Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today applauded President Obama for creating a new interagency panel which can play a crucial role in preventing global mass atrocities. The Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) is the result of a 2011 Presidential study directive on addressing mass atrocities as a policy priority. The Board will combat genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing. PHR also congratulates Samantha Power, who will chair the Board.
The panel includes the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, Justice, Homeland Security, and other agencies whose representatives are tasked with the early identification of threats of mass atrocities and with developing adequate responses by the US government. Policies could include the imposition of sanctions, such as those announced today by President Obama against companies which enable Syria and Iran to use communication monitoring technologies to crack down on protesters.
PHR calls on all relevant agency heads to fully commit to this new panel by assigning senior level staff to its meetings, so it can operate in a rapid response fashion without the hindrance of bureaucratic red tape. PHR also calls on the intelligence community to make all possible resources available to the Board in a timely manner to provide the necessary broad-based intelligence for its important deliberations.
PHR also requests that the Board engage openly with international and local human rights organizations as it develops methods to prevent mass atrocities.
PHR further calls on the US Congress to fully endorse this important body and to provide all the necessary resources to ensure its successful operations.