The PJ Tatler

Marking Rwandan Genocide, Senators Stress Need to Respond to Atrocities

A trio of senators introduced a resolution Monday night marking the 20th anniversary of Rwandan genocide and urging the U.S. to do all in its power to prevent future atrocities.

The 100 days of terror that claimed some 800,000 lives began on April 7, 1994.

The resolution comes from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs Chairman Chris Coons (D-Del.), and subcommittee ranking member Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

Along with recognizing the heinous crimes suffered by Rwandans and expressing support for the people as they continue to recover, the legislation “affirms it is in the national interest of the United States to work in close coordination with international partners to prevent and mitigate acts of genocide and mass atrocities.”

It “condemns ongoing acts of violence and mass atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians in Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan and elsewhere,” “urges the President to confer with Congress on an ongoing basis regarding the priorities and objectives of the Atrocities Prevention Board,” and “urges the President to work with Congress to strengthen the United States government’s ability to identify and more rapidly respond to genocide and mass atrocities in order to prevent where possible and mitigate the impact of such events.”

It supports U.S. and international efforts to “strengthen multilateral peacekeeping capacities; build capacity for democratic rule of law, security sector reform, and other measures to improve civilian protection in areas of conflict; ensure measures of accountability for perpetrators of mass atrocities and crimes against humanity; and strengthen the work of U.S. and international institutions, such as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which are working to document, identify, and prevent mass  atrocities and inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred and prevent genocide.”

“The United States Senate joins the people of Rwanda in mourning this tragic day and honoring the memory of all whose lives were taken,” Coons said. “Though no consolation to the families of those lost, the world has the responsibility to fulfill the promise of ‘never again.’ It is my hope that the memory of the Rwandan genocide will continue to embolden world leaders to act decisively in the face of genocide and mass atrocities, compelling us to act to protect civilians and prevent the loss of innocent lives.”

“As we consider the U.S. and international response to ongoing atrocities in the Central African Republic, Syria, South Sudan, and Sudan, I strongly support U.S. leadership, and close coordination with the international community, to prevent and mitigate mass atrocities,” he added.

Flake stressed that the U.S. should be “working with the international community to prevent mass atrocities and protecting populations at risk of crimes against humanity.”