Satellites 'watching from the sky' for human-rights abuses


Satellite images confirm reports earlier this year of
burned villages, forced relocations and other human-rights abuses in
Myanmar, scientists said Friday.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science said the
high-resolution photographs taken by commercial satellites document a
growing military presence at 25 sites across eastern Myanmar, matching
eyewitness reports.
“We found evidence of 18 villages that essentially disappeared,” AAAS
researcher Lars Bromley said in an interview.
“We got reporting in late April that a set of villages in Karen state
had been burned. We were actually able to identify burn scars on the
ground — square-shaped burn scars the size of houses.”
Myanmar, formerly Burma, is suffering its worst unrest since a 1988
rebellion by students and monks.
The military government in the poor and isolated Southeast Asian
country has long been accused of repression.
Aung Din, policy director for the U.S. Campaign for Burma activist
group, said his organization will use the evidence to pressure
Myanmar’s government, which last week began a violent crackdown to
quell protests led by Buddhist monks.
“We are trying to send a message to the military junta that we are
watching from the sky,” he told reporters in a conference call.
He said the images also will be used to pressure the Chinese
government to support UN sanctions against the junta.
Din said the satellite images corroborate reports by refugees and
human-rights activists, who say abuses have been going on in many
parts of the country for years.
The researchers are now gathering satellite images of major cities
inside Myanmar.
“As most communication links from these cities are cut, these images
— if they come through —will be one of the few ways to understand
the level of deployment of the military regime,” Bromley told

Author: EARSC

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