Elie Wiesel and wife Marion in 2012. David Shankbone [CC BY 3.0], Wikimedia Commons

U.S. enacted the Elie Wiesel Act to prevent and respond to atrocities.

President Donald Trump signed bipartisan legislation which fully committed the U.S. to prevent genocide. The said legislation is named after Elie Wiesel, winner of the prestigious Nobel Prize and a survivor of the Holocaust.

The legislation’s full name is the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act. It received overwhelming bipartisan majority support from both the Senate and the House of Representatives in December 2018. The law was crafted to prevent atrocities among other genocidal activities that threaten both the security of the United States and the world. The law does this by increasing the capacity of the United States Government to prevent, respond, and also mitigate such crises. This newly minted law makes it obligatory for the United States to reduce national security level threats by solving the fundamental reasons for violent conflict and insecurity to prevent civilian mass slaughter. It will also solve problems which cause internal displacement and refugee flows across international borders.

The Elie Wiesel law will also enable the United States to douse violence which wreaks havoc on livelihoods and instigates religious instability. The American Government will amp up its capacity to “identify, prevent, and address” those instigating violence. It can also respond to violent conflict as a component of its humanitarian, strategic, and development interests.

The introduction of the legislation was a bipartisan one. Two Congress members, Joe Crowley, a Democrat from New York, and Ann Wagner, a Republican from Missouri, introduced the bill in June 2017. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, and Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, introduced the bill in the Senate. Both Young and Cardin are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The House passed the bill with 406 for and five against with 117 cosponsors on July 17 and was approved by the Senate with 34 cosponsors.

The Elie Wiesel Act establishes the Mass Atrocities Task Force, an interagency organization, and also encourages the national intelligence director to include all information related to atrocities when it comes to the yearly crime report submitted to Congress. The law enables the training of American Foreign Service personnel on detection of early signs of any atrocity.

Cardin’s office issued a statement, saying the strength of the United States lies in its values. It is in America’s interest to make sure the country uses its full legal, diplomatic, and economic tools to take meaningful action prior to the occurrence of any atrocities.

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