Pakistan: Amnesty International with AAAS Use Geo-visualization Techniques for Human Rights Issues in Northwestern Pakistan

Press Release
February 23, 2010

Pakistan: Amnesty International with AAAS Use Geo-visualization Techniques for Human Rights Issues in Northwestern Pakistan

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA
PRESS RELEASE

Monday, February 22, 2010

Amnesty International with AAAS Use Geo-visualization Techniques for Human Rights Issues in Northwestern Pakistan

(Washington, DC) Amnesty International, in collaboration with AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, has created a new database of human rights-related events occurring in northwestern Pakistan. The site is www.eyesonpakistan.org

"Establishing and sharing common information pools on abuses is critical if the human rights community is to avoid duplicative or fragmented efforts, and ensure the watchdog function of human rights research is met," said Scott Edwards, director of the Science for Human Rights project at Amnesty International USA. "Yet, the mere presentation of such information is often a challenge."

"Human rights workers in the highly volatile region have had difficulty gathering data" explained AAAS Project Director Lars Bromley. "Creation of a common database on violations will assist investigations. AAAS and Amnesty International staff worked together to create a database on human rights related events from major news sources for the years 2005-2009."

Media sources report a high number of daily events in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, Bromley noted, particularly the Pakistani provinces of FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Areas) and NWFP (North West Frontier Province), which are the focus areas for the AAAS-AI project.

"Using geographic visualization techniques allows us to paint a broader picture of the human rights situation on the ground in Pakistan across time and space," said Susan Wolfinbarger, senior program associate at AAAS. "It facilitates isolating trends that would not be uncovered in traditional analysis."

Internet-based visualization of human rights events provided by Eyes on Pakistan allows the user to interact with the data rather than just read figures from reports and tables.

"Moving into more advanced geographic tools to look at human rights from other perspectives is a major goal of the project here at AAAS," added Bromley, who directs the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project at AAAS.

The Eyes on Pakistan site (www.eyesonpakistan.org) is envisioned as a go-to location for researchers interested in learning about the evolution of this conflict. To aid research, updates to the site will be ongoing as the conflict stretches into 2010, and the original database will soon be made available on request.

The maps and data available at the Eyes on Pakistan site are part of broader Amnesty International efforts calling for respect of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.

The Eyes on Pakistan site makes use of advanced geo-visualization software, ArcServer from ESRI, Inc., (http://www.esri.com) that dynamically serves data and maps and has limitless customizations possibilities. The specific configuration developed for the Eyes on Pakistan site is informed by the collaboration of AAAS and AI and is designed to meet specific user needs of the human rights community and policymakers as well.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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For more information, please contact the AIUSA media office or visit: www.amnestyusa.org.

Sharon Singh
Media Relations Director
Amnesty International USA
Washington DC 20003
(o) 202.675.8579
(m)202.459.8703