The number of armed conflicts around the world has decreased in recent years, but the number of civilians affected by violence has not. In South Sudan, more than a million people fled their homes in the past year after a rise in violence along the Sudanese border. In Mexico, nearly 50,000 people have died due to drug-related violence during the past five years, according to the BBC. In Syria, the United Nations estimates that more than 10,000 civilians have died from a brutal government crackdown and unfolding civil war.
Creating Structures for Peace
The U.S. government is taking some steps to create structures to help prevent future genocides and atrocities. High-level Obama administration officials carry a personal commitment to improve U.S. policy and government systems that was forged through experience, particularly with the genocide in Rwanda. The administration has taken some initial steps, such as creating a bureau in the State Department devoted to the prevention of deadly conflict and using a Presidential Study Directive to establish a high–level Atrocities Prevention Board. The Board will bring together senior officials from across the government to improve interagency capacities and develop new tools to help prevent atrocities. This structure could also turn early warnings of violence into a rapid-response preventive strategy.
For more on this story, visit: FCNL: How to Prevent Violence Before It Begins: A U.S. Policy Primer | Friends Committee on National Legislation.