Drawing upon the voices of cultural leaders to protect and assist the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced.
Not On Our Watch is a federally registered 501(c)3 charity.
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 new human rights project -- initiated by Not On Our Watch board member George Clooney -- will combine satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google's Map Maker technology to deter the resumption of war between North and South Sudan.
Launched today, the Satellite Sentinel Project will use satellite imagery analysis and crowd-sourced mapping to monitor the tense border between North and South Sudan.
The Satellite Sentinel Project is available at www.satsentinel.org. Follow the link for further info.
This op-ed, authored by board member John Prendergast, originally appeared in Foreign Affairs.
As a new wave of violent conflicts has ravaged Africa, borders and conventional peace processes have done little to contain them. A cold war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has spilled over into Somalia, where Eritrea has supported the jihadist group al Shabaab in its fight against the Ethiopian-backed government in Mogadishu. Meanwhile, the group has helped fuel the illegal ivory trade and launched terrorist attacks in neighboring Kenya, one of which killed 67 people in a Nairobi mall last fall. Sudan and South Sudan have supported insurgencies in each other’s backyards, and Sudanese Janjaweed militias have fought in eastern Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR). The Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group led by Joseph Kony, has sought refuge and wreaked havoc in the Democratic Republic of Congo, CAR, and South Sudan. And civil war in Congo has been the deadliest of them all, long subject to cross-border destabilization from Rwanda and Uganda.
Though the total number of damaged or destroyed homes is unknown, at least 10 huts were burned since February 9, 2014 in Duk Payuel, in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, as seen in satellite images reviewed by DigitalGlobe analysts. The area is home to the John Dau Foundation’s Duk Lost Boys Clinic and another project supported by former Lost Boy Joseph Akol Makeer: the African Heart American Soul Foundation's orphanage.
Over the past few days, Congress has been active in its response to the conflicts unfolding in both Sudan and South Sudan. In the House, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing on Sudan and South Sudan on Wednesday. In the Senate, Senator Cardin (MD) led a bipartisan Senate letter to the Administration. Sincemass atrocities and human rights abuses are being committed in both countries, the Enough Project applaudsthe Senate and the House’s sustained attention to both countries.
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.