Preventing Future Genocides

“Never Again!” That’s what leaders in the United States and throughout the world declared after the Holocaust. Yet tragically, in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur millions of people lost their lives, lost their families or were forced to flee their homes.

History doesn’t have to keep repeating itself. The powerful movement in response to the Darfur genocide showed us that by acting together, we can compel our elected leaders to act on their responsibility to protect innocent men, women and children from brutal regimes. We believe that working together, we can prevent mass atrocities and end genocide by:

  • Sounding the alarm and demanding action;
  • Stopping the enablers of genocide and mass atrocities; and
  • Making genocide prevention a core value in U.S. foreign policy.

Sound the Alarm and Demand Action. Preventing mass atrocities requires political will first and foremost. We must speak up and demand that government leaders make the right choices to prevent and stop atrocities.

Stop the Enablers. Perpetrators of genocide and mass atrocities cannot succeed without the support of other governments and corporations. We follow the money and apply public pressure to shame and stop companies and governments that finance mass violence. We call to account any nation that would welcome or reward a perpetrator of mass atrocity.

Make human rights and genocide prevention core values in U.S. foreign policy. In April 2012, President Barack Obama announced a series of actions to ensure the United States is better able to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities. The landmark announcement came after years of pressure from activists and organizations working to ensure that the United States’ failure to adequately respond to past atrocities will not be repeated.

Atrocities Prevention Board

The creation of the Atrocity Prevention Board will provide additional tools and options as the U.S. government responds to ongoing atrocities in places like Syria and Sudan. In the long term, the government will be better able to recognize warning signs and prevent the outbreak of atrocities before they start.

This action by President Obama will begin a process that should prioritize atrocity prevention at the highest levels of the U.S. government, eliminating bureaucratic delays and ensuring better inter-agency coordination. However, the effectiveness of these efforts depends on us — ongoing pressure from American activists will be critical to ensure these new tools and structures are implemented and applied to make a real difference.

Read our fact sheet on the Atrocities Prevention Board.