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After six years of tireless work by FCNL, Friends, and advocates, the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (EWGAPA) finally passed Congress in 2019 with broad, bipartisan support. 

This landmark legislation, the first of its kind globally, codified in law that preventing, mitigating, and responding to genocide and mass atrocities worldwide is a U.S. national interest. 

Fast forward to 2024. While the world is witnessing another dire moment in the struggle to prevent and respond to mass violence, a critical provision in the EWGAPA mandating annual reports from the administration was set to expire in less than a year. These reports have been particularly important in increasing government transparency and commitment to atrocity prevention work.

But thanks to bicameral, bipartisan action, Congress recently extended this key reporting requirement for another six years, demonstrating a renewed commitment to this vital work. 

A Successful Bipartisan Effort 

The EWGAPA marked a significant step forward in ensuring transparency and accountability for the U.S. government’s actions and policies on atrocity prevention. The legislation also led to the development of the U.S. Strategy to Anticipate, Prevent, and Respond to Atrocities in 2022, making the U.S. the first government with a published strategy for atrocity prevention.

The EWGAPA extension is as a beacon of hope, reaffirming our responsibility to protect people everywhere and uphold the values of peace, justice, and dignity for all.

Critically, the provision that was recently extended by Congress requires the administration to provide annual reports on its efforts to prevent and respond to atrocities, as well as a global assessment of ongoing atrocities and countries at risk. 

In the Senate, Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) worked to secure the extension of EWGAPA by including it in the Senate’s REPO Act for Ukrainians (S.2003). That legislation was then added to the recently passed Emergency Supplemental Act (H.R. 815).  In the House, Representatives Ann Wagner (MO-2) and Sara Jacobs (CA-51) included the EWGAPA extension in their Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Extension Act (H.R. 8105). 

FCNL appreciates the leadership of Reps. Wagner and Jacobs and Sens. Cardin and James Risch (ID) to secure the extension of this crucial legislation. 

How Will This Extension Help? 

Simply put, violent conflict persists around the world, endangering countless lives and destabilizing regions. Studies show twenty countries are currently experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, mass atrocities. By extending the EWGAPA’s annual reporting requirement, legislators have recognized this reality by mandating the administration continue to provide annual reports on its actions to prevent and respond to atrocities. 

These annual reports have not only shed light on the severity of the situation, but have also spurred meaningful action and dialogue. Previous administration efforts reported in EWGAPA Reports to Congress have included early-warning initiatives in Yemen, investigations into human rights abuses in Ethiopia, promoting mediation in conflict hotspots in South Sudan, and charging individuals involved in atrocities in Liberia in the U.S.

A Beacon of Hope 

FCNL has been at the forefront of this advocacy, tirelessly pushing for legislation that prioritizes peace over conflict. This dedication, along with the bipartisan leadership demonstrated by members of Congress, underscores the impact we can have if we strengthen our collective commitment to upholding human rights and preventing senseless violence. 

As we navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected world, the EWGAPA extension serves as a beacon of hope, reaffirming our shared responsibility to protect people everywhere and uphold the values of peace, justice, and dignity for all. It is not merely a legal obligation but a moral imperative—one that we must wholeheartedly embrace for the sake of present and future generations.

Lauren Evans

Lauren Evans

Program Assistant for Peacebuilding (2023-2024)

Lauren Evans is FCNL’s 2023-2024 program assistant for Peacebuilding, assisting the team in advocating for sustainable and nonviolent U.S. foreign policy.