Sudan: New Satellite Images Reveal Continuing Human Rights Atrocities in Darfur

Press Release
February 2, 2011

Sudan: New Satellite Images Reveal Continuing Human Rights Atrocities in Darfur

Amnesty International Press Release
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Satellite Images Reveal Continuing Human Rights Atrocities in Darfur, Amnesty International Says

Evidence Collected Shows Whole Villages Burned to the Ground

High-resolution images are available to download at: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1032463889/fccb847e4c24bdeeb3c525cea75e4f40

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(Washington) -- New satellite image analysis released today shows that while  international attention is focused on the South Sudan referendum, grave violations of human rights continue in neighboring Darfur. Images secured by Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) and analyzed with partners from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) show irrefutably that civilians were targeted in the Negeha region of south Darfur with whole villages burned to the ground as recently as December. According to Amnesty International, in December alone, more than 20,000 people were displaced by government attacks, including in Dar Al Salam, Shangil Tobaya and Khor Abeche displacement camps in north and south Darfur.

Scott Edwards, AIUSA Advocacy Director for Africa, stated: “While the world has understandably turned a hopeful eye to the referendum process, the satellite evidence collected from the Negeha region of Darfur  demonstrates what happens when vigilant attention wanes and support for accountability cedes to political or diplomatic expediency.”

The imagery and analysis corroborate reports of attacks against civilians in Negeha in December 2010, just a few weeks before the referendum in South Sudan took place.

The release of the findings coincides with other recent high profile uses of satellite imagery in connection with the referendum, and builds on Amnesty International’s three-year-old  Eyes on Darfur (www.eyesondarfur.com) satellite project. It is a continuation of several years of work by Amnesty International to use geospatial tools for human rights monitoring.


“Unless the international community demands accountability for the atrocities and ensures that those responsible do not evade justice, these images will serve only as a reminder of  the world's collective failure and responsibillity to the victims in Darfur,” said Edwards.

Arrest warrants for President Omar al Bashir and several Sudanese officials and militia leaders have been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and in the case of the president, genocide.

Despite these warrants, international actors and the Sudanese government are failing in their obligations to cooperate with the court, and arrest those indicted. Most recently, Amnesty International expressed outrage after the United Nations not only failed to arrest Governor Ahmed Haroun—indicted for the alleged recruitment, funding and arming of the “Janjaweed” militia in Darfur—but actually provided helicopter transport for the governor to attend a meeting.

“When the United Nations Mission in Sudan gives a ride to one of the alleged architects of systematic murder, rape, and torture in Darfur, we have to question the current state of commitment to justice for Darfur. It then becomes easier to understand why the crimes documented in the Negeha analysis continue unabated. Impunity—that’s what the satellite imagery currently shows,” said Edwards.

AIUSA calls on the U.S. government to step up its diplomatic support for the ICC and justice in Darfur, and reiterates that all states and concerned regional and other international organizations must fully cooperate with the ICC Prosecutor. Those in a position to do so must arrest indictees and surrender them to the Court for trial.

Note:
A short summary report and analysis on the satellite imagery is available. Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org
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Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 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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