Amnesty International today released satellite images that show the impact of a horrific Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria last week. The images, combined with several testimonies, provide shocking evidence of how the conflict is dramatically escalating, with dire consequences for civilians. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
During crises or disasters, YouTube is widely used to share footage – including a host of videos that are old or, in some cases, staged or faked. An enormous challenge for human rights workers, journalists or first responders alike is to separate fact from fiction. Now, there’s a website that can help.
The Citizen Evidence Lab - launched today – is the first dedicated verification resource for human rights workers, providing tools for speedy checks on YouTube videos as well as for more advanced assessment.
A cellphone can be both a powerful tool and a huge risk for human rights activists. Images and videos captured through mobile phones can reveal police brutality or even war crimes, as the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have shown.
However, information saved on activists’ cell phones can also expose dissident networks or other sensitive data. During the recent protests in Ukraine, police reportedly used locations revealed through cell phones to track protestors.
The “digital arms race” between activists and repressive governments is the main focus of our SXSW panel Caught in the Act: Mobile Tech and Human Rights on Tuesday, March 11.
A few days ago, the Afghan government published an investigation into an airstrike by international forces on January 15, 2014, that reportedly killed several Afghan civilians. The investigation relied heavily on photographs and a video showing the aftermath of the strike.
In the context of the Houla massacre in Syria in May 2012, the BBC published a distressing image, showing a child jumping over a row of dead bodies.
During Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, NPR posted an image showing soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery weathering the storm and guarding the tomb of the unknown soldiers.
The massive displacement crisis stemming from Syria’s ongoing conflict is increasingly visible from space. Satellite images on Google Earth reveal the growth of what in some cases looks like the emergence of whole new cities over the last two years.
A new project published today by one of our volunteers, Richard Cozzens, presents some of the most compelling images, providing a grim snapshot of the dire humanitarian situation in and around Syria. The satellite images show camps in the countries that are most affected by the influx of refugees, such as Turkey and Jordan. For example, what was an empty spot in the desert in September 2011 is now the huge refugee camp Zaatari in Jordan.
“After a night of ‘servicing’ the officials, the women had to die because the secret could not get out. This happens at most of the political prison camps.” - Mr. Lee, a former security official who has never spoken publicly before, in an interview with Amnesty International in November 2013
New satellite images further expose North Korea’s vast system of political prison camps – which I previously dubbed “The forgotten prisons” – whose very existence authorities continue to deny categorically. Contrary to heeding the growing international calls to close the camps, authorities continue to invest in the infrastructure of repression, perpetuating the systematic, widespread and grave violation of human rights.
This week could be the tipping point for the human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic, which continues to spin out of control. With the situation worsening on a daily basis, including extrajudicial killings and rape, the U.N. Security Council will meet Thursday to vote on a resolution related to the deployment of peacekeeping forces to the country.
This vote presents a unique opportunity to start pulling the country back from the brink. However, public pressure is needed over the following days to demand a robust peacekeeping force with a strong human rights mandate to protect civilians, including many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees. We are thus calling on the decision makers in France, the UK and the U.S. to support our demands. You can participate in this campaigning push through our global Twitter action that accompanies our media, lobby and field work.
“These new images offer a glimpse of physical scarring to homes and civic life visible from space, but the true scale of the human impact of the crisis cannot be captured by satellite.” - Aster van Kregten, Deputy Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.
Expert analysis of new satellite imagery we have obtained from the Central African Republic (CAR) reveals the shocking aftermath of recent human rights abuses amid spiraling violence by armed groups and security forces.
The images - some less than a week old - include evidence of 485 homes being torched in Bouca as well as internally displaced persons (IDPs) massing near the town of Bossangoa as people flee the ongoing violence.
In one of the most comprehensive satellite image analysis of an active conflict zone ever conducted by a non-governmental actor, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today released a detailed damage assessment of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. The impressive survey is a follow up to a September 2012 analysis by AAAS that showed the first impacts of the armed conflict on the densely populated area of Aleppo, and comes exactly a year after Amnesty International issued an urgent warning about the increased risk to civilians in the city.
By documenting the vast damage to Aleppo’s infrastructure since that warning, the newly released analysis by AAAS – pursued in collaboration with the Science for Human Rights program of Amnesty International – leaves little question as to a significant cause for the staggering displacement of half of the city’s population: a campaign of indiscriminate air bombardment by government forces, which have also reduced entire areas to rubble and killed and maimed countless civilians.
I have previously discussed the many opportunities and pitfalls of social media for human rights research and advocacy, or if social media content could potentially document war crimes in Syria. This week I was invited to participate in a fascinating online discussion on how to incorporate social media into human rights campaigning. The conversation is organized by New Tactics for Human Rights and The Engine Room and is still open until the end of the week. We are off to a great start with around 35 comments, and visitors to the website this week came from more than 100 countries! If you are interested in this topic, I encourage you to share your experience and thoughts.
The conversation provides several examples of how social media has been used as a tactic by various human rights organizations and other NGOs. Examples from Amnesty International include our Bahrain Twitter action or Eyes on Syria campaign and use of a YouTube playlist in our campaign to establish a Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations in North Korea. Other case studies come from Greenpeace and El Salvador, among others. A current case study – which is still unfolding – is the #SaveBeatriz campaign.