Earlier today, LookToTheStars.org brought you a story about George Clooney's new initiative to bring peace to Sudan through www.satsentinel.org. He has released this personal message – with John Prendergast – on what he hopes to achieve.
“A new state is being born in Southern Sudan against a backdrop of decades of war between the South and North of Sudan. A peace deal in 2005 ended the latest round of open conflict, but the possibility of a return to war remains high as Southern Sudan prepares for independence.
“One of the biggest risks in this dangerous moment is that an incident on the highly armed border could lead to wider conflict. The government in Khartoum has armed militias in contested bordering regions, the government air force has bombed border areas, and both sides have massed military units and equipment along the hottest border spots.
“These areas have witnessed some of the most deadly conflict in the world since World War II. The former director of national intelligence says that Southern Sudan is the place in the world most likely to experience genocide.
“We can’t allow another deadly war, and we surely cannot stand by in the face of a genocide threat.
“We were late to Rwanda. We were late to the Congo. We were late to Darfur. There is no time to wait. With your support, we will swiftly call the world to witness and respond. We aim to provide an ever more effective early-warning system: better, faster visual evidence and on-the-ground reporting of human rights concerns to facilitate better, faster responses.
“This is why we have launched the Satellite Sentinel Project. There has never been a sustained effort to systematically monitor potential hot spots and threats to human security, in near real-time, with the aim of heading off humanitarian disaster and war crimes before they occur.
“Previously, when mass atrocities occurred in Darfur, the Government of Sudan denied its involvement. Since photographers could not get access, it took years to amass evidence of genocide. But now we can witness in near real-time and put all parties on notice that if they commit war crimes, we will all be watching, and pressuring policymakers to take action.
“We want to cast a spotlight – literally – on the hot spots along the border to record any actions that might escalate the chances of conflict. We hope that if many eyes are on the potential spoilers, we can all help detect, deter and interdict actions that could lead to a return to deadly violence. At the very least, if war crimes do occur, we’ll have plenty of evidence of the actions of the perpetrators to share with the International Criminal Court and the UN Security Council.
“The world is watching because you are watching. This is our opportunity to prevent a war, to deter genocide. Make your voice heard.”
SatSentinel.org is an unprecedented collaboration between Not On Our Watch – the human rights organization co-founded by actor and Sudan advocate George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, producer Jerry Weintraub and human rights lawyer David Pressman – and the ENOUGH Project, an anti-genocide group.
Visit www.satsentinel.org here.