August 4, 2011 - As co-chairs of the Genocide Prevention Task Force, we welcome with enthusiasm President Obama’s directive to strengthen our government’s response to actual or threatened mass violations of human rights. The administration’s bold new initiative conforms closely to recommendations made by the Task Force to recognize genocide prevention as a presidential priority, emphasize early action, and stress the need to work closely with allies and friends.

We are particularly pleased to see the efforts of our bipartisan task force reflected in the presidential call for a high-level Atrocity Prevention Board to bring to bear the full range of our government’s assets and skills in the effort to deter, prevent and halt genocide. The president’s directive represents an unprecedented commitment on America’s part to implement the internationally-agreed upon “responsibility to protect” civilian populations threatened by massive violence and to ensure that genocide prevention and response become integral components of America’s national security strategy. Today’s action is a major step forward for our country’s long-term interests and national security and contributes to international leadership on genocide prevention. This is a forward-thinking plan that if fully implemented should eventually save countless lives.

The Genocide Prevention Task Force was launched on November 13, 2007 and released its report to the public on December 8, 2008. It was jointly convened by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, The American Academy of Diplomacy, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. It was funded by private foundations. Its goals were: (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.

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