The Committee on Conscience mandate is to alert the national conscience, influence policy makers, and stimulate worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity. In carrying out this mandate, the Committee uses a wide range of actions, including public programs and activities, temporary exhibitions, and public or private communications with policy makers. It seeks, whenever possible, to work with other governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
The 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was signed by the United States in 1988, defines genocide as any of a number of acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group:
Crimes against humanity include a wide range of acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack.