fire Zone’ documents the mass slaughter of thousands of innocent Tamil civilians in the final months of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, deaths which occurred after civilians were herded into alleged safe areas by the Sri Lankan government.

The president Mahinda Rajapaksa stands accused of war crimes over the killings. In March this year, the UN, which estimates between 40,000 and 70,000 were
killed, launched a war crimes investigation into the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tigers.

Packer made the commitment to view ‘No Fire Zone’ at the Crown Resorts annual general meeting in Perth this week after he was questioned about the plan for a $450 million casino joint venture in Colombo. He was presented with a copy of it by local refugee activist, Victoria Martin-­Iverson.

Packer, who has hired Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke to help promote the Colombo venture, generally expressed sympathy for innocent civilians  in such circumstances as were the Tamils in 2009. “My heart bleeds for people caught in conflicts,” he said at the meeting, which was reported by local media,
including the West Australian.

“It‘s welcome news to hear that Packer is going to view No Fire Zone.” said Tamil Refugee Council spokesman Trevor Grant.

“When he sees it, he cannot fail but allow his heart to bleed for the 70,000 Tamils murdered by the Rajapaksa regime.”

“When the British Prime Minister David Cameron viewed No Fire Zone before heading to CHOGM in Colombo last November, he said it was ‘one of the most
chilling documentaries I’ve watched. It brings home the brutal end to the civil war and the immense suffering of thousands of innocent civilians. Many of the
images are truly shocking’,”.

“The sad thing about Sri Lanka is that the war has not stopped for Tamils,” said Grant. “The Rajapaksa regime continues to torture, rape, murder and disappear
Tamils. That’s why they flee the country in such numbers. By building a casino in Colombo Packer is helping launder the image of the man, and the government,
responsible for these atrocities.

“We urge him to re-­consider. Hopefully he can see beyond the profit motive and allow his heart to bleed for the Tamils.”

For further information contact Tamil Refugee Council 0400 597 351

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