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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Peace as a prerequisite of Health

Each November we remember those fallen in wars. The date set in memory of the Armistice that laid down arms on just the Western Front in Europe during World War II.   With recent costly military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, attention has rekindled back to celebrating the sacrifices of our military personnel.

What we often forget, is that over 70% of the victims of war are civilians – caught between the power struggles and philosophical debates over which they have no control and often no opinion.

2011 saw an increase to 37 armed conflicts, of which 6 had more than 1000 deaths and are classified as “wars”.  This represented an increase of six armed conflicts over 2010. Formal statistics are tracked by a Norwegian centre following wars http://www.prio.no/CSCW/ .  Wikipedia lists a dozen wars, five of which have stated since 2011 Wikipedia listing of global conflict 

The war in Afghanistan topping the list of 2011 fatalities.  Some 1.4 Million deaths have been directly attributed to the war since 2001.  An additional 4.2 Million deaths attributed to the impact of sanctions against the country in efforts to stop the civil strife. 

The Syrian uprising that has garnished the most media attention, has amassed some 50,000 deaths, approximately half of whom were civilians up to 2011.  An estimated 20,000 people have died so far in 2012 and likely will be the war with the greatest number of fatalities this year.   Some 1.5 Million people have been displaced, and another 30,000 have ‘disappeared’.  Consequences of war that are easily overlooked.

Closer to home, the US war on drugs has just over 1000 causalities a year.  The Mexican drug wars resulting in an estimated 19000 deaths in 2011 with some optimism this is reducing going through 2012. 
While we remember those that have fallen in service, let us also remember those that have been the innocent victims deprived of their choices to live.  

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