Satellite photos bring world's eye to Sudanese conflicts
Satellite photos bring world's eye to Sudanese conflictsCan netizen power and a satellite run by activists prevent a human tragedy in Sudan’s Blue Nile region?
Actor-turned-activist George Clooney wants governments to know he’s watching. Clooney’s new initiative, the Satellite Sentinel Project, uses eyewitness testimony with satellite intelligence, and aims to generate reports that could constitute evidence of war crimes for international tribunals.
The project works with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Enough Project and US-based commercial satellite imagery firm DigitalGlobe to combine technology with advocacy and analysis.
This July, Satellite Sentinel released a report alleging systematic killing of civilians by Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) and the presence of mass graves in the country’s South Kordofan region. Shortly after Satellite Sentinel’s launch, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir objected to the project, accusing Clooney and the organisers of having an “agenda” and not being genuinely concerned with humanitarian issues.
Khartoum has taken a more aggressive stance toward resistive border regions since South Sudan voted to become independent in January. On May 20, SAF troops captured Abyei and on June 5 began anti-rebel operations in South Kordofan. In both instances, military and political elements of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army-North (SLPA-N) – a former rebel group aligned with South Sudan’s current leadership – were targeted.
Recently, Bashir signaled his intention to take Kurmuk, a SPLA-N stronghold in the Blue Nile region. SAF troops, tanks and artillery have assembled and the UN estimates over 25,000 have fled into neighbouring Ethiopia ahead of an anticipated assault. Bashir has said he is no longer willing to submit to UN arbitration.
In today’s episode of The Stream, Jonathan Hutson of the Enough Project and Sudanese activist Nagla Konda will join the programme to discuss satellite activism in Sudan.
Can the Satellite Sentinel Project bring the world’s attention to conflict in Sudan? How can the international community do more? Tweet your comments using the hashtag #AJStream.
These are some of the photos featured in this episode of The Stream.