On April 23, 2012 at the United States Holocaust Museum, President Obama spoke about honoring the pledge of “never again” and announced steps the United States will take to strengthen its ability to foresee, prevent, and respond to genocide and mass atrocities. [Watch the video, read the transcript, or check out the White House fact sheet.]
The steps are based on recommendations from the Presidential Study Directive 10, which declares the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide to be a “core national security interest and core moral responsibility” of the United States:
“Our security is affected when masses of civilians are slaughtered, refugees flow across borders, and murderers wreak havoc on regional stability and livelihoods. America's reputation suffers, and our ability to bring about change is constrained, when we are perceived as idle in the face of mass atrocities and genocide. Unfortunately, history has taught us that our pursuit of a world where states do not systematically slaughter civilians will not come to fruition without concerted and coordinated effort.”
The President announced that the State Department “will increase its ability to surge our diplomats and experts in a crisis .” Civilian responders from the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) have helped protect civilians and hold perpetrators of atrocities accountable in many of the places President Obama addressed. You can read more about our work in places like South Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Central Africa on our website.