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Obama launches Atrocities Prevention Board

United States President Obama announced last week the creation of a new body which will coordinate a government approach to genocide and other mass atrocities.

The Atrocities Prevention Board – whose exact authority, mandate, and structure will be under interagency review over the next months – will begin functioning within 120 days, according to the presidential directive announcing its creation.

See reports by the New York Times and Christian Science Monitor.

A senior White House official told the Times one reason Mr. Obama wanted to set up the Atrocities Prevention Board was to avoid a situation in which the president is presented with only two options to respond to a mass atrocity: intervening militarily or doing nothing.

Governmental engagement on atrocities and genocide too often arrives too late, when opportunities for prevention or low-cost, low-risk action have been missed,” a White House statement on the directive said.

“By the time these issues have commanded the attention of senior policy-makers, the menu of options has shrunk considerably and the costs of action have risen.”

The US move has been welcomed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. See UPI’s report here.