Satellite maps human rights abuses in Burma


Photo caption: Before-and-after satellite images show the site of an apparent military encampment in Burma on 11 November 2000, (top), and again on 13 December 2006 (bottom), when new bamboo fencing can be seen. The human rights group, Free Burma Rangers, reported a major expansion of this camp in 2006, corroborated by the AAAS analysis of images. (Lat: 18.42 N Long: 97.23 E.) Credit: Top image: © GeoEye, Inc. Bottom image: © 2007 DigitalGlobe.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science have done an amazing analysis of satellite images to show forced relocations in Burma. For once technology works in our favor!

Click the link below to see more before and after shots.

AAAS – AAAS News Release:

Consequently, Bromley noted: “Physical evidence of reported attacks on civilians sometimes can be subtle compared to the slash-and-burn types of destruction that we saw in Darfur or Zimbabwe. It’s also a lush ecosystem where plants can quickly grow to cover burn marks, and clouds and terrain often block satellite observation.” In addition, he said, maps of the area are largely decades old, with “foreign” village name spellings that are not used by reporting organizations or local people.

Despite such challenges, AAAS precisely mapped the locations of 31 of some 70 reported human rights violations by comparing field notes with information provided by the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Satellite image analysis then revealed physical evidence to corroborate reported instances of human rights violations at 25 of the 31 accurately mapped sites. Wherever possible, Bromley compared archival satellite images with newly acquired shots to examine sites before as well as after the reported military activity. In other cases, recent images revealed clear signs of destruction.