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Item 8: General Debate
March 23, 2015

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

March 23, 2015

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States continues to be alarmed at the number of mass atrocities occurring around the globe, and we remain committed to responding to them more effectively.  We work daily to increase our capacity to prevent, mitigate, and respond to mass atrocities through better coordination domestically and stronger partnerships abroad.  Preventing mass atrocities – including through training, programmatic work, or multilateral engagement – and identifying early warning signs remains a daunting but surmountable challenge.

Our approach to atrocities prevention brings together a wide range of experts from across our government.  Each agency contributes its own respective tools and capacities.

A structured framework with all the relevant means and effective assessments of early warning signs and indicators is a key element of successful prevention.  Bilateral diplomacy, joint international demarches, and sanctions can be crucial in preventing a situation from escalating into a mass atrocity.

We strongly support the UN’s “Human Rights Up Front Initiative,” and encourage other member states to do the same.  This initiative has the potential to improve coordination and effectiveness across the UN system, as well as stimulate action.  We look forward to continuing to work together with UN departments and agencies and other member states to respond more effectively to situations of potential mass atrocities.

To this end, we strongly support the ongoing cooperation and dialogue between the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the OHCHR.  We also urge states to continue developing and strengthening their own systems for early warning and prevention.  Together, we should redouble our efforts to prevent and mitigate atrocities, including genocide, and hold perpetrators accountable.

Thank you.