Conflict

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 4/2012. Pipeline: Evidence of the Destruction of Key Oil Infrastructure .Abstract

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), through the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery captured 15 April 2012, has found evidence of the destruction of key oil pipeline infrastructure in Heglig, South Kordofan, Sudan. SSP has also found cratering consistent with bombardment of some form visible in close proximity to nearby oil pipeline and oil production facilities. SSP cannot make a determination based on the evidence currently available as to either who destroyed the object consistent with an oil.

Rob Grace and Claude Bruderlein. 7/2012. “On Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding Mechanisms ”.Abstract

A simple glance at recent news headlines reveals the growing prevalence of international missions tasked to monitor and report on potential violations of international law.  In the past few months alone, the United Nations (UN) dispatched a team to monitor the ceasefire in Syria, and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) mandated a commission of inquiry to examine Israeli settlements in the West Bank, extended the mandate of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and mandated a new Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment.  These missions are part of a rapidly growing trend.  The international community — imbued, since the end of the Cold War, with a new sense of responsibility for international legal accountability and civilian protection — has increasingly employed monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) mechanisms to collect information on the vulnerabilities of civilian populations and investigate potential violations of international law.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 7/2012. Making the World a Witness: Report on the Pilot Phase.Abstract

The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, has released a report on the pilot phase which began in December 2010 and concluded 1 June 2012. This report contains highlights over the past 18 months including a summary of operations, and satellite imagery. With the completion of the pilot phase of SSP on 1 June 2012, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) concluded its participation in SSP. HHI has transitioned out of SSP, launching the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology with the aim of establishing the first codified technical standards and professional ethics for crisis mapping.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 3/2012. Impact: Indiscriminate Bombardment by a SAF Antonov, South Kordofan, Sudan .Abstract
The The , through Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, has collected evidence consistent with apparent indiscriminate aerial bombardment in progress by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in South Kordofan, Sudan. The indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations and infrastructure can constitute a war crime under international law. Plumes of grey smoke can be seen rising from the ground at two separate locations north of the village of Angarto, South Kordofan on 8 March 2012. One plume is visible 600 meters north and the other plume is visible 1.6 km/ 1 mi north of Angarto. In a second image captured six minutes later, fire is visible at one of the apparent impact sites.
Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 2/2011. Humanitarian Action under Scrutiny: Criminalizing Humanitarian Engagement . Read PublicationAbstract

The Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University (HPCR) is a research and policy program based at the Harvard School of Public Health in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Program is engaged in research and advisory services on humanitarian operations and the protection of civilians in conflict areas. The Program advises organizations such as the United Nations, governments, and non-governmental actors, and focuses on the protection of vulnerable groups, conflict prevention, strategic planning for human security, and the role of information technology in emergency response. The Program was established in August 2000 in close cooperation with the Government of Switzerland and the United Nations.

This Working Paper presents HPCR’s research to date on dilemmas arising from the intersection between, on the one hand, counterterrorism laws and policies prohibiting engagement with certain non-state entities and, on the other, humanitarian access and protection of civilians in armed conflict. This Working Paper aims to provide HPCR’s initial analysis of these dilemmas and to suggest key areas for future research and policy engagement. 

Ronak B. Patel, David Alejandro Schoeller-Diaz, Victoria-Alicia Lopez, and John Joseph “Ian” Kelly IV. 6/2012. Hope in the Face of Displacement and Rapid Urbanization.Abstract
This study seeks to offer a practical examination of resilience in complex urban landscapes for the academic community and humanitarian actors at the local and international levels. Distrito de Aguablanca (Cali, Colombia), a complex settlement area with some 600,000 residents, functions as a case study in human security and resilience that can inform public policy and community level decision making in especially difficult humanitarian environments, with sociopolitical volatility, large populations of internally displaced persons, and high crime and violence rates.
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 4/2012. Escalation: Evidence of SAF and SPLA Combat Operations.Abstract

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has confirmed through the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have deployed a significantly increased number of combat capable air assets within range of South Sudan’s border and territory. SSP has documented evidence consistent with reported aerial bombardment in close proximity to a strategic bridge located in Unity State, South Sudan. SAF spokesman al-Sawarmi Khaled Saad denied Sudan’s involvement in the bombings.

Jocelyn Kelly and Lindsay Branham. 3/2012. “Engaging African Voices on Kony .” The New York TImes.Abstract

A critical perspective has been missing from the conversation resulting from the Kony 2012 campaign: that of those currently living in Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) affected areas.The voices of affected individuals and communities should be at the center of this swelling chorus of opinions . If they were, perhaps the clamor of criticism could quiet long enough to hear what is being asked of humanitarians, academics, policy makers, and global citizens.

Jocelyn Kelly and Lindsay Branham. 3/2012. “Engaging African Voices on Kony .” The New York TImes.Abstract

A critical perspective has been missing from the conversation resulting from the Kony 2012 campaign: that of those currently living in Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) affected areas.The voices of affected individuals and communities should be at the center of this swelling chorus of opinions . If they were, perhaps the clamor of criticism could quiet long enough to hear what is being asked of humanitarians, academics, policy makers, and global citizens.

Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 6/2012. Countering Terror in Humanitarian Crises: The Challenges of Delivering Aid to Somalia.Abstract

In the post-9/11 era, humanitarian organizations face a growing dilemma regarding access to vulnerable groups in internal conflicts. On the one hand, international actors have increasingly recognized the importance of engaging with non-state armed groups (NSAGs) to ensure the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance in crisis-affected territories. On the other hand, in recent years, political and policy actors operating at domestic, regional, and international levels have pursued security policies and enacted laws geared toward curbing relationships with NSAGs accused of executing acts of terrorism.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 1/2012. Chokepoint: Evidence of SAF Control of Refugee Route to South Sudan .Abstract

Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), through HHI’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, has confirmed that at least a battalion sized unit of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) appear to control the main route civilians reportedly use to flee South Kordofan for Yida refugee camp. The interior of the apparent base, which is located in the town of Toroge, contains objects consistent with 80 to 90 tent-like structures, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), artillery, and heavy armor vehicles, which appear to be main battle tanks. In Siege: Evidence of SAF Encirclement of the Kauda Valley released 25 January 2012, SSP reported that the SAF had restricted access to the road leading towards South Sudan from South Kordofan. The imagery in this report specifically identifies a new fortified chokepoint along that road under apparent SAF control, which was established sometime after 23 November 2011.

Rob Grace and Claude Bruderlein. 4/2012. Building Effective Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Mechanisms .Abstract

In recent decades, the international community has exhibited an increased devotion to civilian protection and promotion of international legal accountability. To activate this sense of responsibility, during armed conflicts and internal disturbances, international actors have created numerous monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) mechanisms to investigate potential violations of international law. But the academic and policy communities have not kept pace with the growing importance of these mechanisms, and MRF practitioners frequently suffer from a paucity of sufficient guidance. As a step toward filling this research gap, this article presents an in-depth examination of MRF mechanisms. The article first presents an analytical framework that examines key distinctions between different MRF activities and presents guiding principles applicable to all MRF mechanism types. Examining past MRF practice through the lens of this framework, the article then explores the process of creating MRF mechanisms. The article concludes by sketching possible next steps for the MRF community to build on this research foundation and develop standards for more effective MRF implementation.

Rob Grace and Jill Coster Van Voorhout. 12/2014. “From Isolation to Interoperability: The Interaction of Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding Missions and International Criminal Courts and Tribunals .” The Hague Institute for Global Justice.Abstract

Over the past few decades, governments have established various international criminal courts and tribunals (ICCTs), including several ad hoc entities — such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) — as well as a permanent body in the form of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Additionally, international actors have also established a wide array of non-judicial monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) missions, such as commissions of inquiry, monitoring components of peace operations, and special rapporteurs. This working paper discusses opportunities and challenges for achieving a greater degree of interoperability between international judicial and non-judicial accountability efforts.

Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 1/2014. Harvard Field Study Non-Paper on Syrian Refugees .Abstract

The Syrian refugee crisis represents one of the greatest humanitarian challenges the international community has faced over the recent years, prompting record-high levels of international aid. In view of the complexity of the political and social environment in which these challenges arise and the historical scale of the population affected, innovative and creative programmatic responses are essential to address the short and middle-term needs of refugees and reducing instability in the Middle East region.

Brittany Card and Isaac L. Baker. 11/2014. “GRID: A Methodology Integrating Witness Testimony and Satellite Imagery Analysis for Documenting Alleged Mass Atrocities .” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, 8, 3, Pp. 49-61.Abstract

This article documents the development and initial use case of the GRID (Ground Reporting through Imagery Delivery) methodology by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). GRID was created to support corroboration of witness testimony of mass atrocity related-events using satellite imagery analysis. A repeating analytic limitation of employing imagery for this purpose is that differences in the geographic knowledge of a witness and an imagery analyst can limit or impede corroboration.

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