Congressional bill named for Elie Wiesel aims to stop genocides

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and named for the late Elie Wiesel aims to improve the U.S. response to emerging or potential genocides.

The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017 introduced Thursday serves to improve U.S. efforts to prevent major casualties overseas.

Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Ann Wagner R-Mo., introduced the measure named for the Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate. It ensures that the official policy of the United States deems the prevention of genocide and other crimes a matter of national security interest.

“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,” Crowley said.

The act would also establish an interagency Mass Atrocities Task Force and encourage the director of national intelligence to include information on atrocities in the annual crime report to Congress. It also enables training for U.S. Foreign Service officers on detecting early signs of atrocities.

“From the Holocaust to South Sudan, from Burma to Syria, the world has witnessed far too many genocides and mass atrocity crimes,” Wagner said. “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.”

× BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - JANUARY 18:  People hold banners and pictures during a vigil on the first anniversary of Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman's death in Buenos Aires, on January 18, 2016. Nisman was the chief investigator of the 1994 car bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. On 18 January 2015, Nisman was found dead at his home in Buenos Aires. (Photo by Omer Musa Targal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) Featured

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