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Editor’s Note: This post was written by Enough Project Intern Sophie Haggerty.
On February 11, the Senators Cardin (D-MD) and Tillis (R-NC), along with thirteen other Senators, introduced the Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2016, S. 2551. This legislation aims to help prevent acts of genocide and mass atrocities, which threaten national and international security, by enhancing United States civilian capacities to prevent and mitigate such crises.
A press announcement from Senator Cardin’s office on February 12 stated that “this bipartisan legislation ensures that the U.S. government works in a coordinated manner using its full range of tools, including diplomatic, political financial, and intelligence capabilities, to provide early warnings about at-risk communities and states in order to help prevent mass atrocities against civilians.”
The main features of the bill include the authorization of the Atrocities Prevention Board to advance an interagency effort to prevent mass atrocities and ensure a coordinated and effective response to emerging and ongoing atrocities, the authorization of the Complex Crises Fund to support emergency efforts to prevent or respond to emerging or unforeseen foreign complex crises overseas, including potential mass atrocities and conflict, and mandatory training for U.S. Foreign Service Officers to recognize warning signs and prevent atrocities.
The language of the bill also addresses the issue of atrocity financing, including a measure directing U.S. policy to be “promoting financial transparency and enhancing anti-corruption initiatives as part of addressing a root cause of insecurity.”
The bill is supported by over 60 organizations. As part of the Lemkin Summit to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities hosted by the Enough Project and Jewish World Watch, student advocates met with Members of Congress and their staff members to support congressional movement on this bill.
The Enough Project thanks Senators Cardin (D-MD), Tillis (R-NC), Murphy (D-CT), Menendez (D-NJ), Shaheen (D-NH), Brown (D-OH), Gillibrand (D-NY), Blumenthal (D-CT), Coons (D-DE), Mikulski (D-MD), Markey (D-MA), Merkley (D-OR), Boxer (D-CA), Casey (D-PA), and Warren (D-MA) for taking a leadership role in moving forward this legislation.
The full text of the Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act can be found here.