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June 30, 2011

Disrupting the Supply Chain for Mass Atrocities

Mass atrocities are organized crimes. Those who commit genocide and crimes against humanity depend on third parties for the goods and services—money, matériel, political support, and a host of other resources—that sustain large-scale violence against civilians. Third parties have supplied military aircraft used by the Sudan Armed Forces against civilians, refined gold and other minerals coming out of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and ensured a steady flow of arms into Rwanda. Governments seeking to prevent atrocities cannot afford a narrow and uncoordinated focus on the perpetrators of such violence. Rather, an effective strategy must include identifying and pressuring third-party enablers—individuals, commercial entities, and countries—in order to interrupt the supply chains that fuel mass violence against civilians. 

Human Rights First offers recommendations to the U.S. government to identify and thwart third-party enablers and thereby improve its capacity to prevent or mitigate mass atrocities.

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