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Obama bans U.S. entry for suspected human rights violators

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Obama instructs officials to begin a 100-day review of policy options available to prevent human rights violations
  • Obama bans U.S. entry for suspected war criminals and others guilty of rights violations
  • The secretary of state is responsible for determining who will be kept out
  • Obama establishes an Atrocities Prevention Board to improve U.S. ability to stop mass atrocities

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama issued a proclamation Thursday barring entry into the United States of any individuals who have participated in war crimes or other serious human rights violations.

Under the terms of the order, which took effect immediately, the secretary of state is responsible for determining who will be kept out of the country. Exceptions can be made to accommodate U.S. foreign interests.

"Universal respect for human rights and humanitarian law and the prevention of atrocities internationally promotes U.S. values and fundamental U.S. interests in helping secure peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises around the globe," Obama said in the proclamation.

The president also ordered the establishment of an interagency Atrocities Prevention Board to help strengthen the United States' ability to prevent mass atrocities. The new panel is set to begin its work within 120 days.

"Sixty-six 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," Obama said in a written statement. "This has left us ill-prepared to engage early, proactively, and decisively to prevent threats from evolving into large-scale civilian atrocities."

The president instructed administration officials to undertake a 100-day review of the current "inventory" of diplomatic, economic, and other tools available to policymakers with respect to the prevention of human rights violations. The goal of the review, according to a White House statement, is to help devise more coordinated responses and prevention efforts on both a domestic and international level.

CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report