The Early Warning System has four components beginning with:
A. Narrowing the research focus to a manageable number of likely locations where genocidal or pre-genocidal activities are likely to flare.
B. Intensive monitoring of this narrow sector of the human rights field.
C. Monitoring outreach to standard sources and the building of new field networks.
D. When Necessary, the emergency crisis procedure which includes:
II. Dissemination to policy makers
III. Follow up to check results
IV. Documentation of crisis response
It is during this first step of narrowing the focus that several factors are weighed. It is important that the Center narrow the scope of the large part of its research on between 8-15 hotspots. Even though the Center does not have the resources of a major human rights organization, it is able to fulfill its mission due to its focus on a limited number of hotspots. A preponderance of evidence of pre-genocidal abuse or indicators is the criteria for considering a remote area for concentrated research. There are four sets of indicators that are weighed. The presence of the first three set of indicators make the argument, in order of weighed importance, for assigning the area as an area of concentrated research and monitoring. The last set of indicators detract from the argument that the area should become or remain an area of concentration. These sets of indicators are:
Researchers read all Center paperwork, press releases, files and reports on the area to be monitored as well as received instruction and direction from executive staff and mentors or senior fellows at the Center. After immersing themselves in the background history, key players, nature of abuse, indicators of abuse and the present situation, the fellow or researcher will then familiarize themselves with the wire, list serve, media, UN and international resources available and begin monitoring these standard areas for indications of a worsening of the ground situation. Every day, whether at the Center or not, the researcher will check their list serves, messages and standard information sources on line to verify the ground status of their area of concentration. Each researcher is assigned a secondary area of concentration to serve as back up in case the primary researcher in that area is unavailable for an emergency in their area. This secondary area of concentration requires a somewhat less stringent but still thorough knowledge of the on the ground situation and the resources available for the emergency crisis procedure.
The Center must rely on individuals in or near these hotspots for verification of abuse or disturbance and for informing the Center when an emergency is unfolding. Neutral third party observers are used as sources in the field to report or verify massive human rights violations or ominous signs of abuse to come. The Center uses a variety of reliable and trustworthy sources including but not limited to, members of the media, Embassy staff, Un agencies, Relief organizations, other human rights organizations, missionaries as well as international business persons doing work in the area.
It is the responsibility of the Primary Human Rights Violation Monitor to contact the Center’s field sources, continue to develop a relationship with them, assess the level of information that may be available and to expand the Center’s contacts on the ground through the internet, phone and fax. The utmost care must be taken not to compromise the identity of any of these sources to anyone outside of the Center.
Occasionally a situation will heat up to a point where the Human Rights Violation Monitor will indicate a crisis may be brewing or unfolding. These crises usually take the form of a massacre or similar act of calamity beginning to unfold or being warned locally. Because of our sources close to the heart of the matter we are able to get a good feel for the situation sometimes days before it explodes and sometimes weeks before the policy makers are aware of it. This makes the service we provide unique and invaluable. If there appears to be a situation that may result in a precursor to genocidal conduct becoming genocidal or a clear deterioration in an area we are monitoring, the Human Rights Violation Monitor is required to inform the Director of the Center, or in his absence, a Board member or an appointed executive staff member. A decision will be made whether to invoke the emergency crisis procedure. The analogy of a fire engine company responding to almost every call is apt here as there are more false alarms than not, however, once invoked, the procedure should be followed through to its conclusion. The steps of the procedure (protocol) are: