Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
Technologies and Human Rights
Visualization LayersSince early 2006, SHRP has been working with partner organizations to collect high-resolution satellite imagery and develop other data to document or understand human rights violations. A selection of this imagery (QuickBird and Ikonos) and other data is provided below as Google Earth layers, one of a number of emerging geospatial visualization tools. These layers were produced using the regionator code made available by Google. In addition, Global Mapper software complemented image processing done with ERDAS Imagine and ENVI. Lastly, ArcView GIS software was used throughout the process.
Please note that all the layers below require Google
AfghanistanIn May 2009, AAAS reviewed satellite imagery of the Sheberghan area of northern Afghanistan, where possible mass graves were suspected of being created in 2001. Imagery from 2006-2007 reveals two large pits, possibly comprising the graves, being excavated over a series of months in this area. An August 2006 image shows two possible vehicles present at the site of one pit. Based on these findings and the investigation of Physicians for Human Rights, which first approached AAAS with this project, the Obama administration has ordered a US government review of the incident at Dasht-e-Leili.
Amnesty International and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, AAAS documented past attacks by the government-backed Janjaweed against civilians in Chad and Darfur, Sudan, in 2005 and 2006, and is building methods for tracking current attacks. Documenting past attacks has thus far relied on information from Amnesty International and media sources to acquire archived and new satellite imagery of attack areas. Tracking new attacks is done by monitoring media reports from the region and plotting those reports, as possible, according to town and village names..
- A developing media monitoring layer currently provides a sampling of information on attacks from September 1, 2006 thru December 15, 2006, and is designed to use the Google Earth time slider.
- Bir Kedouas, Chad layer
- Tigla, South Darfur layer
- Madoua, Chad layer
- All the above Chad/Darfur Google Earth Layers.
Democratic Republic of CongoFollowing attacks by the FDLR in May 2009, AAAS was approached by Human Rights Watch to conduct a damage assessment of Busurungi and surrounding areas. Analysis of pre- and post-attack satellite images located 1,494 destroyed structures and found evidence of continuing violence.
GeorgiaAAAS conducted a damage assessment of 24 village areas in the region of Tskhinvali, Georgia, to corroborate reports by Amnesty International of violence against civilians and property destruction during the Georgia-Russia conflict of August 2008. Imagery analysis demonstrates initial concentrated damage to the city of Tskhinvali and small amounts of damage to outlying areas that had occurred by August 10. By August 19, a much broader range of destruction occurred in the village areas surrounding Tskhinvali, as demonstrated by the GE layers below.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to document the effects on civilian populations in Lebanon caught in the crossfire of the July 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict. AAAS obtained and analyzed high-resolution imagery of Lebanon from DigitalGlobe and GeoEye. A separate analysis of Israel was not possible since the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 prohibits private companies from selling high-resolution satellite imagery of locations in Israel at better than 2.5 meter resolution.
Amnesty International and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to precisley locate image sets of destroyed settlements.
- Chitungwiza layer
- Hatcliffe layer
- Killarney layer
- Porta Farms layer
- All the above Zimbabwe Google Earth Layers.
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