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Civilians at Risk in Sri Lanka

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Civilians at Risk in Sri Lanka

Posted by Rebecca Brocato on March 8, 2009

Although we don’t regularly cover Sri Lanka, or have a field analyst on the ground, we know the great number of civilians currently at risk as the government mounts what it hopes will be a decisive offensive against the rebel Tamil Tigers is of concern to our readers.

Human Rights Watch notes that that more than 2,000 civilians have been killed and more than 5,000 injured in fighting during the last 6 weeks. According to the United Nations, roughly 200,000 people have been forced onto a 14 square mile patch of coast, with access to aid, food, medicine, and clean water in “critically short supply.”

Here are a few useful links if you are interested in learning more.

  • The Council on Foreign Relations offers crucial Backgrounders on the conflict in Sri Lanka, as well as the history of the Tamil Tigers.
  • BBC News’ Quick Guide is a useful primer on the current crisis, and includes an informative timeline, as well as biographies of the conflict’s most important players.
  • For those with a bit more time, Rob Rotberg’s 1999 book, Creating Peace in Sri Lanka, narrates the history of the conflict, and offers useful policy recommendations that remain relevant.
  • This CSIS report from last February analyses the breakdown of the 2002 ceasefire with an eye towards U.S. policy in the region.
  • A recent report from British think tank Chatham House, offers a crucial insight into the need for a political solution to the crisis.
  • This slide show from Human Rights Watch offers a glimpse at life for civilians in Sri Lankan war zones.

Gitanjali Prasad contributed to this post.