The work done by UNOSAT at the height of the crisis in Kyrgyzstan has been used widely in human rights verifications. This confirms one of the early methodological innovations brought about by the UNOSAT team: prolonging the useful life of satellite derived information beyond the emergency phase.
In the case of Kyrgyzstan , Human Rights Watch has been benefitting from the high resolution imagery used by UNOSAT over cities affected by urban violence to discuss directly with survivors the details of events occurred during the violence outbreak. This underscores the power of satellite analysis in a range of human security situations.
UNOSAT is regularly involved in human security analysis in addition to its well known efforts to support the humanitarian community for emergency relief and damage assessment. The Team has been applying both standard and new types of analysis to cases like the one of Kyrgyzstan to facilitate the work of UN agencies and NGOs, developing specific methodologies applicable to human rights contexts.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been using the work of UNOSAT over Kyrgyzstan both internally and during press conferences. Some of the satellite images are also included in a video posted on the HRW website. In addition other images are part of a brochure about the events published in August 2010.
Local residents in Osh commenting satellite imagery taken prior and after the violence outbreaks in Kyrgyzstan (photo courtesy of Human Rights Watch)
One field official at HRW commented “I gave some copies to residents of Shark village (OSH), the area depicted on the sat imagery that you provided. The reaction was absolutely amazing. They were fascinated by the before and after sat images of their neighborhood”.
At the peak of each emergency both funding and media coverage are widely available. Typically in the area of geographic information this elicit response from a variety of projects and research entities and even volunteers keen on demonstrating the use of space assets in real life scenarios. After the acute emergency, though, the generation of accurate information tends to become scarce as public interest wanes and funding opportunities decrease. UNOSAT shows its accountability and professional responsibility by striving to cover the full crisis management cycle especially in human security contexts.