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February 12, 2016

Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act Introduced

Humanity United applauds Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) for the introduction of the Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (S. 2551). The U.S. government and the international community spend too much time responding to violent crises rather than working to prevent them. These late responses in the form of humanitarian assistance, costly mediations, and even military intervention costs billions of dollars and distract attention and resources away from identifying and responding to the risk of violence before it happens.

The Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (GAPA) makes three small but crucial steps to help shift the current model from response to prevention. First, it codifies the Atrocities Prevention Board (originally created in 2011) and brings high-level coordination and information sharing about at-risk countries and situations as soon as a risk for mass violence is identified. The Board has been active in conflicts in Burundi, Burma, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan, bringing much needed attention when they were not in the public eye. Second, it authorizes the Complex Crisis Fund to allow for flexible funding that enables the U.S. to preposition resources and respond quickly to any situation in danger of escalating into violence. Finally, the bill would require that Foreign Service Officers of the State Department receive training on atrocity prevention prior to deploying to any country where there is a risk for mass violence.

“This bill takes important and common sense actions that place a higher priority on preventing violent conflicts before they occur,” said Jesse Eaves, Director of Policy and Government Relations at Humanity United. “The U.S. has been a global leader in trying to shift the international community’s attention from responding after a crisis, to taking action before a crisis ever emerges. This bill allows us to bring the issue of prevention to the forefront, thus saving time, money, and most importantly lives”

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