It is official. With the Republican and Democratic conventions over, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are their party’s respective candidates for the 2012 presidential election. Now the final stretch of the campaign season kicks into high gear with debates, town halls and other events throughout the United States.
For the community of activists committed to ending genocide and mass atrocities, this moment also marks increasing opportunities to ask the candidates questions about their positions on important issues, including how the candidates plan to address the current crises in places like Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Syria.
Upcoming events include a town hall-style debate covering both domestic and foreign policy on October 16, and a debate dedicated to foreign policy on October 22. These debates will provide an opportunity for us to ask questions like:
- Will you pledge to make ending and preventing genocide and mass atrocities a national priority?
- How will you ensure that U.S. investment in Burma will help support democratic transformation and respect for human rights, and prevent those responsible for undermining rights from profiting?
- How will you work to strengthen the rule of law and security sector reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
- What will you do to end the bombing of civilian areas and the blockade of humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands at risk of starvation in Sudan?
- What will you do to protect civilians in Syria where a staggering death toll continues to mount because of the brutal attacks by President Bashar al-Assad?
Attention to genocide and mass atrocities prevention in the presidential campaign will rely on pressure from those who care about these issues. Before they merged to form United to End Genocide, both the Genocide Intervention Network and the Save Darfur Coalition had success in putting key issues into the campaign spotlight. In the last election, John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton all provided a joint statement and video pledges to fight for the people of Darfur.
But, we didn’t do this alone. Our large and powerful grassroots network raised its collective voice, demanding answers from the campaign trail.
United to End Genocide has already sent letters to both the Obama and Romney campaigns asking for a pledge to treat genocide and mass atrocities prevention as a national priority. Over the next several weeks with your help, we’ll ramp up the pressure on the candidates once again. With the lives of hundreds of thousands of people at risk across the planet, we must know what actions the next president is going to take on these life or death issues.