Statement for the International Day of Victims of Genocide

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 9, 2019


The United States pays tribute to victims of genocide and is pleased to participate in today’s commemoration to ensure we end these and future atrocities. We recognize the importance of protecting populations from mass atrocities and genocide, and its broader impacts on global peace and security.

The United States also welcomes the work of Special Advisers Dieng and Smith and the critical work their teams are doing here at the UN as well as on the ground. We welcomed the additional focus this year by both offices and the SG’s office on the role of human rights abuses and violations as potential early warning signs of mass atrocities and genocide. Identifying and responding to human rights violations is a critical component of prevention. Victims of genocide deserve proper accountability -holding perpetrators responsible for their actions delivers an important message to others who may commit such crimes in the future. We are pleased that the mechanisms established by the Human Rights Up Front Initiative are still ongoing.

When President Trump signed the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act into law on January 14, 2019, he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to preventing and responding to atrocities as a matter of national interest. The legislation highlights the importance of a coordinated “whole of government” approach to strengthen the U.S. government’s ability to forecast, prevent, and respond to mass atrocities.

In support of early warning and prevention, the Department of State conducts quarterly statistical analysis of global atrocity risks, as well as deeper analysis focused on high-risk countries to determine potential pathways to atrocities. To address atrocity risks identified through these assessments, the U.S. government pinpoints gaps in existing diplomatic and programmatic activities, formulates recommendations and policy options, and engages to mitigate atrocity risk utilizing the full spectrum of available responses. As part of this effort, the U.S. Government has developed training programs to enhance our own government’s abilities to more effectively respond to potential early warning indicators.

The United States is engaged in prevention work in related agendas as well. Earlier this year, we unveiled the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security – a government-wide framework which articulates the United States’ commitment to promoting the meaningful participation of women in efforts to prevent and respond to global insecurity and conflict. The Strategy is a testament to our resolute support for the power of diplomacy and partnership to advance the full inclusion of women in addressing the challenges and opportunities this body confronts every day, including the prevention of, and response to, mass atrocities.

Thank you.