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Screenshot of video of Farooq Ahmad Dar being used as human shield
Screenshot of video of Farooq Ahmad Dar being used as human shield

One of the ugliest tactics in modern warfare has been the use of "human shields." From Serbia to Sri Lanka and Gaza, armed combatants have been accused of putting civilian lives at risk on the frontlines in order to protect themselves. If the enemy attacks innocent bystanders on site, it risks committing a grave human rights violation. But even if the 1949 Geneva Conventions rightly stipulates that the use of human shields itself constitutes a war crime, it is a practice that often remains in the shadows.

Last month, a horrifying video circulated on YouTube has brought the practice to light in an unprecedented way in Kashmir, another region long mired in conflict over disputed territory between India and Pakistan.

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Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Sveiki!*

Welcome to Thursday, where more Ukrainian soldiers surrender in Mariupol, Sri Lanka defaults on its debt,and George W. Bush offers an epic geopolitical gaffe. Meanwhile, Lili Bai in Chinese-language digital media The Initium looks at what’s driving the current “expat exodus” at play in Shanghai.

[*Latvian]

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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