President Obama outlined a series of policies Monday aimed at helping the U.S. government better respond to the threat of genocide around the world, declaring that ”œnational sovereignty is never a license to slaughter your people.”
Speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Obama invoked the international community’s vows of ”œnever again” but also cited the difficulties of fulfilling that pledge in the 21st century, recalling post-World War II mass killings in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia and other places to say, ”œWe are haunted by the atrocities we did not stop, by the lives we did not save.”
Obama announced the formal establishment of the Atrocities Prevention Board, which will draw senior officials from across the government. The panel will serve as a clearinghouse for real-time intelligence, policymaking and other issues related to the threat of mass killings.
He also announced the preparation of the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate ”” the consensus view of all U.S. intelligence agencies ”” appraising the potential for mass killings in countries around the world.
”œWe must tell our children. But more than that, we must teach them,” Obama said in a solemn 25-minute address. ”œBecause remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture.”
On Monday, he announced an executive order that allows U.S. officials for the first time to impose sanctions against foreign nationals found to have used new technologies, including cellphone tracking and Internet monitoring, to help carry out grave human rights abuses.
”œThese technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them,” Obama said.