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Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees, April 2010

John O | 04.05.2010 12:11 | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | World

Five actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in April 2010, according to the International Crisis Group's monthly bulletin CrisisWatch 81, 04/05/10.

Deteriorated Situations
DR Congo, India (non-Kashmir), Kyrgyzstan, North Korea, Thailand

Download the full report: CrisisWatch N°81.pdf

DR Congo: Rebel activity and clashes with government soldiers destablised several provinces across the country's east and north west. Enyele rebels 4-5 Apr occupied Equateur provincial capital Mbandaka; 21 killed in clashes with FARDC and MONUC (3 UN personnel killed); MONUC and FARDC continued joint action against rebels despite MONUC-govt tensions. In Ituri district, Orientale province, FPJC and LRA 3 Apr attacked Komanda and Sambia respectively; Ituri civil society 12 Apr called for longer MONUC presence. 8 ICRC employees abducted 13 Apr by Mai Mai in S Kivu, released 16 Apr. UNSG 13 Apr recommended 2-phase MONUC drawdown: 2,000 troops to withdraw 30 June from west; eastern troops to withdraw after UN/govt periodic review; UN USG for humanitarian affairs 30 Apr warned against rushed MONUC withdrawal.

India (non-Kashmir): Maoists 6 Apr killed 76 paramilitary troops in Danteweda district, Chhattisgarh ambush; worst single attack since Maoist insurgency began, raising concerns about effectiveness of govt's large scale anti-Maoist "Operation Green Hunt" launched Nov 2009. Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram 7 Apr rejected opposition calls for deploying army against rebels, but did not rule out airstrikes. Maoists 4 Apr killed 10 police in Orissa landmine attack.

Kyrgyzstan: Turmoil shook Kyrgyzstan when President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in a violent rebellion. Unrest grew amid weeks of protests against painful utility price increases and popular discontent with the corruption that characterised Bakiyev's rule. Things came to a head on 7 April when soldiers opened fire on protesters, leaving over 85 dead. An interim government has promised fresh elections and a referendum on a new constitution. But though the situation appeared to stabilise towards the end of the month, events have highlighted the fragility of authoritarian regimes in a region where state theft and repression are common.

North Korea: April also saw heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula after the sinking of a South Korean ship in late March. 46 people were killed when the ship was hit by what investigators now say was most likely an external explosion. North Korea has denied involvement and South Korea has so far avoided directly blaming its neighbour. But it has warned that talks on the North's nuclear program will be put in jeopardy if it is found to be responsible.

Thailand. Soldiers and protesters clashed in Bangkok in the worst violence to hit the Thai capital in almost two decades. At least 26 people, mostly Red Shirt protesters, have so far been killed in the fighting and the city remains tense. The Red Shirts are demanding the immediate dissolution of parliament and swift new elections but Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has refused. CrisisWatch warns that the situation could deteriorate further into an undeclared civil war if tensions are not eased soon.

Unchanged Situations
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Armenia/Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya (Russia), Colombia, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Serbia, Somalia, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Improved Situations - None

May 2010 Outlook

Conflict Risk Alerts / Nepal, Sudan, Thailand
Sudan after flawed elections which returned President Omar al-Bashir to power. With opposition parties contesting the results, and signs of increased violence in both the South and Darfur, there is now a heightened risk that the situation could worsen ahead of next year's planned referendum on the South's independence.

Nepal could lead to new confrontation between the Maoists and the government. The Maoists on 1 May gathered over 150,000 supporters to stage the largest anti-government demonstration since leaving a unity government last year, and have called a nation-wide general strike from tomorrow. However an impending deadline of 28 May for the drafting of a new constitution could encourage the parties to reach a last-minute power-sharing deal.

Thailand the political system has broken down and seems incapable of pulling the country back from the brink of widespread conflict. The stand-off in the streets of Bangkok between the government and Red Shirt protesters is worsening and could deteriorate into an undeclared civil war. The country's polarization demands immediate action in the form of assistance from neutral figures from outside. It is time for Thailand to consider help from international friends to avoid a slide into wider violence. Even the most advanced democracies have accepted this.

Conflict Resolution Opportunity / Nepal

International Crisis Group

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Source for this Message:
International Crisis Group

John O
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