The United States called out genocide and atrocities happening in six countries —Myanmar (also known as Burma,) China, Ethiopia, Iraq, Syria and South Sudan — as part of a report highlighting how the U.S. government is using financial, diplomatic and other measures to try to stop them. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday released an Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about the release of the 2021 Congressional Report Pursuant to the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act at the State Department in Washington, July 12, 2021.”We’ll use all of the tools that are at our disposal, including diplomacy, foreign assistance, investigations in fact-finding missions, financial tools and engagements, and reports like this one, which raise awareness and allow us to generate coordinated international pressure and response,” Blinken added.In January, Blinken affirmed that China was committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region. The State Department continues to restrict visas for Chinese officials believed to be responsible for detaining or abusing Muslim minorities.The U.S., European Union, Britain and Canada had sanctioned two Chinese officials for their involvement in the human rights abuses. Dozens of Chinese companies have also been added to the U.S. Entity List for their roles in human rights abuses in Xinjiang.  The prevention of a genocide is not only a moral responsibility but also an obligation under international law, said some experts, while noting some limitations. FILE – A perimeter fence is constructed around what is officially known as a vocational skills education center in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, Sept. 4, 2018.”Acts of genocide are crimes of universal jurisdiction in U.S. federal courts. No matter where the crimes of genocide were committed, the perpetrators can be tried in U.S. federal courts,” Gregory Stanton, the founding president of FILE – A woman leans on the wall of a damaged house that was shelled as federal-aligned forces entered the city, in Wukro, north of Mekele, capital of Tigray, March 1, 2021.In March, Blinken called atrocities committed in Ethiopia’s Tigray region acts of ethnic cleansing. The U.S. is restricting certain nonhumanitarian assistance to Ethiopia, as well as placing new defense trade controls on that country.”Both reviews are ongoing. We’re bringing together the facts, the legal assessments, and both are being very actively considered,” said the top U.S. diplomat on Monday when asked about the U.S. government’s decision on whether to call atrocities committed in Tigray and in Burma (against Rohingya) crimes against humanity or genocide. But Genocide Watch’s Stanton criticized the State Department, saying its lawyers have blocked declarations that genocide had been committed in many other countries.  “For three months during the Rwandan genocide, they refused to call it genocide. They are still blocking recognition that genocide was committed against the Rohingya in Burma. They are blocking recognition that genocide is being committed against Christians in Nigeria,” Stanton told VOA in an email on Monday.   The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018 was signed into U.S. law on January 14, 2019. The law requires updates on the U.S. government’s efforts to prevent and respond to atrocities based on a global assessment of ongoing atrocities and countries at risk of atrocities.  

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