Yesterday, 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.


In his speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum President Obama stated:

We’re making sure that the United States government has the structures, the mechanisms to better prevent and respond to mass atrocities.  So I created the first-ever White House position dedicated to this task.  It’s why I created a new Atrocities Prevention Board, to bring together senior officials from across our government to focus on this critical mission.  This is not an afterthought.  This is not a sideline in our foreign policy.  The board will convene for the first time today, at the White House.  And I’m pleased that one of its first acts will be to meet with some of your organizations — citizens and activists who are partners in this work, who have been carrying this torch.

The creation of these new structures and systems — most notably the Atrocity Prevention Board — will begin to have impact immediately. In the short term, additional tools will provide 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 will be a key development that will save countless lives, in addition to saving the U.S. government money that would have been spent responding to crises.

Critically, this action by President Obama will begin a process that will impact how every administrative agency works from the Department of State to the intelligence community and from Department of Defense to the Department of Justice. It will ensure that atrocity prevention is a priority at the highest levels of the U.S. government. It will eliminate bureaucratic delays and ensure better inter-agency coordination.

However, the effectiveness of these efforts depends on us. Obama’s announcement represents a first step in the right direction, but ongoing pressure from Americans will be critical to ensure successful implementation and application of these new tools and structures.

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  • iain carstairs

    This is great news! No more US launched drones massacring civilians, no more US-launched white phosphoros in places like Fallujah, full of civilians, no more CIA kidnappings and rendition to Syria, Uzbekistan and Egypt for years of torture, being boiled alive. No more cluster bombs turning villages into piles of mincemeat.

    No more US-led massacres like in the first Gulf War, and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to steal their oil and gas; no more supporting terrorists, no more supplying weapons, no more US threats of using nuclear bombs, roasting whole cities full of ordinary people like you and me alive just for defence. No more killing of dissenters! No more self-created terrorist attacks.. come on now, you promised!

    No more US funding for missiles, bombs, cluster bombs, landmines (no more US refusing to support anti-landmine treaties!), execution of minors.. no more rogue killing squads from US companies like Halliburton and Blackwater.. no more CIA training in torture to monsters in South America.

    And no more installing pliable sadists like the Shah and Saddam, no more looking the other way while they gas and execute thousands, then sending Rumsfeld over to shake their hands! No more presidents like George Bush Sr letting 250,000 dissidents get massacred by people like Saddam. No more US-launched napalm! No more US-launched Agent Orange! No more birth defects in Vietnam! No more rogue US soldiers shotting children in their beds and then burning the bodies. No more US marine kill squads snipping the fingers off their victims!

    No more Kissinger practicing his “de-population” with bombings, famines, and support for terrorists. No more US black site prisons where people go in because of the whispers of neighbours and come out in body bags with burn marks and missing fingernails. And above all, no more US kill squads landing by moonlight in helicopters and assassinating political enemies, dumping the corpse and high-fiving it back to America. This is an excellent development, and boy, is it ever about time!

    Obama’s group will have lots to do but this is seriously great news for the rest of the world! The USA is finally going to stop slaughtering people. FANTASTIC!!