Preventing Mass Atrocities: US Progress


Mass Atrocities Can Be Prevented

Three years after President Obama made a commitment to prevent mass atrocities as a core national security interest and core moral responsibility, the United States of America today stated that it has achieved significant progress in bringing atrocities prevention into the mainstream of its foreign policy process.

In her remarks in Washington DC, Under Secretary Sarah Sewall for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Council on Foreign Relations said the establishment of Atrocities Prevention Board, commonly referred to inside the government as the APB, has strengthened the State Department’s internal response to mass atrocities and to build a closer relationship with its prevention partner.

Hungarian Jews are selected by Nazis to be sent to the gas chamber at Auschwitz concentration camp, May/June 1944.

In addition, the U.S. Government has refined and expanded tools to prevent atrocities. To cite an example, atrocity prevention is also becoming integrated into it embassy-level work where frontline officers are now often the first to sense and report on emerging atrocity risks.

Atrocities Prevention Board Makes a Difference

Under Secretary Sewall said the APB brings together senior officials from across government to focus and coordinate their efforts.

The interagency forum serves a horizon-scanning function by identifying atrocity risks and then developing coordinated, whole-of-government responses to mitigate them.

Every month, a part of an early warning exercise, the intelligence community helps the APB identify countries experiencing or at greatest risk of atrocities.

Then, the APB has an opportunity to consider which cases need additional policy focus and bears down on one or two at-risk countries in particular.

US committed to becoming a global leader in preventing large-scale violence against civilians worldwide

President Barack Obama has identified the prevention of mass atrocities as a core national security interest and core moral responsibility. The US leader made clear that the U.S. cannot and should not intervene militarily every time there is an injustice or an imminent atrocities threat. Instead encouraged and obliged the U.S. government to use its full arsenal of tools, including diplomatic, political, financial, intelligence, and law enforcement capabilities to prevent these crimes.

In addition, President Obama took a bold step in 2012 by elevating concern about mass atrocities as a foreign policy priority. He stressed that atrocity prevention is not just a matter of values but also an issue of national security.

In addition, President Obama also expanded grounds to deny visas to serious human rights violators and war criminals and to isolate those who engage in or conspire to commit atrocities.

The United States says it is deeply committed to ensuring that no individual, now or in the future, sees a path to power in division and death.

“It can be tempting to throw up our hands and resign ourselves to man’s endless capacity for cruelty.” -President Obama

However, the US leaders reminded that Elie Wiesel and other holocaust survivors chose never to give up. Nor can the United States of America.

Why Atrocities Prevention Board Matters?

The Atrocities Prevention Board is a new interagency body formed on April 23, 2012. The board aims to ensure that genocide and mass atrocity prevention are a priority at the highest levels of the U.S. government. In addition, it aims to provide a comprehensive whole-of-government approach to identify and address atrocity threats and oversee institutional changes to prevent genocide and mass atrocities.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.