The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Northeastern New York want to express our support for the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act. The full text of the proposed statute is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3030/text. It has passed the House and is on the Senate calendar, but the Senate has taken no other action. As former Peace Corps Volunteers we stand for peace, human rights and the prevention of atrocities and we take this opportunity to say so. We think an agency dedicated to preventing genocide, other atrocities and destruction of human rights is likely to help prevent these shameful and destructive activities.
Section 1- Names the statute in honor of Elie Wiesel.
Section 2- Affirms the critical importance of preventing atrocities and identifies how a dedicated agency can help do that.
Section 3- Makes prevention of genocide and other atrocities part of the U.S. national security interests.
Section 4- Adds “instruction on recognizing patterns of escalation and early warning signs of potential atrocities or violence” to the training of foreign service officers.
Section 5- Requires reports on progress.
The Act at several points stresses:
• the root causes of insecurity, violent conflict, mass slaughter of civilians, gender-based violence and the creation of hordes of refugees;
• diplomatic efforts, strategic planning, support for human rights defenders, financial transparency, and anti-corruption initiatives to address the root causes of insecurity;
• unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral means to prevent and respond to conflicts and atrocities;
• methods to deal with genocide and atrocities with peace-building, mediation, transitional justice measures to address atrocities, delegitimizing violence as a dispute resolution strategy, building capacity to manage disputes peacefully.
We encourage other Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to contact their senators and representatives to express our support of the Act and our conviction, based on our experience abroad, that dedicated efforts in this direction would be helpful.