Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, who described efforts to prevent genocide positive steps. UPI/keizo Mori | License Photo
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Measures declared last week by Washington to work to prevent genocide and mass atrocities are positive steps, the U.N. secretary-general said.
U.S. President Barack Obama called for an atrocities prevention board to respond quickly to early signs of alleged human rights abuses. Human rights abusers and war criminals would be hindered from getting visas into the United States under the initiative.
Obama said prevention of atrocities and respect for human rights laws are fundamental U.S interests.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement praised the Obama administration for upholding its responsibility to protect civilians from atrocities.
"If the responsibility to protect is to become fully operational, the solemn commitments undertaken by member states at the United Nations will have to be matched by innovative and sustained measures at the national level," he added in a statement through his spokesman.
Ban last month at a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly called for international efforts to make sure the 21st century was not one in which the pages of history were "written in the blood of innocents."