1. Statement
  2. Peacebuilding

Bipartisan Senate Bill Prioritizes Tools to Prevent Violence and Genocide

Quaker Lobby Welcomes Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act

May 17, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), today introduced the bipartisan Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) welcomes this important legislation.

Named after the Nobel Laureate and human rights advocate Elie Wiesel, this bill directs our government to invest in effective early prevention of mass atrocities and genocide as a means of saving lives, saving U.S. tax dollars, and better promoting shared security.

Prevention is not only possible; it is a necessity.

“In the face of devastating violence and immense threats to civilian lives around the globe, we are pleased to see these Senate leaders are supporting the overwhelming bipartisan consensus that prevention is not only possible; it is a necessity. At a time when the administration is proposing drastic cuts to diplomatic and development tools that best address the drivers of violent conflict, congressional leadership on prevention is imperative,” stated FCNL’s Executive Secretary Diane Randall.

The Elie Wiesel Act establishes a Mass Atrocities Task Force, requires training for Foreign Service Officers in violent conflict and atrocities prevention, requires reporting from both the Department of State and Director for National Intelligence, and establishes the Complex Crises Fund.

A similar bipartisan bill, the Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (GAPA) of 2016, was introduced in February of last year. The 2016 legislation garnered co-sponsorship from over a quarter of the Senate, although the Senate Foreign Relations Committee did not take up the bill. FCNL and colleague organizations will work with Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Ben Cardin of the Committee to mark up this legislation soon in order to best advance efforts to prevent violent conflict.

Dozens of non-governmental organizations have joined together in supporting the Elie Wiesel Act, including the Friends Committee on National Legislation, American Jewish Committee, Armenian National Committee of America, International Crisis Group, Invisible Children, National Council of Churches, Oxfam America, Refugees International, Search for Common Ground, and the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society.

Original co-sponsors include Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Marco Rubio (R-N.J.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-M.I.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).