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Eyes on Darfur: Activists Watch the Region Via Satellite

Amnesty International, Darfur

Action is being taken from a human rights group to try to help curtail the violence in Darfur, reports the Associated Press.

Amesty International has a new website, www.eyesondarfur.org, in which they post images caught using high resolution satellite cameras to watch over villages in Darfur in the south of Sudan in order to bring awareness to the violence happening there. The images caught are being posted online to hopefully help enlist help for the terrorized citizens of the region.

A convention was held at the University of California at Berkeley on Wednesday, June 6, 2007 and the website made its debut in conjunction with that conference, according to the Associated Press.

Director of the Crisis Prevention and Response Center for Amnesty International USA, Ariela Blatter, said, “We’re hoping that by shining a light that we will deter the abuse from ever happening.”

Such satellite technology has been used in Darfur before and in other regions, but the new project will feature better, more clearer images that are up to date and allow for experts to perform better tracking of developments, according to Blatter.

Amnesty International has rented the commercial satellites being used to capture the pictures and though they cannot offer live pictures, some might be posted in as little as a day. This expedited availability of the photos will allow analysts to know what village has been attacked and the severity of the attack. There are also archived photos of previous attacks and the destruction of villages in the region.

Lars Bromley of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an international nonprofit group that publishes the journal Science and provided technical assistance for the project, says that the pictures are “very, very good… We can see cows. We can see vehicles. We can certainly see houses and fences and other structures.” Bromley added that sending a ground mission would be nearly impossible; however, “…the satellite image provides you another way to peek over the walls.”

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Since the conflict in Darfur began and violence began to heat up in 2003, over 200,000 people have been killed, and two and a half million forced to leave their homes. The ethnic African rebels are at conflict with the Arabic government sponsored militia.

The funding for the project is being provided by the Save Darfur Coalition of humanitarian groups. It is titled “Eyes on Darfur.” Activists are hopeful that in providing the pictures, there will be more pressure for changes to be made in Darfur in Sudan.


The Associated Press, Satellites to Watch for Darfur Violence, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070606/ap_on_re_us/eyes_on_darfur;_ylt=AqoJbT.LuB7yPZsLDLCvK4nMWM0F