Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Human Rights IT Tools to Map Darfur Genocide

The magazine Scientific American reports that Google and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum have launched an online mapping project to provide evidence of atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. Many human rights groups have called the mass killings at the hands of Sudan government-sponsored militia a form of "genocide".

"Using high-resolution imagery [from Google Earth], users can zoom into Darfur to view more than 1,600 damaged or destroyed villages, providing what the Holocaust Museum says is evidence of the genocide".
The BBC News service reports today in an article entitled Google Earth turns spotlight on Darfur that the project promoters hope people will put pressure on their governments to stop the violence that has killed 200,000 people and chased millions from their homes:

"Each information screen has a link for people to follow for advice on what they can do to help - including writing letters to politicians".

"And with some 200 million people using Google Earth over the past two years, the scheme's potential reach is huge".

"The museum's Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiative - which aims to halt violence before it becomes genocide - could be extended to other conflicts in the future".
Earlier Library Boy posts about the use of computer tools for human rights include:
  • Helping Citizens in Repressive Societies Get Around Censorship (Feberuary 13, 2006): "The blog Slaw has an item today about Psiphon, a tool developed by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab to help people circumvent government Internet restrictions in repressive countries."
  • Computer Geeks Track Human Rights Abuses (February 14, 2006): "Wired News has printed some fascinating articles about the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) that builds computer databases and conducts statistical analysis on the data collected to build objective evidence of human rights abuses. HRDAG works with international human rights investigations."
  • Information Standards for Human Rights Violations Classification and Reporting (July 20, 2006): "HURIDOCS focuses on providing training for information and human rights workers who require techniques for the collection, organization and classification, preservation, and management of human rights abuse information.Tools include training materials for indexing and thesaurus building, standardized formats for the exchange of bibliographic information and metadata about human rights, proposed methodologies for monitoring and reporting abuses (standard ways of describing events, victims, acts, identities of perpetrators), etc."
  • Tools to Monitor Human Rights (July 25, 2006): "Human Rights Tools was set up by former workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (...) The site is aimed at professionals monitoring human rights and offers resources and training manuals for investigating political, social and humanitarian conditions in countries, documenting the human rights situation, using international law, planning, finding jobs and training opportunities in the human rights field..."
  • New International Human Rights Search Engine (December 19, 2006): "A new human rights topical search engine called HuriSearch was launched in early December as a joint project of FAST, a major enterprise search solutions company, and the Swiss-based HURIDOCS organization, which brings together monitoring and fact-finding practitioners, documentalists and librarians - to develop information management tools for human rights groups."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:42 pm


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