Discovering the controversy and challenges of geospatial mapping and data gathering on North Korean Human Rights.

Franklin University Switzerland’s Academic Division of Communication, History and Politics features an engaging and singular topic for its first 2021 lecture series: “Looking at North Korea from the Sky: Geospatial Mapping in North Korean Human Rights Monitoring”.

Join Dr. Sarah Son – The University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies – on February 2, 2021, at 7 p.m. on this online Zoom event, exploring East Asian politics from a satellite perspective.

Dr. Son completed her PhD on identity and inter-Korean relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 2014, and has ever since been dedicated to North Korean human rights issues and abuse. She was stationed in South Korea for 5 years working for the non-profit sector researching, monitoring and investigating on North Korean escapees, international human rights norms and multiculturalism policy.

In this presentation, she explains how Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) technology has come to the aid of gathering data and verifying incidents of human rights abuses in North Korea. Lacking access to the country and given the difficulties of verifying testimonies of escapees, organizations have turned to hybrid methodologies like GIS, pairing them with testimonial data. These applications have improved mapping nuclear weapons, missile development sites and documenting locations of state-led killings and burials. It has however also sparked controversy on analytical error and the possibility of flawed analysis. International Relations research focuses on securitization has critically highlighted the contributions of policy and activism based on satellite imagery driven analysis.

Let us follow Dr. Son's focus on recording human rights violations in North Korea, and understand how current and future technologies will be decisive in pursuing accountability for these abuses.

Join the lecture