FCNL takes multiple approaches to preventing violent conflict and protecting the lives of civilians. In addition to our regular work lobbying Congress, we coordinate a coalition that focuses on lobbying the administration for better policies and more informed diplomacy.
This year, PPWG is also focusing on the bureaucratic structures and procedures that hinder the U.S. government from prioritizing prevention.
The Prevention and Protection Working Group (PPWG) is a coalition of over 250 organizations and experts focused on atrocity prevention and protection of civilians in conflict. Hosted and led by FCNL, PPWG has worked diligently to help ensure full and meaningful implementation of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act and the Global Fragility Act. Its member organizations lobby together on funding for prevention and peacebuilding accounts.
To encourage the administration to undertake effective prevention efforts, PPWG assesses ongoing conflicts and recommends appropriate policy changes. It meets regularly with the administration’s Atrocity Early Warning Task Force and has identified opportunities to prevent violence and protect civilians in Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kashmir, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Yemen.
Despite the coalition’s keen focus on holding policy makers accountable to improve the U.S. government’s prevention mechanisms, more needs to be done to protect vulnerable populations around the world. Therefore, this year PPWG is also focusing on the bureaucratic structures and procedures that hinder the U.S. government from prioritizing prevention.
PPWG coalition members are focusing on three key areas:
1. Working closely with implementing partners and U.S. government agencies to collect evidence on how peacebuilding and prevention funds have been used in different conflicts.
We seek to document when and how programs have been successful in preventing violence and building peace, or why they have failed. Gathering this information and drawing lessons from it will help us make the case to Congress for investing in prevention and protection.
2. Uplifting PPWG members working to disrupt racist structures that continue to cause inconsistent response from the U.S. government to different conflicts.
Many PPWG member organizations have written reports and held conferences bringing experts together from multiple fields to help decolonize peacebuilding. The coalition is working closely with these members and experts to share their reports and findings with the administration and congressional offices.
3. Gathering evidence through research and media analysis related to the U.S. government’s varied responses to genocide and mass atrocities.
The coalition will compare the U.S. government’s response to the situation in Ukraine with its responses to other conflicts where the evidence for war crimes was gathered years before a formal genocide determination was made. This evidence will help PPWG members make the case for a less politicized, better coordinated, more equitable, and more consistent approach to genocide and atrocities.
U.S. credibility and influence are strengthened by taking an evidence-based approach to crimes against humanity wherever they occur. Responses based on narrow political, geo-strategic, and financial interest detract from U.S. moral authority. They also hurt the United States’ ability to garner broad international support for prevention and protection efforts.
PPWG coalition members are committed to helping the U.S. government fulfill its responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing using non-violent means.