US President Barrack Obama has slapped a ban on issuance of visas to people who committed Genocide and mass atrocities and ordered the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) to coordinate more effectively the response to unfolding human rights atrocities around the world.
Reports from the White House indicate that President Obama’s announcement is aimed at looking for ways to strengthen the American response to Genocide and other mass atrocities as a core national security interest and moral responsibility of the United States.
Currently, there are hundreds of people suspected to have masterminded the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi hiding in several countries across the world.
Speaking to The New Times, the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama said that Rwanda, as a United States ally, highly welcomes the move, saying that it was an opportunity towards bringing to justice perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“It is indeed a milestone and a historical move by the United States, and Rwanda as an ally, highly welcomes the announcement,” said Karugarama.
President Obama is quoted in a White House statement saying that, 66 years since the Holocaust and 17 years after Rwanda, the United States still lacks a comprehensive policy framework and a corresponding interagency mechanism for preventing and responding to mass atrocities and Genocide.
“By enumerating these grounds for denying admission to the United States, policymakers will have a new tool to deter would-be organisers of atrocities, serious human rights violations, and related abuses,” the statement reads.
Although certain types of human rights violators have already been banned from entering the United States under the 1965 U.S Immigration and Nationality Act, the president's proclamation will fill in gaps for those whose crimes did not fit into the specifically enumerated categories listed in the earlier legislation.