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Archive for the ‘Study’ Category

International Crisis Group – New Report.
Colombo/Brussels, 23 February 2010: Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora groups should move away, once and for all, from the failed agenda of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and instead put their energies into the quest for a sustainable and just peace in a united Sri Lanka. (more…)

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JAFFNA, 24 February 2010 (IRIN) – Thousands of children have returned to school in northern Sri Lanka, where efforts are under way to restore the area’s battered education infrastructure. (more…)

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Los Angeles Times

By LAURA KING

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan – Western troops have killed far fewer Afghan civilians since the top U.S. general imposed strict new rules of engagement aimed at addressing one of the most contentious issues of the conflict, according to newly declassified U.S. military figures.

However, the data cover a relatively short period of eight weeks, and make it clear that civilians are still dying in large numbers, a pattern blamed in part on the Taliban’s campaign of violence surrounding last week’s national elections.

The toll on civilians has angered Afghanistan’s government and poisoned public opinion against the presence of American and allied troops. The Obama administration has made reducing such deaths a top priority for the U.S. military. (more…)

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The Guardian

By HAROON SIDDIQUE

The number of people internally displaced within their own countries has reached a historical high of more than 28 million, the UN’s refugee agency said today, as conflicts in Pakistan‘s Swat valley and Sri Lanka compound a growing global problem.

At the end of last year the total number of people forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution around the world stood at 42 million, including 16 million refugees and asylum seekers and 26 million internally displaced people uprooted within their own countries, according to UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, which was released this afternoon. (more…)

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By Associated Press

Iraq’s government has recorded 87,215 of its citizens killed since 2005 in violence ranging from catastrophic bombings to execution-style slayings, according to government statistics obtained by The Associated Press that break open one of the most closely guarded secrets of the war.

Combined with tallies based on hospital sources and media reports since the beginning of the war and an in-depth review of available evidence by The Associated Press, the figures show that more than 110,600 Iraqis have died in violence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

(more…)

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By BBC News
The Sri Lankan army has said there will be no more breaks in fighting against the Tamil Tigers in the north of the country, as it closes in on the rebels.

Spokesman Brig Shavendra Silva said the only way civilians could leave the area was if the army rescued them, as the rebels would not let any more out.
Rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was still in the conflict zone, he added.
The UN has been calling on both sides to pause hostilities so aid can be sent in and people evacuated.
It is sending an aid team to the area, where it says 50,000 are trapped.
The BBC’s Charles Haviland, who travelled through areas close to the frontline and saw refugees who had recently fled from the fighting, says many looked seriously ill and most very weak.
The government says 100,000 people have fled since Monday’s military push. An estimated 60,000 people had already fled in recent months.
A UN document being circulated around diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka estimates that nearly 6,500 civilians have died and 14,000 have been injured.
(The BBC’s Charles Haviland, in Puthukkudiyiruppu near the front line).
A jolting ride in armoured vehicles took us across the swathe of north-east Sri Lanka which until a couple of months ago was held by the rebels. Buildings are badly damaged and the land is devoid of people. They’ve all been taken to areas the government calls welfare villages. Then suddenly, in coconut groves, we saw a long line of people who’ve freshly fled from the conflict zone. Many looked seriously ill, and most very weak. Surrounded by soldiers, people told us briefly that they’d been hungry or thirsty, or were happy to be out, or that the Tamil Tigers had prevented them from leaving. We and they were then moved on.
Meanwhile senior Indian officials have met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo, following Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s call to end the killing of civilians.
No details of the meeting have been released, but Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and National Security Adviser M K Narayanan were expected to stress the severity of the humanitarian crisis.
Brig Silva said intelligence reports indicated that Velupillai Prabhakaran and other rebel leaders were still in the conflict zone and appeared to be preparing to make a last stand.

He has not been seen for 18 months, and there was speculation that he was killed or fled the island.

The army spokesman added that the Tamil Tigers were dressing in civilian clothing to blend in, and firing into the zone using heavy weaponry so people would think the army was firing at them.
But our correspondent says there is no way of verifying these reports.
On Thursday, the representative of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Colombo, Amin Awad, called on the Sri Lankan government to allow pauses in the fighting so the necessary work could be completed.
“We are calling on the government to restrain itself and have the moral upper ground by allowing the humanitarian aid in, and we’re asking the LTTE [Tamil Tigers] to open the gates of hell and allow these people out into safety,” he said.
Hours earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the immediate despatch of the humanitarian team.
Thousands of people are caught with the Tamil Tigers in a 12 sq km (5 sq m) area in the north of the country as the military closes in.
The UN’s humanitarian coordinator, Neil Buhne, said tens of thousands of people were living in camps in the northern town of Vavuniya.
“I saw infants with dysentery, malnourished children and women, untended wounds, and people dressed in the ragged clothing they’ve been wearing for months,” the Associated Press quoted him as saying.
Paul McMaster, a British surgeon with Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), told the BBC a “continuous stream” of patients had been arriving at the hospital in Vavuniya since the weekend.
He said the hospital was equipped with 400 beds but was treating nearly 2,000 patients, many of them with gunshot wounds and blast injuries.
“We are doing emergency surgery, but the hospital is completely overwhelmed,” he said, with patients lying on the floor, in corridors and outside under trees and temporary shelters.
‘Rescue operation’
On Thursday, Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa rejected a UN appeal to allow aid agencies in.

While the government has allowed aid agencies to help those fleeing the conflict, Sri Lanka’s UN ambassador says only the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Catholic charity, Caritas, have been let into the war zone itself.
On Wednesday the UN Security Council, which had been accused of inaction, called on the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms and urged the Sri Lankan government to allow international aid agencies into areas of need.

The UN and Western nations – including the US and the UK – have been pressing for an immediate halt to the fighting to allow time for civilians to leave the war zone safely.

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While air strikes in Afghanistan—recently lauded as the most accurate ever—are a major problem, they are not the entirety of the problem with regards to American strategy and tactics. Another glaring problem in how the U.S. conducts operations is the continued use of so-called “night raids.”

It is no idle concern: the last several rounds of night raids in Eastern Afghanistan—Logar, Khost, and other provinces—have prompted widespread protests by the local population and on rare occasions violence. The problem is so severe, Alex Strick van Linschoten has reported, “The early years of US raids and night abductions in Kandahar are still not forgotten.” He was talking about 2001—things, an entire era of the war, we have forgotten, still matter tremendously in terms of how we conduct ourselves.

(more…)

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