Summary: Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act
Senators Ben Cardin, Todd Young, Thom Tillis, and their Senate colleagues, and Representatives Ann Wagner, Joe Crowley and their House colleagues have introduced the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017 (S.1158 and H.R.3030, respectively). The bills:
1. Establishes a Mass Atrocities Task Force –
The Secretary of State would be responsible for establishing a Mass Atrocities Task Force, a high-level interagency group to coordinate and prioritize U.S. government action to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities.
Members of the Task Force would include the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Defense, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Department of Justice, Department of Treasury, Department of Homeland Security, Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Secretary – in coordination with the Task Force – would be required to submit a report to Congress within 180 days (and two additional reports every three years thereafter) to include an evaluation of U.S. government efforts related to prevention, a global assessment of risks, and recommendations for strengthening preventative efforts.
The Chair and Task Force members would also be required to brief Congress annually.
2. Requires training for Foreign Service Officers–
- The legislation would mandate training of U.S. Foreign Service Officers in conflict and atrocities prevention to ensure that personnel at U.S. diplomatic posts have the skills to recognize early warning signs of potential conflict or outbreak of mass violence, and are aware of the tools available to mitigate violence.
3. Requires a report to Congress by the Director of National Intelligence–
- The annual report by the Director of National Intelligence to Congress will include a review of countries that are at risk of mass atrocities and genocide.
4. Establishes the Complex Crises Fund (CCF) –
CCF provides much-needed flexible resources for USAID and State specific to preventing, mitigating, and responding to emerging or unforeseen crises and conflict.
Money has been appropriated to the account since 2010, but the CCF was never formally established or authorized. It has proven effective in responding to atrocity risks in places like Central African Republic, Guinea and Jordan.
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