AAAS investigates forced eviction in Nairobi using satellite imagery

Publish Date: 
Monday, June 9, 2014

At the request of Amnesty International, USA, the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) used satellite imagery to investigate eight reports of forced evictions in Nairobi, Kenya. AIUSA identified five locations from which residents reported being forced to leave their homes between June 29, 2011 and April 2, 2012. In total, AAAS was able to confirm the destruction of approximately 3,966 structures.

Methodology: AAAS based their analyses on of six images of Nairobi, Kenya and its surrounding suburban areas between 2011 and 2013. Using a baseline image from June 30, 2011 and a subsequent image from September 4, 2012 to quantify the demolitions, AAAS counted individual structures at each site before and after the reported forced evictions.

Findings: The imagery analysis confirmed reports of five forced removal events in three locations: Mitumba, Syokima, and Kenya Ports Authority; however, forced relocations at the Embakasi and Kyong’ombe locations could not be confirmed because the initial removal of the structures occurred on June 29, 2011, one day prior to the first available image.

This case study is one of over thirty AAAS has produced through their Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project. Through the application of these geospatial technologies, such as the analysis of satellite imagery, human rights organizations, courts, and commissions are able to more effectively monitor and investigate human rights abuses.