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Human rights organization urges Administration to garner a wide range of expertise and experiences to fulfill its mission

Contact: Sharon Singh, [email protected], 2202-675-8579

(Washington, DC) Amnesty International today hailed President Barack Obama's announcement of new efforts designed to prevent genocide, mass atrocities and other crimes against humanity. During a speech at the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C. the President announced several initiatives, including the formation of a new Atrocities Prevention Board, to be chaired by U.S. National Security Council Senior Director for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs Samantha Powers.

"International emergencies, as we are witnessing now in Syria and Sudan, remind us of the urgent need to marshal the human and technical resources to identify complex humanitarian situations before they become crises,” said Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty International USA executive director. “History teaches that early warnings of emerging threats against civilians save lives and treasure, allowing the international community to fulfill its responsibility to protect the world's most vulnerable populations.”

Amnesty International noted that there is strong bipartisan Congressional support for the President's initiative. The U.S. Senate in December, 2010, unanimously urged the Obama administration to intensify its efforts to prevent genocide and other mass atrocities by passing Senate Congressional Resolution 71 that was sponsored by U.S. Senators Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Susan Collins of Maine.

"This new 'all of government approach' reflects hard-learned lessons from tardy responses to past humanitarian crises,” said Frank Jannuzi, Amnesty International USA new deputy executive director for advocacy, policy and research. "Amnesty International hopes the new prevention board will not only coordinate efforts by the U.S. government, but also draw on the expertise of nongovernmental organizations and civil society groups here and abroad, in pursuit of its mission of 'never again.'"

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.