Citation: Disasters, 2008, 32, 3, 449 – 466
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 to validate witness reports of forest fires. Even though the use of this technology for human rights groups will depend on some feasibility factors such as prices, access and expertise, the images proved to be key for analysis of spatial aspects of conflict and valuable for reconstructing a more trustworthy picture.
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