Drawing upon the voices of cultural leaders to protect and assist the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced.
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This op-ed was originally published by USA Today, and co-authored by board members George Clooney and John Prendergast.
The only activity in the hospital compound in Bor, South Sudan, these days is the dozens of vultures circling overhead. In mid-January, rebel forces swept into the Bor hospital, killing everyone that could not escape. Underscoring its crime, the group collected and burned the bodies of its victims. All that remains are bloodstained shoes, charred medicine vials, and overturned wheelchairs. Scorched patches of earth show where people were set on fire. When local residents are asked who was responsible, the answer is always the same: child soldiers of a militia called the White Army.
New Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) imagery shows more than 535 huts in and around Malakal have been destroyed in recent clashes, in direct violation the January cessation of hostilities agreement between South Sudan's combatant forces (Figure 1, above) DigitalGlobe’s analysis confirms that at least 57 huts in a residential area of town were destroyed, likely as a result of renewed fighting between the South Sudanese army and the armed opposition. (follow the link for Figure 2) The destruction of another 77 huts in Malakal's market area is evident in imagery collected on February 17, and 40 percent of market stalls are visibly destroyed or severely damaged. (follow the link for Figure 3) More than 400 huts were destroyed in the east of the city.
New DigitalGlobe satellite images acquired on February 2, 2014 confirm at least one violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed by South Sudan's combatant forces less than two weeks ago. Imagery of Leer town in Unity state, which journalists and aid workers have been unable to visit since the latest bout of violence, shows huts engulfed in flames.
Today, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos travels to the capital of Upper Nile state whereover 42,000 peoplehave been displaced by violence. Satellite images of Malakal from January 27 show at least 210 tukuls burned to the ground in one of the city's quarters. In another part of town, images collected over the course of the past two weeks confirm the looting of a World Food Program, or WFP, compound and the damage and destruction of adjacent areas. Since thelaws of warmandate both respecting and protecting "humanitarian relief personnel" and "objects" used for their operations, these satellite images offer independent evidence of war crimes.
As South Sudanese combatants signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in Addis Ababa on Thursday, January 23, new images from the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, confirmed the systematic and intentional destruction of civilian homes in the town of Bentiu and across other parts of Unity state. DigitalGlobe images of Bentiu, Mayom, and Khor Bwow and small villages along the road between Bentiy and Mayom all document widespread destruction.
Note: This piece, written by Hayes Brown, originally appeared on ThinkProgress.
Since the clashes between the South Sudanese government and rebel forces broke out in late December, the toll on the civilians caught in the crossfire has escalated more rapidly than many could have predicted. Reporting from on the ground can be difficult to come by at times in situations such as seen in the areas where fighting has been the most intense, the states of Jonglei and Unity. TheSatelliteSentinel Project— a collaborative effort between the Enough Project and digital-globe with the backing of actor George Clooney — is attempting to break through the fog of war through tracking conflict from above the clouds.
For the past month, South Sudan has been engulfed in an expanding civil war. Unlike Sudan, where the Satellite Sentinel Project pioneered its work, with a few limited exceptions, South Sudan’s government has been allowing both journalists and humanitarians to operate around the country, even as violence spreads. As a result, harrowing videos, interviews, and photographs documenting the crisis have been emerging for weeks.