The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (S. 1158 in the Senate and HR 3030 in the House) has strong bipartisan support. If it passes, the Act would strengthen the U.S. government’s ability to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities around the world. We need your help to get it passed. Send a message to your Representatives and Senators now and ask them to co-sponsor the Act!
The bill is in both the House and the Senate, so there are TWO actions you should take, one to urge passage through each chamber. This is how a bill becomes a law!
What is the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act?
If the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act becomes law, the Act would do a few key things:
- Create a Mass Atrocities Task Force
The Secretary of State would be instructed to establish a high-level interagency task force to help the U.S. government better coordinate across various agencies and departments to improve the government’s ability to respond and prevent genocide and mass atrocities.
- Authorize the Complex Crises Fund (CCF)
The CCF is a flexible spending account used by USAID and the State Department to bolster prevention efforts and rapidly respond to unforeseen conflicts.
- Provide training for Foreign Service Officers to better recognize the early warning signs of violent conflict, mass atrocities, and genocide.
- Require annual reporting by the Director of National Intelligence on the countries and regions most at risk of mass atrocities, and a report by the Secretary of State every three years evaluating the U.S. government’s efforts to prevent genocide and mass atrocities and recommendations for improvement.
In introducing the bill, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said:
Atrocity crimes tragically persist around the globe, from Syria and South Sudan to Burma and Iraq. This bill, named in honor of the courageous, inspiring Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, strengthens the U.S. government’s infrastructure to prevent, mitigate, and respond to genocide and other mass atrocities wherever they may occur. Our values and national security interests require us to ensure that the United States utilizes the full arsenal of diplomatic, economic, and legal tools to take meaningful action before atrocities occur. The United States must do a better job of responding earlier and more effectively to these heinous crimes.
Senator Todd Young (R-IN), an original cosponsor of the Act and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said:
The United States has a moral and strategic imperative to help prevent and respond to acts of genocide and other mass atrocities, and this legislation would ensure the U.S. government is better prepared to fulfill this serious responsibility. This bipartisan legislation would help the United States put the commitment of ‘Never Again’ into action.
In introducing the bill in the House, Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) said:
From the Holocaust to South Sudan, from Burma to Syria, the world has witnessed far too many genocides and mass atrocity crimes. The true horror is that most of these devastating crises are preventable. My heart aches for those whose lives are being torn apart, and the fact that over 65 million people are currently fleeing preventable crises makes clear that the U.S. Government must improve its response to these conflicts.
Original cosponsor Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY-14) said:
Atrocities and violence committed over the last century and today, make it all the more important that our government and leaders take steps to detect and prevent atrocities before they start in the first place. Once major conflict breaks out it becomes much more difficult to address so developing the structures needed to prevent conflict is essential. We need a framework to stop violence before it spirals out of control and leads to more suffering.
In this opinion article in The Hill, our Director of Advocacy and Programs, Mike Brand, and Claude Gatebuke, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the African Great Lakes Action Network (AGLAN), make the argument that “Preventing Genocide Shouldn’t be a Partisan Issue” and encourages passage of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act. Read and share the article.