By Emily Brandon
Marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced Senate Resolution 413 on April 7. S. Res. 413 commemorates and honors the lives of those affected, and expresses support for the people of Rwanda on this day. The resolution condemns ongoing atrocities perpetrated against civilians in Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan, and elsewhere, while strengthening the U.S. commitment to prevent future acts of genocide and mass atrocities. Senators Shaheen and Cardin have since joined as cosponsors.
Though no consolation to the families of those lost, the world has the responsibility to fulfill the promise of ‘never again.’ It is my hope that the memory of the Rwandan genocide will continue to embolden world leaders to act decisively in the face of genocide and mass atrocities, compelling us to act to protect civilians and prevent the loss of innocent lives.”
The resolution affirms that it is in U.S. interest to work closely with international partners and “urges President Obama to confer with Congress on an ongoing basis regarding the priorities and objectives of the Atrocities Prevention Board.”
The aim of the resolution is ensuring that the U.S. continues to take a leading role in preventing genocide and mass atrocities. Senator Flake, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, stressed the importance of continuing “United States’ commitment to working with the international community to prevent mass atrocities and protecting populations at risk of crimes against humanity.” The act reaffirms U.S. government support for “initiatives to ensure that victims of genocide and mass atrocities are not forgotten.”
The Enough Project, alongside other other NGOs, welcomes the introduction of S. Res. 413. In a public letter thanking Senators Menendez, Coons, and Flake for their leadership, these organization recognize that “atrocity prevention is a national foreign policy priority.”
As asserted in the Resolution, the enhancement of U.S. and international efforts is a key piece in ending atrocities in Syria, South Sudan, Sudan and Central African Republic and recognizing the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda is an important step.