Drawing upon the voices of cultural leaders to protect and assist the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced.
The launch of the Satellite Sentinel Project captured the attention of national and international news media last week, and has been prominently featured in dozens of countries. Anticipation is running high about what will be revealed by the first satellite images to be released later this week along with expert analysis from UNOSAT and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Less well publicized have been our plans to roll out significant additional resources -- such as crowd-sourced reports from eye witnesses on the ground, and a series of video dispatches from Tim Freccia which bring in local voices, adding necessary and revealing human context to the tantalizing, high-tech photography.
Follow the link for a round-up of initial Satellite Sentinel Project coverage, and visit www.satsentinel.org for a full overview of the project, as well as daily updates.
George Clooney and John Prendergast slumped down at a wooden table in a dusty school compound in southern Sudan. It was Oct. 4, and the two men were in the hometown of Valentino Achak Deng, whose experiences wandering the desert as a refugee during Sudan's last civil war were the basis for the best-selling book What Is the What.
Clooney, the actor, and Prendergast, a human-rights activist with 25 years of experience in Africa, had heard enough on their seven-day visit to know that a new round of atrocities could follow the January referendum on independence. If it did, the likelihood was that no one would be held accountable. Why not, Clooney asked, "work out some sort of a deal to spin a satellite" above southern Sudan and let the world watch to see what happens?
"A referendum on whether oil-rich southern Sudan breaks away to become Africa's newest nation is scheduled to take place in less than four months. But with negotiations between north and south stalled over border demarcation, and preparations for the vote lagging perilously behind, the likelihood of the referendum proceeding as planned appears slim."
"The referendum on independence for Southern Sudan is a 'ticking time bomb,' US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said."
"The commission organizing Southern Sudan’s referendum on independence set for Jan. 9 plans to start registering voters next month, a spokesman for the body said."
"US President Barack Obama will attend a UN-organized summit on Sudan on the margins of the UN General Assembly on September 24, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Wednesday."
"South Sudan's parliament on Tuesday named as official leader of the opposition a member of the breakaway Sudan People's Liberation Movement-Democratic Change, an offshoot from the ruling SPLM party."