Sitting Volleyball Club Doboj

Bosnia & Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, War

Almost two decades after the war in Bosnia & Herzegovina ended the country remains threatened by more than 120,000 landmines, buried in the ground along former frontlines.

Living next to mine fields in rural areas has been accepted as a fact of life. Since Bosnia’s three-year war ended in 1995 landmines have killed more than 600 people and injured about 1,700 individuals while the total number of victims including those killed or injured during the war is almost 10,000.

Due to the many handicapped men in Doboj a sitting volleyball club has been founded soon after the war. Besides war veterans the club also has members who suffered injuries from mine accidents after the war.

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Syrian Bedouins

Uncategorized, War

While traveling through Turkey’s Hatay Province to document the situation on the Turkish-Syrian border, I met a Syrian Bedouin family living as refugees in makeshift tents next to a small dusty road.

michaelbiach_syrianbedouines-3908Syrian Bedouin family living near the Syrian border in Turkish Hatay province.

michaelbiach_syrianbedouines-3936Syrian Bedouin.

michaelbiach_syrianbedouines-3920.jpgSyrian Bedouin woman with her baby inside a makeshift tent.

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Northern Sri Lanka: Road to Recovery

Sri Lanka, War

Between 1983 and 2009 a never-ending military conflict between the Sinhalese government forces and the paramilitaries of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), who fought for independence of the majority of Tamil inhabited areas, raged mainly in the north of Sri Lanka. The United Nations estimates that nearly 40,000 Tamil civilians lost their lives in the final phase of the war, approximately half of the civil war’s total death toll. War crimes may have been carried out by both, the LTTE and the Governmental Army. Even after the war there was so sign of peace. The Sinhalese Government under rule of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent thousands of soldiers to ensure the fragile peace in the troubled north. Human Rights Watch repeatedly accused police and army of politically motivated torture, ill-treatment and sexual violence against Tamil civilians. In January 2015 the autocratic ruling president Rajapaksa has been deselected in his planned re-election.

In the Northern province, especially around the area of Mullaitivu, the scars of war are most evident. Destroyed houses line next to mined land. The contamination from the final phase of the war (2008-2009) now poses the most immediate and significant threat to returning families as most of the mines in Kilinochchi were laid by the LTTE after civilians were displaced, returning families are often not aware of where minefields have been laid.

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7479The ‘victory monument’ near Mullaitiviu portraying a Sri Lankan Army officer holding the country’s flag was raised to mark the battle at Mullaitivu beach in Nandikadal lagoon where the Tamil rebels (LTTE) and their leader were crushed by the Sri Lankan Army.

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7521Singhalese army soldiers at a wartime memorial near Elephant Pass.

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7668A Tamil man with the significant tikka, a Hindu symbol, on his face is sitting in front of his shop in Jaffna.

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7451A Singhalese army soldier seen through the window of a passing car.  

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7607Tamil woman at a small fish market in Jaffna.

srilanka_roadtorecovery_MichaelBiach-7469.jpgThe contamination from the final phase of the war (2008-2009) now poses the most immediate and significant threat to returning families…

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7502…as most of the mines in Kilinochchi were laid by the LTTE after civilians were displaced, returning families are often not aware of where minefields have been laid.

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7509In the Northern province, especially around the area of Mullaitivu, the scars of war are most evident. Destroyed houses line next to mined land.

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7514A torn election poster of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. 

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7595A Christian man selling vegetables in a market area in Jaffna.  

srilanka_roadtorecovery_michaelbiach-7461A Sri Lankan Army bus on the  Waddukwakal Bridge. The scene was the setting of an intense battle between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE in the final days of the war in 2009.  

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Victim of War

Syria, Turkey, War

2016_TurkeySyriaBorder_MichaelBiach-3845.jpgZijad, an 8 year old boy from Syria’s Idlib region and another victim of war, recently fled with his family by crossing illegally the border into Turkish Hatay province. In this image he is seen being examined by an Austrian plastic surgeon inside the Emel hospital at the Syrian border prior to an operation necessary to engraft skin from other parts of his body.