Satellite images catch human-rights violations

Human rights groups are using commercial satellite imagery to document recent human-rights abuses in Burma.  Via the MIT Technology Review:

Backing up human-rights reports that the Burmese military is razing villages of ethnic minorities and herding people into areas under tighter military control, an analysis of satellite images shows chilling scenes of bare ground where villages once stood, new settlements near military camps, and swelling refugee camps just across the border, in Thailand. The new analysis was done by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and human-rights groups.

2 thoughts on “Satellite images catch human-rights violations”

  1. Yes, but what practical difference will it make to the people on the ground? The Myanmar regime is pretty well indifferent to world opinion, and I seriously doubt anyone is willing to take up arms to defend those people.

  2. I suspect you are tragically correct. I posted this because I found satellite imagery being used in this manner as an interesting cultural adaptation of technology – I’m sure the commercial enterprises that put these satellites into orbit never suspected that they would be used in this way. To paraphrase William Gibson, “the street finds its own use for technology.” The fact that the atrocities of the Myanmar government are documented in such an incontrovertible manner also serves to take away any rhetorical cover our local governments might try to employ, such as, “we didn’t know the extent of the abuses,” when they explain why they did nothing.

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