44 Organizations Urge Congressional Action on Atrocities Prevention Following Executive Order

June 6, 2016

Dear Member of Congress:

We, the 44 undersigned non-governmental organizations, are writing to urge Congress to act by passing the bipartisan Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, S.2551, which would provide the necessary authorities, oversight and resources to successfully implement a comprehensive atrocities prevention agenda.

As you may have seen, on March 18, 2016 President Obama issued Executive Order 13729, “A Comprehensive Approach to Atrocity Prevention and Response,” that fulfills the commitment made in April 2012 when the interagency Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) officially began its work. We welcome this action.

However, in order to fully implement the set of bipartisan policy recommendations requested by the Senate in 2010 – including the creation of the APB – Congress must pass S.2551. The bill provides a comprehensive framework for atrocity and conflict prevention by permanently authorizing the APB, establishing the Complex Crises Fund administered by USAID, mandating training for Foreign Service Officers, and requiring reporting from both the Department of State and Director of National Intelligence. All of these tools are necessary to better ensure the U.S. government has the capacities needed to most effectively prevent atrocities.

We write as a community of peace, security, religious, humanitarian and development organizations that defend human rights, provide critical humanitarian assistance, and promote peace in places like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria, Burma and elsewhere. We believe the APB is a critical structure that improves interagency coordination and prioritization on early prevention and the protection of civilians. The Board has already been an important catalyst in supporting atrocities prevention assessments and early action by the U.S. government in Burundi and Guinea, and it has raised the alarm in response to the outbreak of atrocities in Iraq and Central African Republic. We would be happy to come in to brief on our experiences in this regard at any time.

Congressional oversight and leadership is needed now to successfully stave off risks of current atrocities, and continue to improve the interagency architecture for preventing mass atrocities and genocide into the future. We urge your support for passage of the bipartisan Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, S.2551.

Sincerely,

Alliance for Peacebuilding
Armenian National Committee of America
Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation
Better World Campaign
Carl Wilkens Fellowship
Charity & Security Network
Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness
Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness & Action
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Darfur and Beyond
Disciples Center for Public Witness
Enough Project
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide
Humanity United
i-ACT
International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
International Crisis Group
International Justice Project
Invisible Children
Jewish World Watch
Mercy Corps
Minnesota Peace Project
Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
National Council of Churches, USA
Never Again Coalition
Operation Broken Silence
Pax Christi International
Peace Alliance
Peace Direct
Refugees International
Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative
Saferworld
San Antonio Coalition Against Genocide
Search for Common Ground
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
Stop Genocide Now
Student Peace Alliance
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
World Without Genocide at Mitchell Hamline School of Law