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Presidential Directives a Step to Ensuring ‘Never Again’
Human Rights Watch
4 August 2011
 
(…) US President Barack Obama has issued two directives that will, if vigorously implemented, strengthen the US government’s commitment and capacity to prevent mass atrocities and other grave human rights violations around the world, Human Rights Watch said today.
 
The presidential directives, issued on August 4, 2011, create a high-level Atrocities Prevention Board within the US government to provide early warning of impending atrocities and human rights crises abroad and to recommend early action to prevent such crimes. (…)
 
“Streamlining the system won’t resolve the difficult question of whether and how the US should respond when a Rwanda-type genocide happens,” said Tom Malinowski, Washington director at Human Rights Watch. “But these directives should help to overcome the bureaucratic resistance and indifference that often delays steps that might prevent such catastrophes in the first place.”
 
Obama also directed the US State Department to deny US visas to those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of human rights. (…)
 
These measures are a helpful example of the concrete steps governments can take to carry out the “responsibility to protect,” Human Rights Watch said. (…)
 
Human Rights Watch expressed hope that this effort will elevate the prevention of serious international crimes to a higher plane among the United States’ many competing international priorities, and create permanent structures that will speed needed action in this and future US administrations.
 
Human Rights Watch also called on the Obama administration to carry out the new policy for denying visas consistently, including with respect to political officials responsible for serious human rights abuses in countries with which the United States maintains close relationships. (…)
 
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