Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Presidential Proclamation And Study Directive On Suspension Of Entry As Immigrants And Nonimmigrants Of Human Rights And Humanitarian Law Violators

“I commend President Obama for recognizing the moral responsibility of the United States to prevent mass atrocities.  The United States must be a leader in protecting human rights and taking action to protect those who are threatened.  The United States failed to act to stop the Rwandan genocide, and acted far too slowly during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  But the action taken by the President today is welcome, even if overdue.  The authority granted to the Secretary of State will be equally important as a tool of diplomacy. 

“In 2004, Congress enacted the Anti-Atrocity Alien Deportation Act, which I fought for years to pass.  That law bars from the United States those who have committed torture, extrajudicial killing or serious violations of religious freedom.  Today’s announcement expands that authority to a wider array of human rights violations, building on the foundation of the Anti-Atrocity law and solidifying the United States’ commitment to prevent those abuses from occurring.” 

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