Posts tagged with "Amnesty International":

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SITU Research and Amnesty International’s new interactive platform maps atrocities in Myanmar

On Wednesday, SITU Research, an interdisciplinary practice within the Brooklyn-based firm SITU, launched a new collaboration with Amnesty International detailing the systematic destruction of the Rohingya Muslim population and its villages by the Myanmar military. This interactive digital platform weaves together evidence collected from maps, satellite images, testimonies, as well as verified photographs and videos to bring visibility to the atrocities. Designed as a map-based narrative, the platform zeros in on the weeks leading up to the violence that started on August 25, 2017 against the Rohingya people in the northern Rakhine State. It then unveils how and where the military deployed their abusive efforts as well as the recent construction taking place on top of the destroyed villages. In parallel with the platform, Amnesty released a 190-page report citing 13 Myanmar military and police officials as having played integral roles in these violent crimes. The human rights group claims to have evidence that crimes against humanity have been committed against the minority, and have forced over 702,000 people­—more than 80 percent the area’s Rohingya population—to flee into Bangladesh. The intensive research shown in the written report and storied on the platform is based on over 400 interviews as well as expert forensic and weapons analysis on the military’s “clearance operations” following the initial attacks. This is not the first comprehensive account of ethnic cleansing that SITU has helped make public. In late 2016, they teamed up with Amnesty to release their first interactive project together, a digital platform that charted 171 sites where war crimes were committed against civilians in the Jebel Marra region of Sudan. Brad Samuels, a founding partner of SITU Research, said his team originally got involved with Amnesty in order to increase public accessibility to this type of information. With substantial visual evidence, they wanted to present a new form of reporting that leverages the benefits of interactive media. “For us as architects and designers,” he said, “we’re interested in this sense of agency and using these kinds of tools and our skillsets to bring awareness to these types of larger, political issues. We use mapping, 3D modeling, and visual intelligence to create major impact in a new way.” Samuels leads SITU Research’s Spatial Practices as Evidence and Advocacy (SPEA) projects, which use data visualization and satellite mapping to advocate for awareness on human rights abuses around the world.
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Protesters Clash with Police over Public Space in Istanbul

In increasingly violent episodes, protesters clashed with police this week in a park located in one of Istanbul’s busiest commercial hubs. A crowd began to occupy the Taksim Gezi Park on Monday in an attempt to protect the public space and its trees from bulldozers that had begun to clear the site for construction of a shopping mall. On Thursday morning, police used tear gas on the crowd and set afire their tents. But crowds only increased during the next 24 hours, and an early morning teargas raid on Friday resulted in over 100 injuries, some serious, according to the Istanbul Medical Chamber. Occupation of the park, which is located near one of the city’s busiest commercial centers, quickly became symbolic of a much larger issue: the current government’s lack of tolerance for free speech in public. Attempts by the police to clear the occupiers over several days only drew larger and larger crowds in support the protesters. The Guardian noted that a dearth of coverage of this week’s events in the mainstream Turkish media suggested that the government led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had exerted undue influence over press and television to play down the unrest. The Taksim metro station was temporarily closed following the clashes. Amnesty International issued a release denouncing the actions of the police, while a joint statement of the groups Urban Movements Istanbul and Habitat International Coalition implored international press to shine a light on the events and also called on the Olympic Committee to remove Istanbul from its list of cities being considered for the summer 2020 games, arguing that photo and video documentation of the police violence “ are enough proof of how the government violates the ideals of the Olympics.” As of Friday evening, a local court had suspended further construction activity on the shopping mall, known as the Topçu Barracks Project after the army barracks originally housed on the site. Taksim Gezi Park, having been cleared by the police, remains closed to the public. But the protests, now anti-government in nature, have spread beyond the city to the Turkish capital of Ankara, where 5,000 people gathered in the streets on Friday. Al Jazeera followed the events on its live stream page.