While only military intervention will stop genocide once the extermination phase has begun, there are many more non-violent measures which can disrupt the genocidal process before it reaches that point. The international community, in the form of national governments and organizations such as the United Nations, has the resources to implement preventive measures and intervene militarily. However, most governments and other organizations are reluctant to commit resources for civilian protection in countries where they have no national interests.
Fortunately, effective early warning means that civil society groups can play a strong role in preventing genocide without government support, if necessary. This is where the Sentinel Project has a role to play. By building a comprehensive understanding of the factors which make genocide likely in a given country, monitoring the operational processes underway, and identifying the key actors, we can devise preventive measures most likely to stop the genocidal process. Of course, genocide prevention is a complex and difficult task and we cannot do this independently so we will always consult with experts, other NGOs, and threatened communities themselves before taking action.
There are many examples of preventive measures and the best options will always depend on a specific situation. However, that does not mean that we need to completely start over with each new situation of concern (SOC). Instead, our goal is to build a “preventive toolbox” of general measures that can be customized for a variety of situations. Here are a few examples:
Many genocidal regimes in the past have been very cautious and sensitive to both public and foreign pressure while they were still in the process of planning and preparing to exterminate their victims. Therefore, carefully organized protests either within an at-risk country or abroad could discourage a government from continuing to pursue its genocidal goals.
Gathering information on leaders who appear intent on committing genocide and initiating legal proceedings may discourage their actions.
Identifying and countering websites that incite hatred could hinder the process that radicalizes people against other groups.
These are just a few examples but the options for preventive measures are only limited by the creativity and motivation of the people who resist genocide.
Many different organizations make up the anti-genocide movement all around the world. Read this section to learn how the Sentinel Project is unique and how we relate to all of the others working towards a world without genocide.