Music television channel MTV and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, are teaming up with George Clooney and the Satellite Sentinel Project – along with Not on Our Watch, the Enough Project, Google, the United Nations UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and Trellon – by calling on young people to help deter violence in Sudan, and send a loud message: that “the world is watching.”
On January 9, 2011, southern Sudan began a week-long vote on independence from the rest of the country and analysts have warned that this could plunge the country back into civil war. MTV and mtvU will promote the Satellite Sentinel Project across an array of on-air and online properties, encouraging young people to become peace monitors, inform their friends of the latest happenings in Sudan and be prepared to mobilise support should violence emerge.
"Satellite Sentinel Project welcomes MTV and its viewers – who have been standing up for years to end human rights crimes in Darfur and southern Sudan – to our early warning system team," said Clooney, who initiated the project.
In order to generate rapid responses to human rights concerns, the Satellite Sentinel Project combines satellite imagery analysis, field reports and crowd-sourced map data from Google Map Maker to prevent violence, and focuses world attention on Sudan. The project uses commercial satellites passing over the border of northern and southern Sudan to capture possible threats to civilians, observe the movement of displaced people, detect bombed and razed villages, or note other evidence of pending mass violence.
The Satellite Sentinel Project marks the first sustained, public effort to systematically monitor and report on potential hotspots and threats to security along a border, in near real-time (within 24 to 36 hours), with the aim of heading off humanitarian disaster and human rights crimes before they occur.
The project's funder, Not On Our Watch – cofounded by Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman and Jerry Weintraub – focuses global attention and resources toward putting an end to mass atrocities around the world.