Obama urged to prioritize genocide prevention

10th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

With an annual outlay of 250 million dollars, plans to prevent future acts of genocide are a costly initiative.

United Nations -- A bipartisan team of former top US policy makers urged president-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday to make the prevention of genocide a national priority and to set up a high-level mechanism toward that end.

Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former defence secretary William Cohen came to UN headquarters to unveil the report of the Genocide Prevention Task Force, which they co-chaired.

Entitled "Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for US policy-makers", the study listed 34 recommendations, including improved early warning mechanisms, early action to prevent crises, greater preparedness to use military force as a last resort, and steps to strengthen global norms and institutions.

"The central premise of our report is that genocide is unacceptable and that we can and should do more to prevent it," Albright, who served as US chief diplomat under President Bill Clinton, told a press conference.

"The United States does not bear this burden alone but we have both the duty and a profound interest in helping to show the way," she said.

Albright said Obama's incoming administration "should treat the prevention of genocide as a top foreign policy priority" which should pervade both US national security agencies and their multilateral bodies.

She also recommended that the US government "create a high level inter-agency mechanism that is specifically focused on stopping genocide before it happens."

She said her task force proposes appropriating 250 million dollars annually to finance specially tailored projects in countries at risk.


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