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February 01, 2017 Features

SciTech Invites You to Help Support High-Tech Humanitarian Efforts

By Peter J. Gillespie

SciTech members have recognized that science and technology can play a very important role in global humanitarian activities. In an effort to make a positive difference and to support global humanitarian advocacy efforts, Cynthia Cwik, Immediate Past Chair of SciTech, and Monica Barone, Senior Legal Counsel at Qualcomm, have teamed up to lead the SciTech in the Service of Human Rights Initiative. Cynthia is particularly passionate about these efforts: “Humanitarian organizations are increasingly relying on innovations in technology to assist them with their work. We at SciTech would like to lend our experience and expertise to bolster these efforts.”

Currently, SciTech’s Initiative is focusing on a few related organizations: Not On Our Watch (NOOW), the Enough Project, and The Sentry. NOOW is a nongovernmental international relief organization that has the goal of preventing mass atrocities around the world through advocacy and research.1 NOOW develops projects to bring global attention to forgotten international crises, such as the situation in Darfur, which has been called the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

The Enough Project seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities.2 As described on its website, Enough aims to counter human rights abuses involving armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough also conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns.

The Sentry is an initiative of NOOW and the Enough Project.3 The Sentry was cofounded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, who was featured in a SciTech Profile in the Winter 2016 issue of The SciTech Lawyer.4 The Sentry uses open source data collection, field research, and state-of-the-art network data analysis technology, and works in partnership with local and international civil society organizations, journalists, and governments to track and analyze how armed conflict and atrocities are financed, sustained, and monetized. The Sentry then provides investigative and analytical reports that engage civil society and the media, support regulatory action and prosecutions, and provide policymakers with the information needed to take effective action.

In another example of how technology has assisted global human rights efforts, Mr. Prendergast and Mr. Clooney previously founded the Satellite Sentinel Project, which worked with the Enough Project and used satellite imagery to detect and deter war crimes and crimes against humanity.5 The Satellite Sentinel Project focused worldwide attention on mass atrocities in Sudan by using photographic evidence of mass graves, aerial bombings, village burnings, and other atrocities.

Mr. Prendergast and these organizations have also worked with corporate social responsibility departments at many high-tech and communications companies in the United States to reduce or eliminate their use of raw materials sourced from parts of the world where the profits from raw materials are used to fund war efforts.

As a part of these efforts, SciTech was proud to arrange for John Hursh, a policy analyst with the Enough Project, to be the speaker at SciTech’s business luncheon at the ABA Midyear meeting in Miami on February 3, 2017. Mr. Hursh provided SciTech with further information about how the ABA and the legal community can support these humanitarian efforts. SciTech is also working with the ABA Rule of Law Initiative and the ABA Center for Human Rights.

We invite you to join these important efforts. Please contact Cynthia Cwik at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering.


1. Not On Our Watch, http://notonour (last visited Feb. 14, 2017).

2. Enough Project, http://www.enough (last visited Feb. 14, 2017).

3. The Sentry, (last visited Jan. 30, 2017).

4. Available at scitech_lawyer/2016/2016marchcwik. authcheckdam.pdf.

5. Satellite Sentinel Project, (last visited Feb. 14, 2017).

Peter J. Gillespie

Peter J. Gillespie ([email protected]) is of counsel at Laner Muchin, Ltd. in Chicago. He is the Chair of SciTech’s Membership and Diversity Committee.