A new law compelling the US Government to respond to genocide and atrocities around the world has been named after Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.
Signed into law by Donald Trump on Monday, the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act requires the US State Department to establish a mass atrocities taskforce to help prevent and respond to such crimes.
It also establishes a “complex crises” fund for international events including genocide and mandates the Government to train US foreign-service personnel on how to detect the early signs of atrocities.
The bill was signed into law by Trump despite his administration promising to withdraw US forces from conflict hotspots such as Syria, where Islamic State militias are widely believed to have perpetrated genocide against the Yazidi minority.
The new had bipartisan support, US lawmakers arguing that atrocities and genocide are “a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility”.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder welcomed the US Government’s decision to take “an important leading step,” adding: “There is no more appropriate person to name this law after than Elie Wiesel.”
Romanian-born Wiesel survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald to become an American professor and prolific author who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 in recognition of his campaigning for victims of persecution around the world.
“Throughout his life Elie served as a moral compass for humanity,” said Lauder. “He taught the world that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. It is imperative that this message continues to live on. We cannot sit by in silence amid the growing threats of terror, racism, xenophobia, and antisemitism.”
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
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