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Rebranding Ethnic Conflict: Sri Lanka 2009

Thursday May 10

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South Asia in the Media

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Thu May 10 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility


Frances Harrison
Former BBC TV correspondent, Colombo, Sri Lanka, recently Head of News for Amnesty International, and author of the soon to be released book, Still Counting the Dead (Portobello Books)

Naheed Mustafa
Award-winning freelance foreign affairs journalist and CBC show producer for Dispatches and The Current

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Aga Baranowska


2:00-4:00 Lecture & Discussion
4:00-6:00 Reception

The final phase of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 is probably one of the most costly conflicts in terms of human lives this century and yet few have even heard of it. Experts working for the UN Secretary General concluded that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed and up to 40,000 people were killed in just 5 months. The death toll could be far higher. Three years later we still don't know.

Journalist, writer and former head of news for Amnesty International Frances Harrison has been gathering information on the denouement of the war - a period in which the distinction between civilians and combatants was blurred and there were few independent witnesses. Her research and interviews with survivors of the war paint a picture of unimaginable suffering, accounts which should not be silenced if substantive peace is to be sustained in Sri Lanka. Drawing attention to what the victorious government calls a "Sri Lankan model" for wiping out terrorism, she will highlight her investigation of what happened in the name of crushing terrorism in Sri Lanka.

The former BBC Correspondent in Sri Lanka, Harrison has spent the last year and a half tracking down eyewitnesses to the 2009 war in Sri Lanka for a new book called "Still Counting the Dead" to be published later this year by Portobello Books in London. The book attempts to piece together accounts to convey what it was like in the war zone in those final months for those who were defeated.

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Asian Heritage Month

Co-sponsored by

South Asian Journalists' Association, Toronto Chapter
Asian Institute
Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
Journalism Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs