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Satellites Help Spot Human Rights Abuses in Burma

David Axe Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007

In the past week, up to 200 of people have died in Burma in the government's violent suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations, according to various reports. But thousands more in Burma are routinely forcibly relocated and their villages burned by the army in an ongoing campaign against the country's ethnic minorities. Now the Washington, D.C.-based American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is using commercially provided satellite imagery to catalogue the abuses.

The AAAS' "Science and Human Rights Project," funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Open Society Institute, released a report Sept. 28 that documents the destruction of rural villages and the swelling of new villages and refugee camps overseen by government troops. The idea, according to Society scientist Mona Younis, is to get scientists and technologists to "think creatively about how to hold government accountable for human rights." The project began in 2005 and is funded through 2009. ...

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