Bob Fitch photography archive -- Nonviolent Peaceforce in Sri Lanka, 2005
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Please note: Some images in this gallery depict graphic violence. The international humanitarian NGO Nonviolent Peaceforce is an "unarmed, paid civilian protection force which fosters dialogue among parties in conflict and provides a protective presence for threatened civilians" (http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org). In October 2005, Bob Fitch traveled to Sri Lanka to document the work of Nonviolent Peaceforce teams stationed there. The country was in the midst of civil war as the Tamil minority's fight for autonomy in the north and eastern provinces became a brutal conflict largely between the militant LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and Sinhalese government forces. Both sides were responsible for multiple human rights abuses and the number of civilian casualties was significant, with over 80,000 people officially listed as killed and over a quarter million displaced. The war was controversially ended by a Sinhalese military victory in 2009. The images in this gallery are a slide show-style introduction to the multifaceted culture of Sri Lanka, the impact of thirty years of civil war, and the tenacious work of defusing violence. Nonviolent Peaceforce has been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
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