In commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum designated Stories of Freedom: What You Do Matters as the theme for Days of Remembrance 2010. Among the events the Museum held was an interview conducted by Sara Bloomfield, Director of the Museum, with Assistant Secretary of State Mike Posner. Posner addressed the challenges of fighting anti-Semitism and responding to genocide today. Assistant Secretary Posner complimented the work of the Genocide Prevention Task Force, which the Museum helped convene, and discussed progress that the Obama Administration has made in implementing the recommendations of the Task Force report.
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In Foreign Policy, Mike Abramowitz, the Director of the Committee on Conscience at the Museum, and Lawrence Woocher, senior program officer at USIP, discuss the significance of intelligence chief Dennis Blair's testimony to the Senate and his emphasis on the risks facing Southern Sudan.
On December 10, the Museum hosted a special program with U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Susan Rice. Michael Abramowitz, Director of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, interviewed Ambassador Rice, discussing her work at the UN and her experiences working on issues of genocide and mass atrocities.
Last night in a special program at the Museum, Ambassador Susan Rice, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, made clear that the U.S. government has adopted benchmarks by which it will measure whether Sudan is making progress in meeting humanitarian and other obligations -- and they will be assessed quarterly. There has been some ambiguity about whether such benchmarks existed. The benchmarks are very specific and have been agreed on by "the highest officials, including the President of the United States, and by us at the principals level," Rice said. The status quo in Sudan, Rice insisted, was inherently unacceptable. Asked whether there had been consequences for the perpetrators in Darfur, Rice replied, "Not enough."
On September 21, the Will to Intervene Project, developed jointly by General Romeo Dallaire, the commander of the UN peacekeeping force for Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies released its final report, "Mobilizing the Will to Intervene: Leadership and Action to Prevent Mass Atrocities" (external link). According to the Montreal Institute's website, the goal of the Will to Intervene Project is:
On May 14th, the House introduced H.R. 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010-2011, which includes language requiring reports on the U.S. capacity to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. Section 1002 of the Bill specifically invokes the Genocide Prevention Task Force report, “The December 2008 Report of the Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen offers a valuable blueprint for strengthening United States capacities to help prevent genocide and mass atrocities,” and calls for a feasibility assessment of implementing some key report recommendations and recommends to further strengthen U.S. capacity to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. In addition to the inclusion of language on atrocity prevention rather than response, this is significant because it also paves the way for the Senate to support key provisions from the House State Authorization Bill.
John Heffernan discusses his recent trip to the Congo and the importance of genocide prevention in an editorial piece (external link) published on May 22 in the Huffington Post:
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum notes with sadness the death of Jack Kemp, who passed away on Saturday, May 2, after a battle with cancer.
As the nation approaches the swearing in of America’s 44th president, and as the 114th Congress gets underway, a group of bipartisan leaders joins the Genocide Prevention Task Force’s call for the new administration and congressional leaders to make preventing genocide and mass atrocities a national priority.
The Genocide Prevention Task Force today released its final report on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The report makes the case for why genocide and mass atrocities threaten core American values and national interests, and how the U.S. government can prevent these crimes in the future.