For Immediate Release
New Satellite Images Reveal Continuing Human Rights Atrocities in Darfur, Amnesty International Says
Evidence Collected Shows Whole Villages Burned to the Ground
WASHINGTON - New satellite image analysis
released today shows that while international attention is focused
on the South Sudan referendum, grave violations of human rights continue
in neighboring Darfur. Images secured by Amnesty International USA (AIUSA)
and analyzed with partners from the American Association for the Advancement
of Science (AAAS) show irrefutably that civilians were targeted in the
Negeha region of south Darfur with whole villages burned to the ground
as recently as December. According to Amnesty International, in December
alone, more than 20,000 people were displaced by government attacks, including
in Dar Al Salam, Shangil Tobaya and Khor Abeche displacement camps in north
and south Darfur.
Scott Edwards, AIUSA Advocacy Director for
Africa, stated: "While the world has understandably turned a hopeful eye
to the referendum process, the satellite evidence collected from the Negeha
region of Darfur demonstrates what happens when vigilant attention
wanes and support for accountability cedes to political or diplomatic expediency."
The imagery and analysis corroborate reports
of attacks against civilians in Negeha in December 2010, just a few weeks
before the referendum in South Sudan took place.
The release of the findings coincides with
other recent high profile uses of satellite imagery in connection with
the referendum, and builds on Amnesty International's three-year-old Eyes
on Darfur (www.eyesondarfur.com)
satellite project. It is a continuation of several years of work by Amnesty
International to use geospatial tools for human rights monitoring.
"Unless the international community demands
accountability for the atrocities and ensures that those responsible do
not evade justice, these images will serve only as a reminder of the
world's collective failure and responsibillity to the victims in Darfur,"
Arrest warrants for President Omar al Bashir
and several Sudanese officials and militia leaders have been issued by
the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes
against humanity, and in the case of the president, genocide.
Despite these warrants, international actors
and the Sudanese government are failing in their obligations to cooperate
with the court, and arrest those indicted. Most recently, Amnesty International
expressed outrage after the United Nations not only failed to arrest Governor
Ahmed Haroun-indicted for the alleged recruitment, funding and arming
of the "Janjaweed" militia in Darfur-but actually provided helicopter
transport for the governor to attend a meeting.
"When the United Nations Mission in Sudan
gives a ride to one of the alleged architects of systematic murder, rape,
and torture in Darfur, we have to question the current state of commitment
to justice for Darfur. It then becomes easier to understand why the crimes
documented in the Negeha analysis continue unabated. Impunity-that's
what the satellite imagery currently shows," said Edwards.
AIUSA calls on the U.S. government to step
up its diplomatic support for the ICC and justice in Darfur, and reiterates
that all states and concerned regional and other international organizations
must fully cooperate with the ICC Prosecutor. Those in a position to do
so must arrest indictees and surrender them to the Court for trial.
A short summary report and analysis on the
satellite imagery is available. Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150,
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