July 21, Paris – The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression On 15 July,
The US state department announced its report “Strategy to Anticipate, Prevent, and Respond to Atrocities” for 2022. And it is the first comprehensive strategy in US history that anticipated mass crimes including war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression welcomes this announcement, which can be a serious step in efforts to prevent and respond to mass atrocities around the world. The Center appreciates the pivotal role that the United States can play in supporting and enhancing respect for human rights around the world, and in Syria in particular, and believes that transforming this ambitious strategy into a reality requires a firm and continuous commitment from the United States to the objectives of this strategy, and serious work with international partners and civil societies in the countries concerned. It also stresses the need for the United States to join the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as a necessary step in this context The report says that the US takes timely and effective action to anticipate, prevent, and respond to atrocities, in coordination with partner governments, and international, civil society, and local partners. The White House-led Atrocity Prevention Task Force (Task Force) coordinates these efforts. The Task Force includes representatives from the Departments of State (State), Defense (DoD), Homeland Security (DHS), and Justice (DoJ); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Treasury (Treasury); United States Agency for International Development (USAID); and Intelligence Community (IC) and other institutions. The Task Force prioritizes early identification and prevention of atrocities in countries most at risk for atrocities, as determined by the Task Force on at least an annual basis. In cases of ongoing atrocities, the Task Force supports regional policy processes in developing and monitoring targeted response options and adjusting course as needed. In the aftermath of atrocities, the Task Force supports regional policy processes by recommending and monitoring recovery efforts to address the legacies of human rights abuses, pursue accountability, justice, and redress and help prevent recurrence. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said during the strategy announcement, “Virtually every day, at this moment, we hear of new atrocities committed against civilians in Ukraine as schools and hospitals bombed and women and girls raped, and men and boys executed.” and she added “But we all know that Ukraine is not the only place in the world where people suffer as a result of atrocities and human rights violations. Atrocities are occurring in South Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Syria, where the Assad regime has committed war crimes.”