Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law ProgramPapers and DocumentsA wide variety of papers and documents, peer-reviewed and otherwise, have been published over the years which provide important demonstations of and insights to the use of geospatial technologies. Some of the papers relate directly to the use of such technologies within human rights activities, and some represent potential future applications and enhancements.
Accounting for scale: Measuring geography in quantitative studies of civil war
The empirical evidence from studies linking geographic factors like terrain and natural resources to civil war is generally weak and not robust to varying samples or coding procedures. We argue that these investigations suffer from a major weakness: although most civil wars are geographically limited to small parts of the host countries, the analyses rely almost exclusively on country-level data. We demonstrate how Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can be used to generate precise measures of space-varying factors at the scale of the conflict. A comparison of several relevant variables measured both at the scale of the country and the conflict (more)...
A GIS - environmental justice analysis of particulate air pollution in Hamilton, Canada
The authors address two research questions: (1) Are populations with lower socioeconomic status, compared with people of higher socioeconomic status, more likely to be exposed to higher levels of particulate air pollution in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada? (2) How sensitive is the association between levels of particulate air pollution and socioeconomic status to specification of exposure estimates or statistical models? Total suspended particulate (TSP) data from the twenty-three monitoring stations in Hamilton (1985-94) were interpolated with a universal kriging procedure to develop an estimate of likely pollution values across the city based on annual geometric means and extreme events. Comparing the (more)...
Analyzing regional inequality in Post-Mao China in a GIS environment
Regional inequality in China has attracted considerable scholarly attention, but the use of geographic information system (GIS) techniques for rigorous analysis remains limited. This paper utilizes recent data and GIS and spatial statistical techniques to analyze changing patterns of regional inequality in China from 1978 to 2000. It also identifies the changing clusters of regional development in China. We illustrate that regional inequality in China is sensitive to development trajectories of the provinces, and that conventional measures of regional inequality mask geographical clustering. Patterns of change are explained by both contextual and regression analyses.
An Analysis of Community Demolitions in Zimbabwe Case Study Report
In response to the government of Zimbabwe's May 2005 campaign to demolish settlements it claimed to be illegal, Amnesty International asked AAAS to obtain and analyze satellite imagery of four communities where homes were thought to have been removed. Human rights groups suspect these demolitions were ordered in retaliation against communities that supported the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, in Zimbabwe's recent elections. After analyzing approximately 256 square kilometers, AAAS found that more than 5,000 structures had been removed from the communities of Porta Farm, Hatcliffe, Chitungwiza, and Killarney. Based on these conclusions, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human (more)...
An assessment and explanation of environmental inequity in Baltimore
In Baltimore, census tracts made up of White, working-class people are more likely to contain a Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) facility than primary Black census tracts. Differences in race characteristics decrease with larger units of analysis and with the use of half-mile buffers around TRI sites. At the census-tract level, race is the most significant population characteristic, followed by income and education. A long history of residential and occupational segregation may explain the proximity of toxic-release sites to working-class White neighborhoods.
A Population-Based Assessment of Human Rights Abuses Committed Against Ethnic Albanian Refugees from Kosovo
Objectives: This study assessed patterns of displacement and human rights abuses among Kosovar refugees in Macedonia and Albania. Methods: Between April 19 and May 3, 1999, 1180 ethnic Albanian refugees living in 31 refugee camps and collective centers in Macedonia and Albania were interviewed. Results: The majority (68%) of participants reported that their families were directly expelled from their homes by Serb forces. Overall, 50% of participants saw Serb police or soldiers burning the houses of others, 16% saw Serb police or soldiers burn their own home, and 14% witnessed Serb police or soldiers killing someone. Large (more)...
A spatial evaluation of sociodemographics surrounding National Priorities List sites in Florida using a distance-based approach
Over the last two decades, various spatial techniques have been demonstrated using geographical information systems (GIS) to adequately estimate and characterize inequities of minority populations living near environmentally hazardous facilities. However, these methods have produced mixed results. In this study, we use recently developed variations of the "distance based" approach to spatially evaluate and compare demographic and socioeconomic disparities surrounding the worst hazardous waste sites in Florida. We used data from the 2000 US Census Bureau and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to identify selected socio and economic variables within one (1) mile of 71 National Priorities List (NPL) (more)...
Asthma and Air Pollution in the Bronx: Methodological and Data Considerations in Using GIS for Environmental Justice and Health Research
This paper examines methods of environmental justice assessment with Geographic Information Systems, using research on the spatial correspondence between asthma and air pollution in the Bronx, New York City as a case study. Issues of spatial extent and resolution, the selection of environmental burdens to analyze, data and methodological limitations, and different approaches to delineating exposure are discussed in the context of the asthma study, which, through proximity analysis, found that people living near (within specified distance buffers) noxious land uses were up to 66 percent more likely to be hospitalized for asthma, and were 30 percent more likely to (more)...
Black migration at the margin of freedom
The history of Black migration is a story of continuity and change, a paradoxical story of hopes and despairs. Situating migration as a labour process within the general framework of labour-capital relations, this study examines the role of south-to-north migration in Black Americans' upward mobility and human capital accumulation for the period 1910-1970. The conceptual argument advanced is that labour market distortions, based on the historical legacy of colour as a marker of one's ability, affect the way capitalist forces use (underutilise) Black migrants, leading to the underdevelopment of their human capital. An analysis of IPUMS data samples showed: (1) (more)...
Burma - Conflict in Karen State Case Study Report
In collaboration with several Burmese human rights groups, AAAS reviewed satellite imagery to corroborate reports of attacks on villages in Karen State, Shan State, and Thailand that were conducted by the ruling military junta. Within the areas of imagery analyzed, the bulk of these sites (18) were removed villages or villages with removed structures, with other sites including military camps (4), possible forcibly relocated villages (2), and one refugee camp on the Thai border.
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