Satellite Sentinel News Roundup 8/26

Satellite Sentinel Project captures the attention of major media around the world, using satellite imagery and ground-based reporting to focus attention on and promote accountability for mass atrocities in Sudan and South Sudan. Here is a round-up of recent, select media coverage of SSP.

The latest SSP report generated coverage by media outlets around the world, and has been translated into numerous languages including Spanish, Dutch, French, and Indonesian.

On Wednesday, August 24, The New York Times published “Images Show Mass Graves in Sudan, Group Says.” The article was a top story in Wednesday’s edition of the New York Times, and appeared as a top story on its SmartPhone app (source).

In a report scheduled to be published Wednesday, the Satellite Sentinel Project contends that as many as eight mass graves have been dug in the area since June, including two new sites discovered in the past week. It says the images show body bags, vehicles and machinery used to dispose of the dead.

On August 24, MSNBC’s Today News, website of the Today Show, posted a big feature, “George Clooney-backed group: 2 more mass graves found in Sudan,” with substantial supporting visuals (source).

Satellite imagery had revealed the existence of two more mass graves in a contested region of Sudan, bringing the total number of mass graves sited there to eight, a U.S. monitoring group said Wednesday...The evidence against the Sudanese government continues to compound and has now become impossible to dismiss. It is time for the international community to take serious action and execute its responsibility to protect innocent lives in Sudan," said John Prendergast, co-founder of the activist group the Enough Project.

Also on August 24, CNN covered the new Satellite Sentinel Project report, in its article "Satellite project: Images show more mass graves in Sudan," which includes details on the Sudanese government's response, noting "Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir rejected the findings as propaganda from the west" (source).

This report presents more visual evidence and new information by eyewitnesses ... of the collection and burial of human remains wrapped in tarps and/or body bags by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society," it said in a statement.

On August 24, Reuters featured an article by Lous Charbonneau, "Sudan says no proof of mass graves in conflict area," discussing the government of Sudan's denial of mass graves, and emphasis on the unilateral two week ceasefire (source).

"People should concentrate on what is positive," [Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Osman]said. "What has happened has happened."

Bashir also said that foreign organizations would not be allowed into Southern Kordofan and that any aid would be delivered only through the Sudanese Red Crescent organization.

Jane's filed a story on August 24 by Lauren Gelfand, quoting Enough Project Director of Communications Jonathan Hutson.

"The presence of eight mass graves in and around Kadugli, capital of the conflict-torn region, along with multiple witness reports, points to a state-sponsored ethnic cleansing campaign to rid the Nuba Mountains of the Nuba people,” he said. “This campaign has included indiscriminate shelling, aerial bombing of civilians in 10 towns and villages, and death squads searching house-to-house for Nuba people thought to support the Sudan People's Liberation Movement."

The Associated Press also covered Wednesday's SSP report in an article by Jason Straziuso. The story was picked up by numerous news outlets including CBS, MSNBC, The Washington Post, and dozens more, both in the US and abroad (source).

A U.S. monitoring group said Wednesday that satellite imagery had revealed the existence of two more mass graves in a contested region of Sudan, bringing the total number of mass graves sited there to eight.

On August 24, an article by Andrew Meldrum on GlobalPost, "Sudan: Clooney's group makes new charges of mass graves," reported on Satellite Sentinel Project's most recent release, as well as the Government of Sudan's response. The article is accompanied by a powerful image slideshow (source).

The Sudan government killed large numbers of civilians in troubled South Kordofan state and the bodies were buried in mass graves by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, according to the Satellite Sentinel Project.

The new charges and evidence of mass human rights atrocities committed by the Sudan government in South Kordofan province are expected to increase calls on the United Nations to take action to protect civilian lives.

On Thursday, August 25, Voice of Russia conducted an interview with Nathaniel Raymond, Director of Operations for the Satellite Project at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, during which Raymond spoke about the recent evidence of human rights atrocities detected by the Satellite Sentinel Project and the project overall. (source)

"At this point, with eight graves are allegedly identified in the past approximately month and a half, we are worried that there are many more. And each report is a result of not just satellite imagery, it's the result of eye-witness account and other reporting and information gathering by Sentinel beyond the satellites."

Also on Thursday, Council on Foreign Relations Fellow John Campbell published a blog post, "South Sudan: Far From a ‘Peaceable Kingdom’" citing SSP and expanding on the ethnic nature of the conflict. (source)

Yesterday, the Satellite Sentential Project published evidence of mass graves in South Kordofan, which should remind the international community that South Sudan's independence has not stanched the bloodshed in the region.

Some of the violence is caused by unfinished business related to South Sudan's independence from Khartoum on July 9, such as contested territory along the still-undelineated frontier -- about twenty percent of the total...But, murder and kidnapping in nearby South Sudan can also be related to ethnic conflicts -- and the appeal of rustling, where cattle is a measure of wealth and is the currency of bride price and dowry.