A 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.
High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Conflict in Chad and Sudan
AAAS, in conjunction with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Genocide Intervention Network, has been monitoring and documenting the violence in 28 locations throughout the Darfur region of Sudan and eastern Chad since 2006. Based on satellite imagery of these areas, seventy-five percent showed destruction of villages and/or the growth of camps for internally displaced persons. These and other images have been used in Amnesty’s Eyes on Darfur website as well as provided to the International Criminal Court and featured in various other advocacy and investigation efforts.
High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Conflict in Ogaden, Ethiopia
At the request of Human Rights Watch, AAAS conducted a review of satellite imagery for the Ogaden region of Ethiopia in early 2008. Based on HRW reports of attacks on towns and individuals in the region, AAAS analyzed imagery from eight locations. Of the eight reviewed locations, all exhibited characteristics consistent with reporting, including significant removal of structures, in some cases possible evidence of burning, and new construction that corresponded to forced relocations.
High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Conflict in South Ossetia
AAAS 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. This report documents the scope and extent of damage between August 10 and August 19, 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. Other significant signs of military actions were also (more)…
High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Conflict in Sri Lanka
At the request of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International in May 2009, AAAS undertook an initial review of satellite imagery for the Civilian Safety Zone (CSZ) in northeastern Sri Lanka. Human rights groups expressed concern over the status and safety of civilians due to the heavy fighting occurring 9-10 May, 2009. Comparing the May 6 and May 10, 2009 images of the CSZ, AAAS found significant removal of IDP shelters. In addition, imagery showed evidence of bomb shell craters, destroyed permanent structures, mortar positions, and 1,346 individual graves.
Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households
Since an armed insurrection overthrew the government of Haiti in February 2004, various sources have accused various political groups, the Haitian National Police and United Nations troops of committing human rights abuses. During a one-month period ending December 2005 approximately 1200 households were surveyed to record their experiences since the 2004 coup with different types of human rights violations. These violations included: sexual assaults; physical assaults; looting, theft and vandalism of personal property; murder, and extra-judicial detentions. Households in the greater Port-au-Prince area were selected utilizing randomized GPS coordinate sampling. GPS locations were included in the study if they were within 20 yards of a currently inhabited residence and within one (more)…
Images of war: using satellite images for human rights monitoring in Turkish Kurdistan
In areas of war and armed conflict it is difficult to get trustworthy and coherent information. Civil society and human rights groups often face problems of dealing with fragmented witness reports, disinformation of war propaganda, and difficult direct access to these areas. Turkish Kurdistan was used as a case study of armed conflict to evaluate the potential use of satellite images for verification of witness reports collected by human rights groups. The Turkish army was reported to be burning forests, fields and villages as a strategy in the conflict against guerrilla uprising. This paper concludes that satellite images are useful (more)…
Improving environmental exposure analysis using cumulative distribution functions and individual geocoding
Background: Assessments of environmental exposure and health risks that utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) often make simplifying assumptions when using: (a) one or more discrete buffer distances to define the spatial extent of impacted regions, and (b) aggregated demographic data at the level of census enumeration units to derive the characteristics of the potentially exposed population. A case study of school children in Orange County, Florida, is used to demonstrate how these limitations can be overcome by the application of cumulative distribution functions (CDFs) and individual geocoded locations. Exposure potential for 159,923 school children was determined at the childrens’ home (more)…
Increasing geographical inequalities in health in New Zealand, 1980-2001
Background: Recent studies have noted widening health inequalities between rich and poor areas in a number of OECD countries. This paper examines whether health in New Zealand has become more geographically polarized during the period 1980?2001, a time of rapid social and economic changes in New Zealand society. Methods: Mortality records for each year between 1980 and 2001 were extracted for consistent geographical areas: the 21 District Health Boards operating in New Zealand in 2001 and used to calculate male and female life expectancies for each area. The geographical inequalities in life expectancy were measured by calculating the (more)…
Interpreting Optical Remote Sensing Images
The Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing at the National University of Singapore provides a guide on how to interpret optical remote sensing images.
Lebanon: Destruction in Civilian Areas Case Study Report
At the request of Amnesty International, AAAS undertook a review of destruction in Lebanon and Israel using satellite imagery analysis. The study comes after the 2006 conflict between the two countries left nearly 1,200 Lebanese and 39 Israelis dead. Based on the three before and after image sets AAAS obtained of areas in Lebanon, extensive destruction could be seen, corroborating Amnesty International’s reports of shelling in parts of the country. Due to US government restrictions on the sale of high-resolution satellite imagery of Israel to the public, AAAS was unable to conduct a review of damage to that country.
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