Africa

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, UNITAR/UNOSAT, and DigitalGlobe. 3/2011. Frontline Abyei: Evidence of Military Escalation in Abyei Region.Abstract
Following the recent razing of three villages, there has been increased military activity in and around the contested Abyei region of Sudan during the past week. Actors aligned with both the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) appear to have improved their defensive positions and mobilized additional offensive capacity, including, in one case, vehicles consistent with the transport of heavy armor. Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has determined that in some parts of the Abyei region, elements believed to be aligned with the SAF and SPLA now lie within an approximately 20 to 40 kilometer range of each other. SSP also concludes that the SAF and SPLA appear to now have more units arrayed within 100 kilometers of each other in and around Abyei than at any time in the past two months of SSP's monitoring of the region.
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Human Rights Documentation Team, Carr Center Human Rights for Policy, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and UNITAR/UNOSAT. 3/2011. Flashpoint: Abyei.Abstract

The human security situation in the Abyei region of Sudan has rapidly deteriorated in the past week due to renewed violence. Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has confirmed through the analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery that buildings consistent with civilian infrastructure appear to have been intentionally burned Maker Abior and Todach villages. Some 100 people in the Abyei region have reportedly died in the clashes to date. According to the humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), tens of thousands of civilians have either been displaced by fighting or fled due to fear of further attacks.

Alex de Waal, Chad Hazlett, Christian Davenport, and Joshua Kennedy. 3/2010. Evidence-Based Peacekeeping: Exploring the Epidemiology of Lethal Violence in Darfur.Abstract

In this working paper, the authors seek to assess the "nature and scale of violence in Darfur in a way that is both directly useful in the design of peace support missions and policies, while also more broadly demonstrating the importance of rigorous data collection before and throughout these missions in order to arrive at evidence-based conclusions about the nature of violence and effectiveness of applied responses." The authors explore the challenges of constructing an evidence base for peace support operations and the limits to inferences that can be made about civilian protection in Darfur using existing data sources.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 7/2011. Crime Scene: Evidence of Mass Graves in Kadugli, Sudan.Abstract

SSP has found evidence consistent with allegations that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Government of Sudan-aligned (GoS) militias have apparently engaged in a campaign of systematic mass killing of civilians in Kadugli, South Kordofan. Under the Rome Statute and other international humanitarian law, the systematic killing of civilians in peace or war by their own government can constitute crimes against humanity.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 8/2011. Cover-Up: New Evidence of Three Mass Graves in South Kordofan.Abstract

SSP has identified three new apparent mass grave sites in and around Kadugli in South Kordofan, Sudan based on an analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery and multiple eyewitness accounts. The three alleged mass grave sites identified in this report are separate from and in addition to the three apparent mass graves south of the Tilo School in Kadugli shown in SSP’s 14 July 2011 report.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 7/2011. Convoy: Evidence of Heavy Military Activity in Kadugli, South Kordofan.Abstract

Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has identified through analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery captured on 4 July 2011 an apparent Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) convoy travelling through Kadugli town consistent with an at least regiment-sized unit, which is equal to approximately 1000 troops. The convoy is at least 2km in length, and could be potentially longer. There are at least 80 vehicles visible in the apparent convoy, including 49 light vehicles, cargo trucks, a vehicle consistent with a fuel or water tanker, heavy transports and towed artillery. The convoy is of significant size and appears to be heading to the north, though its origin, destination and total length remains unknown.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 10/2011. In Close Proximity: Alleged Abduction, Detention and Extra-Judicial Killings by Abu Tira.Abstract

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has corroborated multiple eyewitness accounts and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) reports alleging that the Government of Sudan’s (GoS) Central Reserve Police (CRP) unit engaged in the unlawful abduction, detention, and extrajudicial killing of civilians in Kadugli, South Kordofan, Sudan.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 5/2011. Burned to the Ground: Evidence of Potential War Crimes and the Intentional Destruction of Abyei Town by the Government of Sudan.Abstract

Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has confirmed through the analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery collected on 27 May the intentional destruction of approximately one-third of all civilian structures in Abyei town by the Government of Sudan and northern-aligned militia forces. SSP has documented multiple violations of international humanitarian law in Abyei town. These abuses can constitute war crimes, including violations of the Geneva Conventions, and in some cases they may represent crimes against humanity.

Phuong Pham and Patrick Vinck. 8/2010. Building Peace, Seeking Justice: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes About Accountability and Social Reconstruction in the Central African Republic.Abstract

Decades of Political Instability, state fragility, mismanagement, and a series of armed conflicts have led the Central African Republic (CAR) to a state of widespread violence and poverty. This study provides a better understanding of the scope and magnitude of violence in CAR and its consequences, as well as a snapshot of what the citizens of CAR believe is the best way to restore peace. It also examines the issue of justice and accountability for the serious crimes that were committed. This report provides a detailed analysis of results on a wide range of topics related to the population’s priorities and needs, exposure to violence, security, community cohesion and engagement, access to information, conflict resolution, reintegration of former combatants, transitional justice, and reparations for victims.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 6/2011. Bombardment: Evidence of Aerial and Artillery Attacks in the Nuba Mountains.Abstract

Satellite Sentinel Project's (SSP) analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery has found evidence supporting multiple reports that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) are conducting aerial and artillery bombardment in the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan, Sudan. Fixed wing aircraft consistent with an Antonov-24/26, Yak-40, and two SU-25K Frogfoot ground attack aircraft can be seen at El Obeid airbase as of 28 June. Five helicopters, including four consistent with Hind helicopter gunships, are visible as well.

Saira Khan, Rob Baker, Caitlin Howarth, Erica Nelson, Isaac Baker, Natalia Adler, and Stefaan Verhulst. 11/2019. Lessons Learned Report: Using Satellite Data Analysis in Conflict/Famine-Affected Areas.Abstract
This report captures the lessons learned during a project titled, “Children on the Move: Using Satellite Data Analysis in Conflict/Famine-Affected Areas.” This document details the project’s progression and the rationale for transitioning from satellite imagery analysis to agent-based modeling as the primary mode of analysis. This project was conducted in collaboration with the Governance Lab at New York University, the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and UNICEF. 
Saira Khan, Isaac Baker, and Rob Baker. 11/2019. Satellite Imagery Interpretation Guide of Landscape Features in Somaliland.Abstract

This guide outlines the tools and techniques to establish a foundation for visual analysis and discusses how these techniques can assist in identifying notable landscape features pertaining to agriculture, settlements, water catchment, and livestock in northern Somalia. To the knowledge of the Signal Program analysts, there is no systematic open-source remote sensing documentation of frequently occurring natural and man-made features in Somalia. This guide helps users to identify and analyze these features, particularly humanitarian practitioners supporting activities in the Horn of Africa. This project, titled “Children on the Move: Using Satellite Data Analysis in Conflict/Famine-Affected Areas,” was carried out in collaboration with UNICEF, the GovLab at NYU, and the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Erica Nelson, Saira Khan, Swapna Thorve, and P. Gregg Greenough. 12/2020. “Modeling pastoralist movement in response to environmental variables and conflict in Somaliland: Combining agent-based modeling and geospatial data.” PLOS ONE.Abstract

This study explores how pastoralists respond to changing environments in Somaliland . An agent-based model is used to simulate the movement of nomadic pastoralists based on typologically diverse, historical data of environmental, interpersonal, and transactional variables in Somaliland and Puntland between 2008 and 2018. Through subsequent application of spatial analysis such as choropleth maps, kernel density mapping, and standard deviational ellipses, we characterize the resultant pastoralist population distribution in response to these variables.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 12/2011. Blue Nile Burning: Evidence of the Destruction of 'Amara Village.Abstract

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), through the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, has identified evidence of the intentional destruction of at least thirty-three structures largely consistent with civilian dwellings in the vicinity of `Amara, Blue Nile, Sudan. SSP’s analysis of imagery captured on 27 November 2011 indicates a firefight apparently involving heavy armor or other tracked vehicles against dug-in fighting positions occurred sometime between 11 and 27 November.

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