U.S. Strategy to Anticipate, Prevent, and Respond to Atrocities

Executive Summary

President Biden has affirmed that atrocity prevention and the promotion of respect for human rights are central to U.S. national security, stating, “I recommit to the simple truth that preventing future genocides remains both our moral duty and a matter of national and global importance…. When hatred goes unchecked, and when the checks and balances in government and society that protect fundamental freedoms are lost, violence and mass atrocities can result.” Atrocities inflict long-term trauma and destroy lives and communities. Atrocities may violate international human rights law, contribute to widespread displacement, regional and international instability, and economic disruption, and threaten U.S. and partner nations’ security and interests. As set forth in Executive Order 13729, A Comprehensive Approach to Atrocity Prevention and Response, which remains in effect, “preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.”

The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-441) (the Elie Wiesel Act) states that atrocity prevention is in the U.S. national interest, and calls for the United States to pursue a “government-wide strategy to identify, prevent, and respond to the risk of atrocities.” The three goals laid out in this strategy support the following envisioned end state:

The U.S. Government takes timely and effective action to anticipate, prevent, and respond to atrocities, in coordination with partner governments, and international, civil society, and local partners. The White House-led Atrocity Prevention Task Force (Task Force) coordinates these efforts.

U.S. Department of State

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