*CrisisWatch* – Heavy fighting between Sri Lankan forces and the separatist LTTE rebels continued to produce an ever worsening humanitarian tragedy, as conditions deteriorated for tens of thousands of civilians trapped in a shrinking patch of land between warring parties. Government shelling into the self-declared “no-fire zone” surged on 21 April, triggering the chaotic exodus of 100,000 men, women and children into government-controlled areas with little access to urgently-needed food, water and medical relief. Available reports suggest 6,500 have died since late January; risks for 50,000 still caught in the war zone mount daily.
With both the government forces and Tamil Tigers abdicating their responsibility to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes, a decisive and united international response is needed to ensure the safety of the civilians. Urgent pressure is required to push parties towards a solution that avoids further bloodshed.
Divisions within Kenya’s fragile coalition government rose to new levels in April, as the collapse of crisis talks on 4 April set the stage for series of blistering verbal attacks between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga. Developments raised fears of a new political crisis just a year on from the brutal election violence that fractured the country between late 2007 and early 2008. The month also saw dozens killed in attacks related to the feared Mungiki sect.
The situation also deteriorated in Thailand, where demonstrations by supporters of ousted PM Thaksin quickly turned to violent clashes with police, leaving two dead and 120 injured. In Nepal, efforts by the Maoist authorities to sack the head of the army signalled a serious escalation in tensions between the government and Nepali army, while increasing mistrust between political parties over implementation of the country’s peace process resulted in two weeks of parliamentary paralysis. CrisisWatch also identifies North Korea and Moldova as deteriorated situations in April.
The month brought an important step forward in talks between Armenia and Turkey following an agreement brokered under Swiss mediation on a “roadmap” towards the normalisation of relations and opening of their joint border. The agreement came despite strains related to Armenia’s longstanding conflict with Turkey ally Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
CrisisWatch identifies a conflict resolution opportunity in Niger, after a joint peace declaration agreed between the government and main Tuareg rebel group raised prospects for an imminent peace deal to address the long-running conflict in the north.
**April 2009 TRENDS**
Fiji, Kenya, Moldova, Nepal, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nigeria, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan Strait, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe
**April 2009 OUTLOOK**
**Conflict Risk Alert**
**Conflict Resolution Opportunity**
**NOTE:** CrisisWatch indicators – up and down arrows, conflict risk alerts, and conflict resolution opportunities – are intended to reflect changes within countries or situations from month to month, not comparisons between countries. For example, no “conflict risk alert” is given for a country where violence has been occurring and is expected to continue in the coming month: such an indicator is given only where new or significantly escalated violence is feared.