Chairman Crowley Introduces Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017

June 22, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, DC) Today, Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY), along with co-sponsor Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), introduced the bipartisan Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017 to improve U.S. efforts to prevent mass atrocity crimes. Named after the courageous Auschwitz survivor, the legislation honors the legacy of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and his life work to fight evil around the world.

“Atrocities and violence committed over the last century and today, make it all the more important that our government and leaders take steps to detect and prevent atrocities before they start in the first place,” said Chairman Crowley. “Once major conflict breaks out it becomes much more difficult to address so developing the structures needed to prevent conflict is essential. We need a framework to stop violence before it spirals out of control and leads to more suffering.”

“From the Holocaust to South Sudan, from Burma to Syria, the world has witnessed far too many genocides and mass atrocity crimes,” said Rep. Wagner. “The true horror is that most of these devastating crises are preventable. My heart aches for those whose lives are being torn apart, and the fact that over 65 million people are currently fleeing preventable crises makes clear that the U.S. Government must improve its response to these conflicts.”

The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017, companion legislation to S. 1158, would establish an interagency Mass Atrocities Task Force to strengthen the U.S. government’s atrocity prevention and response efforts. The legislation encourages the Director of National Intelligence to include atrocity crime information in his or her annual report to Congress; authorizes training for U.S. Foreign Service officers on early signs of atrocities and transitional justice measures; and authorizes the Complex Crises Fund to support programs to prevent emerging or unforeseen crises overseas.

Genocide and atrocity crimes—including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing—are shocking acts of violence perpetrated by governments and non-state actors, resulting in the murders of millions of civilians and other innocent persons across the globe. The legislation establishes that the official policy of the United States is to regard the prevention of genocide and other atrocity crimes as a core national security interest and moral responsibility, and to develop a government-wide prevention strategy

Chairman Crowley and Congresswoman Wagner are joined by Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Rep. William Keating (D-MA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA), Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Rep. Bonnie Coleman (D-NJ),  Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Jack Rosen (D-NV), and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD).