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Monday, January 3, 2011

WATCHING SUDAN FROM SATELLITES -SHINING A SPOTLIGHT ON POTENTIAL CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

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Satellites positioned on Sudan for next 6 months - hoping to deter more genocide ~ Will the world leaders care?

Watch George Clooney on ABC January 2, 1011 ~ Our job is to stop it before it starts

Satellite Sentinel Project www.satsentinel.com


What is the Satellite Sentinel Project?

The Satellite Sentinel Project combines satellite imagery analysis and field

reports with Google's Map Maker technology to deter the resumption of war

between North and South Sudan. The project provides an early warning system to

deter mass atrocities by focusing world attention and generating rapid responses

on human rights and human security concerns.


The Satellite Sentinel Project marks the first sustained, public effort to

systematically monitor and report on potential hotspots and threats to security

along a border, in near real-time (within 24-36 hours), with the aim of heading

off humanitarian disaster and human rights crimes before they occur.


Project partners:

This project is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between Not On Our

Watch, Google, the Enough Project, the United Nations UNITAR Operational

Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative,

and Trellon, LLC.


Empowering the Sudanese people:

It is important to note that Satellite Sentinel is a project with many

contributors, including the Sudanese people. The organization Ushahidi, which

"builds tools for democratizing information, increasing transparency and

lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories," runs

SudanVoteMonitor, a Twitter-like mechanism to connect with people on the

ground--the Sudanese--and give them a way to tell the world what is happening.

These reports will be incorporated into the mapping, and will help guide us in

knowing which satellite images need to be retrieved to confirm their reports. By

doing so, the project aims not to impose on the people of Sudan, but rather

empower them in their struggle for peace.


How does it work?


1. Image capturing: Commercial satellites passing over the border of northern

and southern Sudan are able to capture possible threats to civilians, observe

the movement of displaced people, detect bombed and razed villages, or note

other evidence of pending mass violence.


2. Image analysis: UNOSAT leads the collection and analysis of the images and

collaborates with Google and Trellon to design the web platform for the public

to easily access the images and reports. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

provides system-wide research and leads the collection, human rights analysis,

and corroboration of on-the-ground reports that contextualizes the satellite

imagery.


3. Field reports and policy analysis: The Enough Project contributes field

reports, provides policy analysis


4. Advocacy: Together with Not On Our Watch, the Enough Project puts pressure on

policymakers by urging the public to act through actions provided by the Sudan

Now campaign.


Why was the Satellite Sentinel Project started?

We've learned that criminals thrive in the dark. This project is a way of

shining a light on Sudan, of making sure that those would-be perpetrators of war

cannot operate in the dark, as they have done so many times before. It's much

more difficult to start a war when you know the world is watching--and when you

know that you will be unable to deny your actions later.


Furthermore, world leaders will have no excuse for inaction once they are

presented with empirical evidence of crimes and other scenarios that might

otherwise be denied or ignored.

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