Silenced Voices - Tales of Sri Lankan Journalists in Exile
zondag 25 maart 2012 - 13:30
The world première of Silenced Voices will be preceded by an introduction by Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
Margaret Sekaggya is a Ugandan lawyer who has been a United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders since 2008. Since 1996, she has also presided over the Uganda Human Rights Commission, which is part of the UN Task Force on the Right to Development. Mrs Sekaggya has authored many publications and advisory reports on human rights and constitutional issues.
Following the film, a debate will take place between the activist portrayed in the film, Sonali Samarasinghe Wickrematunge, Sri Lankan activist Sunila Abeysekera and director Beate Arnestad, moderated by journalist Garrie van Pinxteren. The debate will address the human rights violations against the Tamil population in Sri Lanka, committed by the government and authorised by President Rajapaksa. Other topics will include the impact of civil war on the Tamil minority, the unsolved murders of dozens of journalists, and the issue of impunity in relation to trying and convicting perpetrators.
Sonali Samarasinghe Wickrematunge is the widow of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge. He was gunned down by eight men in broad daylight. Newly wed and freshly widowed, his wife Sonali Samarasinghe had to arrange her bridegroom’s funeral only a few days after the wedding. As a lawyer and journalist, his wife worked closely with him; the government forced her to leave the country not long after his death. Since that time, Samarasinghe has been fighting for justice from her base in New York.
Sunila Abeysekera is a Sri Lankan feminist and human rights defender. She is executive director of INFORM, a human rights documentation centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and won the UN Human Rights Prize in 1998. She also writes for various magazines and works as a film critic.
Beate Arnestad spent years working in various jobs for the NRK Norwegian broadcasting company. Her first documentary was Where the Waves Sing (2002). During her stay in Sri Lanka between 2003 and 2006, she started researching the concept of women in war. Her previous documentaries include My Daughter the Terrorist and Telling Truths in Arusha.
After graduating with a degree in Chinese, Garrie van Pinxteren worked as a translator and interpreter. She spent the past eight years living in China, where she worked as a correspondent for NRC Handelsblad, NOS, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and VRT. She is currently working for the NOS Journaal news bulletin.