Elie Wiesel Act To Be Marked Up In House Foreign Affairs Committee

important anti-atrocity legislation is moving forwards in the U.S. House of Representatives

Posted by Mark Hackett on May 16th, 2018

UPDATE: On the morning of May 17, The Elie Wiesel Act was passed unanimously by voice vote out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee! This means that our next steps are bringing this bill up for a vote on the House floor and renewing our push in Senator Corker.

Tomorrow at 10:00AM ET, the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) will begin marking up the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (H.R. 3030). 

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.  

Preventing genocide and mass atrocities advances U.S. national security interests, saves U.S. taxpayer dollars, and saves lives. As our organization has personally witnessed in Sudan and also seen from afar in Syria, the outbreak of atrocities leads to significant global consequences that put an enormous strain on the international community. Ongoing mass atrocity crises in Sudan, Syria, and elsewhere undermines American leadership, values, and economic interests as well.

Progress on this issue has been excruciatingly slow, but H.R. 3030 is an opportunity to take a huge leap forwards. This important legislation will authorize the structures, funding, and training necessary to ensure that U.S. efforts to prevent mass atrocity crimes are more successful.

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What The Bill Does

HR 3030 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. You can read the full bill here, but in short H.R. 3030 requires the following: 

  • This bill states that it is U.S. policy to regard the prevention of genocide and other atrocity crimes as a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility. 
  • The President shall instruct the Department of State to establish a Mass Atrocities Task Force to strengthen State Department efforts and assist other agency efforts at atrocity prevention and response. 
  • The Foreign Service Act of 1980 is amended to provide for the training of Foreign Service Officers in conflict and atrocity crimes prevention. 
  • The Director of National Intelligence is encouraged to include in his or her annual testimony to Congress on threats to U.S. national security: (1) a review of countries and regions at risk of atrocity crimes; and (2) specific countries and regions at immediate risk of atrocity crimes, including most likely pathways to violence, specific risk factors, potential perpetrators, and at-risk target groups. 

  • The bill permanently establishes the Complex Crises Fund to enable the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to support programs and activities to prevent or respond to emerging or unforeseen foreign challenges and complex crises overseas, including potential atrocity crimes. Fund amounts may not be expended for lethal assistance or to respond to natural disasters.

In our last update on H.R. 3030, we mentioned that David Kustoff (R-TN) and Steve Cohen (D-TN), the two Congressmen who represent our home city of Memphis, TN, are cosponsors of this critical legislation. As this bill moves now moves forwards, we remain grateful for their support. The prevention of genocide, war crimes, and other mass atrocity crises should be a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.

Next Steps In HFAC

Tomorrow, the Committee will be "marking up" the bill, which is the process by which congressional committees and subcommittees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation. We're already aware that there will be some changes to this legislation for a variety of reasons and are looking forwards to examining any changes and amendments the Committee made. The entire bill is essentially up for debate and changes during the markup process, so a lot can happen that we don't anticipate. 

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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, education and relief, and advocacy programs.

If you're not currently involved in empowering the Sudanese people, here are a few easy ways to join us from wherever you are:

1. Live in Tennessee? We need your help. There is a Senate version of the Elie Wiesel Genocide & Atrocities Prevention Act, S.1158. Despite a third of the Senate cosponsoring S.1158, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) has not allowed for the bill to be marked up and moved through committee. We need you to call and write his office right now. TAKE ACTION »

2. Pitch In Through Good People Good Beer. The 6th annual beer tasting gala that supports childhood education in Yida Refugee Camp, South Sudan is coming up on June 16 in Memphis, TN! We encourage you to register if you'll be in town, or make a donation towards our goal if you can't attend. GET INVOLVED »

3. Make A Donation. You can directly support the Sudanese people through the programs we sponsor in Sudan with a one-time donation. GIVE HERE »

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