The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

Genocide Prevention Task Force report

The Genocide Prevention Task Force was convened by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the United States Institute for Peace, and the American Academy of Diplomacy and launched on November 13, 2007 and released its report to the public on December 8, 2008.  Its goals are: (1) To spotlight genocide prevention as a national priority; and; (2) To develop practical policy recommendations to enhance the capacity of the U.S. government to respond to emerging threats of genocide and mass atrocities. This group came together to assemble their diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise to develop an 174-page guide to the institutionalized prevention of genocide and mass atrocities. The report, released on the 60th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, outlines in 6 critical areas what the United States can do to prevent and stop genocide and mass atrocities across the globe – and one of the first actions they cite is empowering the American people to build an anti-genocide constituency.

Since we as a movement are already marching down that path, let’s take the time to read, review, and reflect on the detailed, comprehensive, and practical recommendations put forth by this array of experts.

You can find the full text of the report here: . However, if you are pressed for time because of finals this time of year, please read the summary of the recommendations only from the report that STAND’s Education Team has assembled. A more in-depth outline of the challenges and opportunities the United States faces in making this into a reality will be available on the website over the weekend, so please check back on Saturday or Sunday for that. And in the meantime, feel free to review the recommendations:

The potential for positive and effective action increases immensely and immediately when high-level officials take a leadership role in an issue. However, we cannot depend on the luck of having strong personalities in power – we need to institutionalize anti-genocide leadership in our nation:

The President of the United States of America can:
1. Include strong statements on the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities in his or her inaugural address and every State of the Union address,
2. Use methods such as Presidential Directives to encourage and institutionalize cooperation throughout the different agencies of government
3. Create an Atrocities Prevention Committee, an new institution that could coordinate across different agencies, especially with strong links to the national security advisor
4. Mobilize international cooperation on this issue by delivering strong statements accompanied by tangible actions to the UN General Assembly, G-8 summits, regional summits, and bilateral meetings with other heads of state.

Congress can:
1. Allocate $200 million annually to the international affairs budget to finance a genocide prevention initiative – this is less than a dollar every year for every American.
2. Reserve an additional $50 million every year for rapid allocation to emergency situations, because “mass atrocities do not follow US government budget cycles”
3. Use these funds to support
i. diplomatic initiatives by regional or nongovernmental actors
ii. targeted stabilization projects
iii. urgent military assistance to peace operations
iv. direct nonmilitary intervention (jamming radios and cell phones)
v. inducements to influential leaders
4. Empower the newly created Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to monitor emerging threats of genocide and act as a vehicle to inform Congress
5. Ensure that all regional subcommittees of the House and Senate foreign affairs and foreign relations committees should add prevention of genocide and mass atrocities to their jurisdictions.
The American people can:
1. Build a permanent constituency for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities


The director of national intelligence should:
o establish genocide early warning as a formal priority for the intelligence community
o prepare a National Intelligence Estimate (NiE, which is one of the most high-level intelligence community assessments) on genocide and mass atrocities, which would:
 sensitize the intelligence community
 be brief to the president, Congress, and senior officials
 highlight areas of poor knowledge and consensus
The national security advisor should:
o create a “mass atrocities alert channel”, which would send concerns abut impending atrocities to high-level policymakers in the case of an emergency when all other lines of reporting have failed
o create a new warning-response mechanism that is calibrated on the severity and urgency of the warning, which can automatically trigger a series of policy and review responses
The State Department should:
o launch a diplomatic initiative to create a permanent network of international actors who continuously exchange information on risks of genocide and MA
o pursue information from UN agencies with a presence in the field
 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
 United National Development Programme (UNDP)
 UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR)
 Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)
 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
o share information with:
 UN Department of Political Affairs
 UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
 Secretary General’s special advisor on the prevention of genocide
o support the development of regional early warning systems
o better engage NGOs, civil society, and religious institutions in information collection and analysis.
o equip the front lines of America’s foreign policy by incorporating trainings on early warnings of genocide and MA into programs for foreign service and intelligence officers and analysts

Preventing severe escalation of violence by:
• influencing leaders early in the game:
o giving positive incentives to encourage leaders to develop responsible policies towards their people (i.e. grants, loans, debt relief, technical assistance and training, favorable trade and investment policies)
o giving negative incentives to deter leaders from committing atrocities towards their people (i.e. freezing assets, sanctions, travel bans, indictments etc)
cutting off the flow of weapons:
o identify efforts to collect and distribute resources for conflict in high-risk areas through tracking of arms purchases
o arms embargoes and sanctions and legal actions against those who violate them
building capacity of civil society:
o supporting power-sharing (however keep in mind: there is no one formula for power distribution)
o supporting democratic transition (however, keep in mind that the introduction of electoral competition into divided societies can sometimes heighten conflict)
o supporting transparent law enforcement and ending cultures of impunity
o supporting efforts of national reconciliation to address the legacy of past abuses
o supporting economic growth that is widespread and ivolves accountability inuse of public and natural resources (however, keepin mind the potential for economic marginalization)
o support a fee and empower media (however, keep in mind the media can also contribute to escalations of violence
reforming security forces to make sure they represent elements of a diverse society and answer to the civilian sector as well.

Again, the US should make a priority the establishment of an inter-agency Atrocities Prevention Committee, which should:
o meet every other month and as needed to review status of countries of concern and coordinate preventative action.
o prepare interagency genocide prevention and response plans for high-risk situation which would assess:
 potential points of leverage and policy intervention in detailed target country assessments
 the potential scale of violence, the impact of stability of the country, risk to US citizens, etc in an atrocities estimate and impact assessment
 a range of potential US responses matched to rising levels of crisis escalation in a policy options assessment, which should:
• include the credible threat of coercive measures,
• avoid an overly rigid “escala¬tory ladder,”
• not dismiss potential benefits of rewarding “bad people” for “good behavior.”
• engage international actors who have influence with potential perpetrators,
• be mindful of becoming hostage to peace negotiations related to a broader conflict,
• maintain consistency in the messages conveyed
The secretary of state should enhance the capacity of the U.S. government to engage in urgent preventive diplomatic action to forestall emerging crises, including strengthening the Civilian Response Corps

director of national intelligence and the secretary of defense should leverage military capacities for intelligence and early warning and strengthen links to political-military planning and decision making.
The Departments of Defense and State should
o work to enhance the capacity of the United Nations, as well as the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and other regional and subregional bodies to employ military options to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities
o work with NATO, the European Union, and capable individual govern¬ments to increase preparedness to reinforce or replace United Nations, African Union, or other peace operations to forestall mass atrocities
o enhance the capacity of the United States and the United Nations to support a transition to long-term efforts to build peace and stability in the wake of genocidal violence
The secretary of state should:
o launch a major diplomatic initiative to create among like-minded governments, interna¬tional organizations, and NGOs a formal network dedicated to the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities
o undertake robust diplomatic efforts toward negotiating an agreement among the per-manent members of the United Nations Security Council on non-use of the veto in cases concerning genocide or mass atrocities
o reaffirm U.S. commit¬ment to nonimpunity for perpetrators of genocide and mass atrocities

The State Department should
o support the efforts currently under way to elevate the priority of preventing genocide and mass atrocities at the United Nations
o work with USAID, and Department of Defense to provide capacity-building assistance to internation¬al partners who are willing to take measures to prevent genocide and mass atrocities.



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