1. Update
  2. Peacebuilding

Congress Needs a Push on Conflict Prevention

By Theo Sitther, Allyson Neville, Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred, April 3, 2018


This month, Congress has an important opportunity to take concrete steps to bolster our government’s ability to build peace and prevent atrocities against civilians. Early action to prevent violence will reduce the need for late military intervention, protect lives, and save taxpayer money. This is why it’s important for us to take stock, remember the past, and work to prevent future outbreaks of violence. Members of Congress can help support conflict prevention, but they need a push to get there.

Support the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act

Act Now

April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. This is a time to remember the victims and survivors of horrific genocides throughout history, while taking action to prevent this type of violence from happening in the future. During this month of action and awareness, we have a chance to make sure that Congress demonstrates leadership to advance the promise of “Never Again” and takes meaningful steps to support conflict prevention.

You can observe this important month by giving Congress a push toward building peace. A good way to start is by urging your member of Congress to support the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017 (H.R.3030, S.1158) introduced by Senators Ben Cardin (MD), Todd Young (IN), Thom Tillis (NC), and Representatives Ann Wagner (MO), Joe Crowley (NY).

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will help formalize and improve U.S. strategies for building peace and preventing genocide and mass atrocities. The legislation would help support the U.S. government’s efforts to better coordinate across various agencies and departments and ensure that prevention is a priority. It would also authorize the Complex Crises Fund and provide Foreign Service Officers with training to better recognize the early warning signs of mass atrocities and genocide.

When your members of Congress say “Never Again” this month, urge them to support this legislation to put those words into action.

In April, we remember and commemorate the victims of genocide and other atrocities from the past century: the start of the siege of Sarajevo in Bosnia (April 5), Rwandan Genocide Remembrance Day (April 7), Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 12), the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia (April 17), and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24).

Following the Holocaust, the United States and the international community vowed to “never again” stand idly by in the face of genocide. But since that time, atrocities around the world have demonstrated that the U.S. and other governments have far yet to come in implementing solutions to better respond to and prevent mass violence.

This month of remembrance reminds us that the warning signs of violence and persecution aren’t hidden. The more difficult task is summoning the political will and building the international consensus to act. When atrocities occur, it is because the world saw what was coming but chose to do nothing. This time, Congress can choose to better prevent the next mass atrocity from starting in the first place.

While the Trump administration has continued the work of the Atrocities Prevention Board, which coordinates the prevention efforts of nearly a dozen departments and agencies within the federal government, Congress has an important role to play in setting policy and providing funding and oversight by enacting legislation. Passing the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017 in law will be an important step toward Congress fulfilling its leadership role.

When your members of Congress say “Never Again” this month, urge them to support this legislation to put those words into action.

Support the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act

Act Now

Theo Sitther

  • Legislative Secretary for Peacebuilding Policy

Theo Sitther directs the peacebuilding program at FCNL and oversees the work of the peacebuilding team. Theo lobbies to change and reform militarized counterterrorism policies with a particular focus on military assistance.

Allyson Neville

  • Legislative Manager for the Prevention of Violent Conflict

Allyson Neville coordinates the Prevention and Protection Working Group (PPWG), a coalition of human rights, religious, humanitarian and peace organizations dedicated to the reduction of violent conflict, prevention of atrocities, and protection of civilians. Since its creation in late 2008, PPWG has successfully advocated on these issues through outreach to Congress and various administrative agencies.

Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred

  • Communications Assistant

Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred assists the Communications team with a particular focus on digital advocacy. His primary responsibility is to help write and edit FCNL’s various materials, including emails, website content, publications, and social media posts.