On Wednesday, November 14, George A. Lopez, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, testified at a Washington D.C. hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. The hearing focused on reducing the risk of mass atrocities worldwide.
Lopez spoke on the strategies for using targeted financial sanctions to avert mass atrocities, and emphasized the importance of sanctions as one tool within broad policy strategies to avert atrocity crimes.
"TFS [Targeted Financial Sanctions} need to be more integrated with other U.S. tools that alert would-be enablers and perpetrators to the reach of legal and political mechanisms that are being applied to them in their potential and actual behavior," Lopez said. "...in order for the U.S. to apply TFS effectively and promptly...demands high-level diplomatic knowledge and leadership. To ensure this, the U.S. Congress should take action to ensure the re-invigoration of the Atrocity Prevention Board which has languished over the past 18 months as changes continue to unfold in the U.S. State Department. Clear, strong, and coordinated TFS must be the product of a focused and fully-staffed office of professionals knowledgeable about the process of mass atrocities and how U.S. policy can prevent them."
The hearing was co-hosted by Representative James P. McGovern of Massachusetts and Representative Randy Hultgren of Illinois. Other witnesses at the hearing included Bridget Moix, Senior U.S. Representative and Head of Advocacy for Peace Direct, Jack Mayerhofer, Chief of Staff at the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, Jai-Ayla Quest, Program Officer for the Stanley Foundation, and Vasu Mohan of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.