Chapter 045

2011 -- S 0290 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 06/06/11





     Introduced By: Senator Joshua Miller

     Date Introduced: February 16, 2011


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Title 16 of the General Laws entitled "EDUCATION" is hereby amended

by adding thereto the following chapter:





     16-93-1. Legislative findings. -- The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:

     (1) On November 4, 1988 the United States government ratified the International

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ("Genocide

Convention") which was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Upon

ratification, the United States government recognized that throughout all periods of history,

genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity, and was convinced that, in order to liberate

mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation was required.

     (2) The United States government recognizes that genocide still continues, today, in the

twenty-first (21st) century. The United States Congress passed House Con. Resolution 467,

"Declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan" on July 22, 2004. On September 9, 2004, the United

States Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the United States Senate Foreign Relations

Committee that "genocide has occurred and may still be occurring in Darfur. Additionally,

President George W. Bush affirmed the Secretary of State's finding on September 21, 2004, when

he addressed the United Nations General Assembly by saying: "At this hour, the world is

witnessing terrible suffering and horrible crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan, crimes my

government has concluded are genocide."

     (3) The United States Department of Education says "education is primarily a State and

local responsibility in the United States. It is States and communities, as well as public and

private organizations of all kinds that establish schools and college and develop curricula…"

     (4) The State of Rhode Island also has previously demonstrated its concerns and interests

regarding raising awareness on subject of genocide.

     (i) In 2000, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed house bill No. 7397 "Genocide

and Human Rights Education," requiring the Rhode Island Department of Education to "develop

curricular material on genocide and human rights issues and guidelines for the teaching of that


     (ii) In 2007, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed house bill No. 5142, requiring

the state investment commission to divest its assets from targeted companies in Sudan.

     (5) The establishment of free public education in the United States is intended to prepare

citizens for participation in American social, economic, and political activities.

     (6) The State of Rhode Island has also previously demonstrated its concerns for civic

education, of which genocide education should be a component. In 2005, the General Assembly

directed the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education to develop and adopt a

set of grade level standards in civic education by August 31, 2007.

     (7) Given the importance of the issue of genocide to the political affairs of the United

States, as well as the responsibility of the state to educate its citizens, it is a fundamental

responsibility of the State of Rhode Island to ensure that the critical subject of genocide is

included as part of the curriculum in all public schools.

     (8) It is the judgment of the Rhode Island General Assembly to encourage that every

board of education in the state shall include instruction on the subject of genocide in an

appropriate place in the curriculum, for all middle and high school students.


     16-93-2. Definitions. -- For the purpose of this chapter, the following words shall have

the following meanings:

     (1) "Genocide," as defined by the Genocide Convention: "means" any of the following

acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious

group, such as: (i) Killing members of the group; (ii) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to

members of the group; (iii) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to

bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (iv) Imposing measures intended to

prevent births within the group and/or; (v) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another



     16-93-3. Powers and duties. -- The state shall adhere to the following procedures:

     (1) The Department of Education shall make available on its website curriculum

materials and such other materials as may assist local and regional school committees in

developing instructional programs pursuant to this section. The curriculum materials may include

information on relevant genocides, including the Holocaust, Armenia, Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda,

and Darfur.


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.



LC01220/SUB A