FCNL is committed to lifting up an alternative U.S. foreign policy that builds sustainable peace, respects human rights, and prevents atrocities and conflict. As we have for over a decade, FCNL joined with members of the Prevention and Protection Working Group to urge Congress to robustly fund peacebuilding in the fiscal year 2023 budget.
Dear Chairs, Ranking Members, and Members of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations:
As members of the Prevention and Protection Working Group, we urge you to support robust funding for peacebuilding, atrocity prevention and human rights related accounts in the Fiscal Year 2023 State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPs) appropriations bill. We greatly appreciate your support for such funding in the final FY 2022 omnibus (H.R. 2471), particularly the inclusion of $60 million for the Complex Crises Fund. We hope you will renew this in your FY 2023 bill.
Our coalition of humanitarian, peacebuilding, human rights, genocide prevention and civilian protection experts and organizations urges robust support to conflict and atrocity prevention efforts. Two years on, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stress social, political and economic systems around the world. Its impact has been particularly hard on fragile states, which have faced significant compounding shocks from climate change, economic downturns, political conflict and forced displacement.
COVID-19 has only emphasized what the past two decades have shown: it’s far more cost-effective and sustainable to prevent and prepare for emergencies than to respond to them after they occur. Crisis management and humanitarian relief are necessary, but they are not sustainable solutions to today’s global challenges. As U.N. Secretary General Guterres succinctly stated, “Instead of responding to crises, we need to invest far more in prevention. Prevention works, saves lives and is cost-effective.”
We therefore urge your support to robust funding for accounts that aim to prevent violent conflict and support peacebuilding in the FY 2023 SFOPs appropriations bill.
We request no less than $70 billion in base funding for the SFOPs appropriations bill for FY 2023. Within the FY 2023 SFOPs appropriations bill, we recommend your support for the following accounts:
The Atrocities Prevention Fund enables the State Department to implement recommendations of the Atrocity Early Warning Task Force and supports programs that aim to prevent mass atrocities and genocide. It is the State Department’s only funding dedicated solely to the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide. Given the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has increased risk factors of mass atrocities, we urge not less than $25 million for the Atrocities Prevention Fund. In tandem, we urge the State Department and USAID each have not less than $500,000 made available to conduct Atrocities Prevention Training as required in the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (P.L. 115-441).
The Complex Crises Fund (CCF) enables USAID to prevent and respond to early warning signs of mass atrocities and escalating conflicts. It is the only account of its kind, filling immediate, short-term gaps during emergent crises, and its resources are consistently in high demand, having been leveraged in 30 countries over the last two decades. We greatly appreciate the inclusion of $60 million for the Complex Crises Fund in the FY 22 omnibus and we urge not less than $60 million for the CCF in FY23.
The Democracy Fund and the Human Rights and Democracy Fund are respectively USAID and the State Department’s primary mechanisms to support efforts that aim to strengthen effective, just and democratic governance globally. Importantly, these funds are two of the primary tools the U.S. government has to support human rights in the midst of conflict and crises. This can take many forms from supporting access to justice in the Sahel, with the aim of breaking cycles of violence and stabilizing the region, to supporting women’s groups responding to spikes in domestic violence amidst COVID-19 lockdowns, and to understanding and addressing the unique threats and fears faced by religious and ethnic minorities around the world. Therefore, we urge not less than $125.25 million for the Democracy Fund and $215.45 million Human Rights and Democracy Fund.
We request bill language waiving or repealing the statutory 25% cap on U.S. contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations. Such language will allow the U.S. to pay its peacekeeping assessments at the full rate negotiated and agreed to by the U.S., and we urge that additional funds are specifically allocated to pay the United States’ $1.079 billion in arrears accrued due to the enforcement of this arbitrary cap.
Further, we urge that no less than $14.5 million be specifically designated for the Conflict Stabilization Operations account, accompanied by language requiring that the Secretary of State provide a report to Congress outlining the mission, objectives and major lines of effort of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations over the next four years and criteria for measuring progress toward such objectives.
We urge that you allocate not less than $25 million to the State Department for unarmed civilian protection. Unarmed civilian protection is a proven strategy for the nonviolent direct protection of civilians, the reduction of localized violence and the development of local peace infrastructures in which unarmed, trained civilians live and work with local civil society in conflict zones.
Lastly, we urgently request that you help alleviate the unfolding human catastrophe in Afghanistan triggered by the United States’ both rapid withdrawal and seizure of the Afghan Central Bank’s assets. Almost 87% of the UN’s 2022 humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan remains unfilled and the United States must do more to prevent widespread starvation and total economic collapse. We also urge you to work with the administration to ensure the entire $7.1 billion in Afghan reserves, mostly held at the Federal Bank of New York, be made available to the Afghan people to respond to immediate humanitarian needs and support the stabilization of the economy and society over the long-term.
Collectively, these accounts provide critical resources toward preventing outbreaks of violence, healing fractured societies and breaking the cycles of violence over the long term. Thank you for your leadership and continuing support for the vital work of the State Department and USAID to promote American interests, prevent conflict, build peace and save lives.
Alliance for Peacebuilding
American Jewish World Service
Better World Campaign
Bridges Faith Initiative
Campaign for a New Myanmar
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
Charity & Security Network
Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG)
Educators’ Institute for Human Rights
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Humanity United Action
International Campaign for the Rohingya
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Minnesota Peace Project
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University (Montreal)
Never Again Coalition
No Business with Genocide
Pax Christi USA
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Search for Common Ground
STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
United Nations Association of the USA
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)