In recognition of April as the Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, the Alliance for Peacebuilding urges Congress to pass the bipartisan Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017 (H.R. 3030, S 1158). This legislation provides additional tools for dealing with ongoing and potential atrocities around the globe. It establishes a Mass Atrocities Task Force, requires training for Foreign Service Officers in addressing early warning signs of violent conflict and atrocities, requires US government reporting and sets up a Complex Crises Fund.
After the Holocaust, the United States and the international community vowed to “never again” stand by in the face of such atrocities. But since then, we have failed to act quickly and effectively to halt mass violence- in Cambodia in the 1970’s, Bosnia in the 1990’s, Rwanda in 1994, or currently in Syria, Yemen, and Myanmar. We need to find better ways of preventing mass violence and addressing its precursors, such as systemic discrimination and hate crimes, whenever and wherever they occur -including in our own country. The Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act is an important step in this direction.