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Obama creates atrocities prevention board

Aug. 4, 2011 at 2:12 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- President Obama signed a proclamation Thursday barring human-rights violators from entering the United States.

Obama also announced Thursday he is setting up an Interagency Atrocities Prevention Board to help detect and raise early warning signs to better prevent potential atrocities.

The board would be set up within 120 days from Thursday to coordinate a holistic government approach to the prevention of atrocities "early, proactively and decisively," a fact sheet distributed by the White House indicated.

"[Sixty-six] years since the Holocaust and 17 years after Rwanda, the United States still lacks a comprehensive policy framework and a corresponding interagency mechanism for preventing and responding to mass atrocities and genocide," Obama said.

The proclamation expands the grounds for denying entry into the United States to include an array of recognized violations of international humanitarian law and international criminal law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, the White House said. The proclamation covers individuals who organize or participate in serious human-rights violations, such as prolonged arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, slavery, and forced labor; as well as in widespread or systematic violence against civilians based on ethnicity or other grounds.

"The United States' enduring commitment to respect for human rights and humanitarian law requires that its government be able to ensure that the United States does not become a safe haven for serious violators of human rights and humanitarian law and those who engage in other related abuses," the proclamation read.

The proclamation also allows the United States to warn groups that either carried out or are carrying out serious human-rights violations or grave atrocities that their conduct is within the admission ban, the White House said.

"As such, we will be able to more effectively shame those who are organizing such conduct," the White House said.

The president's directive creating the Atrocities Prevention Board gives it the authority to develop prevention strategies and "to ensure that concerns are elevated for senior decision-making so that we are better able to work with our allies and partners to be responsive to early warning signs and prevent potential atrocities."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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