Senators Ben Cardin, Todd Young, Thom Tillis, and their colleagues, and Representatives Ann Wagner, Joe Crowley, and their colleagues have introduced the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act in the Senate and House of Representatives (S.1158, H.R.3030, respectively). The bills:
1. Ensure effective high-level interagency coordination on prevention
The Mass Atrocities Task Force is a high-level working group that would ensure effective prioritization of prevention and coordination between the Pentagon, State, Treasury, Homeland Security, Justice, USAID, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, CIA, Director of National Intelligence, and FBI. As past efforts demonstrate, by mobilizing staff and resources interagency coordination has helped to mitigate further violence in places like Central African Republic and Burundi.
2. Save money
Legislation establishing a Mass Atrocities Task Force will save money in the long-term by prioritizing prevention, helping to avoid costly response efforts later on.
$16 saved for every $1 invested: Data analysis from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) indicates that if countries in conflict received increased funding for peacebuilding activities, then for every dollar invested now, the cost of conflict would be reduced by 16 dollars.
$1.43 trillion increase to the global economy: According to the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development, if overall levels of violence were reduced by just 10%, the global economy would gain $1.43 trillion in one year.
$2.94 trillion saved over 10 years: Also according to IEP, the international community would reap a $2.94 trillion dividend if it increased funding to reduce risks of future violence over the next ten years.
3. Protect our troops
We have an obligation as a country to explore every opportunity to avoid sending our military into war. The Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act organizes our government to focus on early prevention to avoid late military intervention.
4. Continue congressional leadership and oversight
The Senate has been a lead voice in ensuring strong action to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities through bipartisan efforts such as the unanimous passage of S.Con.Res.71 in 2010 and S.1635 in 2015, which contained provisions in support of prevention. The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act would continue this leadership and oversight role.
5. Build on bipartisan consensus
Support for the prevention of genocide has a long bipartisan history, going back to efforts by President Ronald Reagan to ratify the Genocide Convention. Every President since Reagan – including President Donald Trump – has spoken about the importance of preventing genocide and mass atrocities.