Early Warning for Protection

Deka Abdullahi, aged 24 pictured with her child, Rahma Mohammed, aged five in IFO extension camp, Dadaab. Photo: Chee Chee Leung/OxfamAUS

Technologies and practice for the prevention of mass atrocity crimes

The Early Warning for Protection conference was developed and implemented by Oxfam Australia in partnership with AusAID, the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, The University of Queensland and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect. Hld in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 3-4 November 2010, the conference brought together non-government organisations and civil society organisations working with communities under threat of violence, with United Nations (UN) actors and technology specialists to explore ways to prevent mass atrocities.

An outcome document has been prepared from the conference and can be downloded below.

Conference presentations

You can download summaries of each conference session below.


In November 2009, a civil society workshop was held in Melbourne, Australia, exploring the role of NGOs in the prevention of atrocity crimes. One of the key elements of concern that arose from that workshop was the need for better integrated early warning systems and improved policy and program response to early warnings when they are raised. Read the outcome document from this workshop.

This Early Warning for Protection conference emerged as a result of that prior work and aimed to explore how private, public and civil society institutions could harness early warning technologies and mechanisms to contribute to the prevention of mass atrocity crimes.

The conference explored a number of issues.

  • What is the role of new technologies in conflict early warning and how do they interact with more traditional monitoring systems?
  • How can we harness, coordinate, and utilise the sometimes overwhelming amount of information available?
  • What systems and mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure effective early-warning is given?
  • How does the humanitarian sector work effectively with communities at risk once early-warning has been sounded?
  • How can a change in attitude and behaviour at a policy level be brought about in a way that forestalls a descent to violence?

The conference falls within the context of the international community’s Responsibility to Protect, which is an emerging international principle developed to protect vulnerable populations from genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.

Download select presentations and presenter publications here: