This morning, The Elie Wiesel Act was passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). This is a moment our organization and 600+ of our supporters in Tennessee have been fighting for over the past 13 months.
This important legislation is critical to saving lives in countries at-risk or experiencing mass atrocity crises, as well as U.S. national security and interests. One of the bill's authors, Senator Todd Young (R-IND), said this today about S.1158 passing out of the SFRC:
“The United States has a moral and strategic imperative to help prevent and respond to acts of genocide and other mass atrocities, and this legislation would ensure the U.S. government is better prepared to fulfill this serious responsibility. This bipartisan legislation would help the United States put the commitment of ‘Never Again’ into action.”
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) had this to say:
“Atrocity crimes tragically persist around the globe, from Syria and South Sudan to Burma and Iraq. This bill, named in honor of the courageous, inspiring Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, strengthens the U.S. government’s infrastructure to prevent, mitigate, and respond to genocide and other mass atrocities wherever they may occur. Our values and national security interests require us to ensure that the United States utilizes the full arsenal of diplomatic, economic, and legal tools to take meaningful action before atrocities occur. The United States must do a better job of responding earlier and more effectively to these heinous crimes.”
What The Bill Does
S. 1158 is new federal legislation that will ensure the U.S. government has the tools, training, and funding needed to save lives and promote peace when it becomes apparent that mass atrocity situations are becoming a threat on foreign soil. Specifically, this legislation:
- Affirms the importance of strengthening U.S. efforts around mass atrocities through interagency tools like the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB);
- States that preventing genocide and mass atrocities are core U.S. national security interests and calls on the Administration to pursue a government-wide strategy to: strengthen U.S. diplomatic, risk analysis/monitoring, early warning, and response capacities around atrocity crimes; improve the use of U.S. foreign assistance to address the root causes of violent conflict; strengthen support to transitional justice mechanisms and local civil society groups in countries at risk of or experiencing mass atrocities; prioritize preventative diplomacy through unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral mechanisms;
- Requires specialized training for Foreign Service Officers who will be deployed to a country experiencing or at risk of mass atrocities; and
- Mandates annual reporting to Congress of Administration efforts to prevent and respond to mass atrocities and an assessment of countries and regions at risk of such violence.
For the past 13 months, our organization has mobilized 600+ of our fellow Tennesseans calling on Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) to move this critical legislation forwards in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Senator Corker is currently chairing. We would like to thank all of you for raising up your voices around this bill, and we would like to thank Senator Corker for his leadership in seeing the Elie Wiesel Act moved through his committee.
The people of Sudan are overcoming two of the greatest challenges facing humanity today: war and genocide. Operation Broken Silence is working to accelerate their ability to generate lasting change through storytelling and movement-building, education and emergency response, and grassroots advocacy programs.
Here are three simple and effective ways you can directly empower the Sudanese people:
1. Stand For Education. Don't just check out the fundraising campaign for the upcoming high school these amazing students started. Join it! You can start an online fundraising page and help us reach our goal. The more the merrier. BECOME A FUNDRAISER »
2. Make A Donation. If you can't give a few minutes of your time by fundraising, you can still pitch in towards the new high school! GIVE HERE »
3. Live in Tennessee? Be sure to thank Senator Corker. If you are a Tennessee resident, we encourage you to email Senator Corker a quick thank you message for allowing this bill to move forwards. SEND YOUR THANKS »