An exciting new initiative launched by actor George Clooney, Google, several anti-genocide NGOs and the United Nations will use commercial satellites to monitor Sudan in preparation for the upcoming referendum on independence for the southern half of the country. The coincidentally-named Satellite Sentinel Project (which has no connection to our own organization) will “photograph any burned and bombed villages, mass movements of people, or other evidence of violence.” This imagery will then be analyzed by experts to verify field reports. It is feared that the referendum may trigger renewed conflict and mass atrocities in Sudan, which has already experienced decades of civil war in the South as well as the most recent genocide in the western region of Darfur. This is a great example of how civil society can use technology to monitor and discourage the threat of genocide when sufficient leadership, funding, and political will are available.
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