Genocide Petition launched. House of Lords debate Genocide against Christians and Yazidis; Vote in the European Parliament; UN Report points to genocide. Council of Europe resolution. Presidential Candidates say Christians and Yazidis subject to genocide. U.S.Senate Resolution on genocide. House of Commons Motion, January 2016 and other reports.


https://adfinternational.org/2016/02/17/experts-on-genocide-in-middle-east-now-is-the-time-to-act – February 18th 2016

 

An electronic petition to Downing Street has been launched to “Declare the actions of Daesh against minorities as genocide”

 

Daesh is committing genocide against those who do not subscribe to their mis-interpretation of Islam. Notably against the minority:

Christians, Yezidi, Turkmen, Shabak, Kurds & Shia. The UK must follow the example of the European Parliament and formally acknowledge the genocide, so it can be stopped

 

Genocide is any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,

by: -Killing members of the group; -Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; -Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; -Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; -Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

To sign the petition go to the following link and spread the word:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/121879/sponsors/zudQLw4wWl6ML6Jtbol

Also see:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431425/genocide-christians-iraq-syria-obama-administration-state-department

http://www.premier.org.uk/News/World/Renewed-call-for-IS-treatment-of-Christians-to-be-called-genocide

 

Monday, 8 February 2016.

 

Refugees: Unaccompanied Children

Question

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB): My Lords, following the statement last week by Brian Donald, the head of Europol, that 10,000 children had disappeared and an entire criminal infrastructure dedicated to exploiting migrants had been established, will the Minister tell the House what representations we have made to

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Europol and what discussions we are having with it about tackling this? Also, given that the 100,000 people now massing at Oncupinar, on the Turkish border with the Aleppo province, are facing an aerial bombardment campaign and the borders are closed to them—many of those refugees will be children—what action are the Government taking to ask that those borders be opened to allow the refugees safe passage across?

Lord Bates: The noble Lord is absolutely right to focus on this. Europol estimates that some 90% of people who arrive at Calais have been trafficked by criminal gangs. That is why the Prime Minister announced that we are setting up the Organised Immigration Crime Task Force, and there have been some early successes, although we need to work much harder on that. That is also why Kevin Hyland—I know the noble Lord knows him and respects his work—is looking at those issues. On the situation in Turkey, that is why we have announced a further £275 million as part of the EU-Turkey agreement, to provide aid to that southern border.

 

Syria

Statement

6.06 pm

6.25 pm

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB): My Lords, within the past half hour a Yazidi woman gave evidence here in the House about the plight of the minorities in the region. The Minister will know that the European

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Parliament passed a resolution last week declaring these events to be genocide. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has done the same. What effort was made at the conference to prioritise the needs of groups such as the Yazidis, the Christians, the Shabaks and others who have suffered this genocide? Although everyone has suffered in this conflict, these people are peculiarly and specifically targeted because of their ethnicity or religion. What is being done to assist them?

Will the Minister return to the question that the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, put to her about events in the province of Aleppo today? Around 100,000 people are amassed on the border with Turkey. Because of the aerial bombardment by the Russians, these people’s lives are in the balance, but they are not being allowed over the border. What are we doing to persuade Turkey to open the border to give safe refuge to those people?

Baroness Verma: My Lords, on the question of the minority groups within Syria, there have been horrific attacks by violent extremists on Christians and other religious minorities within Syria. As the noble Lord is aware, all our UK-funded humanitarian assistance is distributed on the basis of need alone, to ensure that civilians are not discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion or ethnicity. We prioritise reaching the most vulnerable across Syria, and that includes all groups. Of course, it is a challenging environment; these are incredibly complex, difficult areas to navigate, but I take the noble Lord’s point. Of course, where we can, we will work closely with the NGOs on the ground to get aid to as many people as possible.

The noble Lord mentioned the latest indications about the numbers of people being displaced from Aleppo. We know that many of them are sheltering in the border area, with more people on the move. We are exploring all options on how we can ensure that their humanitarian needs are met.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Con): My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Alton, that with Daesh we are seeing genocide. I know that the word has to be clearly defined, but the sooner that is recognised and settled, the better.

————

Details of today’s vote in the European Parliament: Thursday February 2nd 2016: 

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20160129IPR11938/MEPs-call-for-urgent-action-to-protect-religious-minorities-against-ISISMEPs call for urgent action to protect religious minorities against ISIS
Plenary Session Press release – External relations − 04-02-2016 – 12:53

MEPs urge the international community to take urgent action to counter the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh, in a resolution voted on Thursday. The text wraps up a 20 January debate with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, in which many MEPs called for measures to protect all religious and minority groups against ISIS attacks.

MEPs reiterate their strong condemnation of ISIS/Daesh and its egregious human rights abuses, deliberately targeting Christians, Yazidis and other minorities who do not agree with their interpretation of Islam. These violations amount to “genocide” according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), they add.

The resolution, passed by show of hands, calls on the EU to establish a permanent Special Representative for Freedom of Religion and Belief and urges all countries in the international community to prevent genocide within their territory. All EU member states should update their legal and jurisdictional systems in order to prevent their nationals and citizens travelling to join ISIS/Daesh and other terrorist organisations and also ensure that, should they do so, they face criminal court proceedings as soon as possible, adds the text.
Also see:

February 4th 2016: Article on Genocide:

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/february-5th-2016/we-cannot-ignore-this-genocide/

 

 —————————————————————-

Subject: Last Night’s Debate on Genocide against Christians and Yazidis

 

Last night (February 3rd) the House of Lords debated an amendment which would require consideration to be given  to declaring events in Syria and Iraq as a genocide and to prioritise asylum arrangements for those who have been affected.

The all-party amendment received support from all sides of the House – including Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Welsh Nationalist and Independent Peers.

At the conclusion of the debate (see below) the Home Office Minister, Lord Bates, agreed to give the proposal further consideration. The movers have indicated that if agreement cannot be reached they will call a vote at the next stage. If successful the House of Commons would then be given a vote.

Please draw this to the attention of those who are concerned about the plight of minorities such as Yazidis and Christians.

——————————————————————

 

Amendment 234A

Moved by Lord Alton of Liverpool

234A: After Clause 38, insert the following new Clause—

“Conditions for grant of asylum: cases of genocide

(1) A person seeking asylum in the United Kingdom who belongs to a national, ethnical, racial or religious group which is,

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in the place from which that person originates, subject to the conditions detailed in Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, shall be presumed to meet the conditions for asylum in the United Kingdom.

(2) The adjudication of whether the group to which the person seeking asylum belongs meets the description specified in subsection (1) shall be determined by a Justice of the Supreme Court after consideration of the available facts.

(3) Applicants for asylum in the United Kingdom from groups designated under this section may submit their applications and have them assessed at British missions overseas.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB): My Lords, in moving the amendment, I thank those noble Lords, from all sides of your Lordships’ House, who encouraged me to table it, and especially the co-signatories, my noble friend Lady Cox, the noble Baroness, Lady Nicholson of Winterbourne, and the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean. The amendment provides a presumption that a person will be granted asylum when a judge of the Supreme Court has determined that a group to which that person belongs is, in the place from which that person originates, subject to genocide. The presumption will operate in the UK but, in addition, applicants would be able to apply at British consular posts overseas. Genocide is defined in Article 2 of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as follows:

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”.

Just one week ago, in Strasbourg, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution condemning the actions of Daesh/ISIS in the Middle East as genocide. The resolution, “Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq”, states that ISIS,

“has perpetrated acts of genocide and other serious crimes punishable under international law”.

The resolution unequivocally states that the actions that ISIS has committed are genocide, and was passed by 117 votes for and just one against. While we have been considering Day 4 of the Committee stage of this Bill, the European Parliament has been debating and will, tomorrow, vote on a similar resolution to that of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, identifying the plight of minorities such as Yazidis and Christians as genocide. This is a view also shared by 75 Members of your Lordships’ House and another place, who wrote to the Prime Minister just before Christmas urging her Majesty’s Government to declare events in Syria and Iraq as a genocide. In that December letter to the Prime Minister, the signatories said:

“There is no doubt in our minds that the targeting of Christians and other religious minorities by Daesh falls within that definition”.

Signatories include the former chief of staff, the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Guthrie, and the former head of MI5, the noble Lord, Lord Evans. The letter urges

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the British Government to seek agreement at the United Nations that we should name things for what they are. The letter insisted:

“This is not simply a matter of semantics. There would be two main benefits from the acceptance by the UN that genocide is being perpetrated”.

The first is that those responsible would one day face a day of judicial reckoning, and the second is that it would require the 147 states who have signed the convention to step up to the plate and,

“face up to their duty to take the necessary action to ‘prevent and punish’ the perpetrators”.

There is now clear evidence that this genocide includes assassinations of church leaders, mass murders, torture, kidnapping for ransom, the sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women, forcible conversions, the destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries and Christian artefacts and theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity alike. The caliphate has made public statements taking credit for the mass murder of Christians and expressing its intent to eliminate these minority communities and other groups, such as homosexuals, from its territory.

The Government response thus far seeks to avoid the duty set out in the convention stating:

“It is a long-standing Government policy that any judgements on whether genocide has occurred are a matter for the international judicial system rather than governments or other non-judicial bodies”.

This is a frustrating and circular argument. Which international courts and judges should decide, on the basis of what process and in considering what evidence? What steps are the Government actually taking to ensure that those courts do indeed urgently consider the matter and reach a conclusion? On 16 December in Parliamentary Answer HL4327, the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St Johns said:

“We are not submitting any evidence of possible genocide against Yazidis and Christians to international courts, nor have we been asked to”.

As for referring this matter to the International Criminal court she told me:

“I understand that, as the matter stands, Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor, has determined not to take these matters forward”.—[Official Report, 16/12/15; col. 2146.]

If no one is willing to name this for what it is or to take this forward then the genocide convention becomes nothing more than window dressing and is an insult to the intention of the original drafters and ratifiers as “never again” inevitably repeats itself over and over again.

Meanwhile, people are being ruthlessly targeted, and so is their culture and history. Last week, we learned that ISIS has obliterated Mosul’s ancient, stone-walled monastery of St Elijah, dating from the sixth century, where monks had etched “chi rho”, the first Greek letters of the word “Kristos”. This attempt to eradicate memory has been accompanied by the obliteration of those whose beliefs do not comply with theirs. Last year, 200 Assyrian Christians in the Khabour river valley were kidnapped and jihadi websites showed graphic executions of some of the group, warning that others would be executed if the ransoms remained unpaid. Last August, the ancient Saint Eliane monastery

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in central Syria, which was founded more than 1,500 years ago, was destroyed by ISIS and dozens of Syriac Christians were abducted. Last year, a UN report said that ISIS continues,

“to deliberately and wantonly loot and destroy places of religious and cultural significance … which ISIS considers as un-Islamic. Generally, these sites are looted before being destroyed”.

Along with the Yazidi community, Christians have been told to convert or die. Children have been seized, propagandised and indoctrinated with jihadist ideology. That UN report warns that the situation continues to deteriorate, saying:

“UNAMI/OHCHR continues to have grave concerns for the welfare and safety of those held in ISIL captivity”.

The United Nations report states that that ISIS is holding 3,500 slaves hostage, mainly women and children. It said that ISIS has committed acts that,

“amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide”,

against minority groups, and that ISIS’s “systematic and widespread violence”, including beheadings, shootings and burnings, was “staggering”. Mass graves honeycomb part of the region. In a recent Parliamentary Answer HL4065, the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, told me:

“We are aware of reports that mass graves have been discovered … at least one of which was allegedly booby trapped by Daesh”.

Murder is accompanied by other horrors. An estimated 5,000 young Yazidi women and girls have been abducted by ISIS, suffering horrific and prolonged sexual abuse. They were imprisoned for months on end, beaten, burnt and exposed to daily rape and torture. Horrifyingly, some of those victims were as young as nine. Sadly, some girls have taken their own lives in desperate attempts to escape the horrors of captivity.

10 pm

A few weeks ago I chaired a meeting here that was attended by the Archbishop of Aleppo. We were told how, in a village outside Aleppo, ISIS cut the tops off the fingers of a 14 year-old boy because his Christian father refused to convert. They then crucified the boy and killed the father. At a meeting organised by the noble Baroness, Lady Nicholson, a former Yazidi MP, speaking here, said that she could not understand why the West had not declared these events a genocide and why we had remained silent. Hillary Clinton says that although she was reluctant to use the term “genocide” a few months ago to describe the IS atrocities, there is now “enough evidence” for her to use that word to denounce the murders of religious minorities by the jihadi group. Mrs Clinton said:

“What is happening is genocide, deliberately aimed at destroying not only the lives but wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East in territory controlled by ISIS”.

The amendment is designed to focus the debate, rouse our consciences and provide some practical help. I heard yesterday from Assyrian Christians who had been told that it may take up to six years to process their asylum applications. Many Christian refugees in Lebanon are not even registered with UNHCR, too fearful even to go into the camps. In the context of continuing threats to their security, impoverishment, lack of access to work or schooling and no hope of a home, these delays are undoubtedly contributing to

3 Feb 2016 : Column 1891

the decision of many to undertake the hazardous journeys that we have been discussing during our proceedings, and undoubtedly many more will follow in their footsteps. Given that the Weidenfeld Fund, Mercury One and Operation Safe Havens are able to process applications and do the necessary security clearances—to a higher standard than UNHCR—in a matter of weeks, such delays are completely unacceptable. The late Lord Weidenfeld’s decision to create a special fund to assist Syrian Christians should inspire us all to do more. Although the noble Lord, Lord Bates, said in a Parliamentary Answer to me only yesterday:

“We recognise the plight faced by vulnerable women and girls in the region, and particularly Yazidi women who have escaped following enslavement by ISIS”,

and although the Government detail the significant sums of money that they provide for humanitarian relief, the reality is that Yazidis and Assyrian Christians have simply not been prioritised.

I urge the Government to collect the evidence—the names; the dates; the photographs of atrocities; the numbers killed, tortured, abducted or sold into sexual slavery; the accounts of forced conversions; the churches, shrines and manuscripts destroyed—and to trigger the process of bringing the perpetrators to justice and to name this for what it is. Words matter. History proves that once the word “genocide” is used to designate heinous and targeted crimes against sections of humanity, as in Yugoslavia or Cambodia, it is followed by swift international action to stop those atrocities. The Khmer Rouge prosecution continues and includes charges of genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese people, so there are precedents.

The amendment would ask a Justice of the Supreme Court to examine the evidence and make a determination. It would provide a process and duty to act. It would then ensure that victims of genocide were given priority in asylum applications. This is not about numbers, nor about those who threaten the security and ideals for which this country stands. Many suffer, but this is about those who have been singled out and our duty under the genocide convention to protect them. I commend the amendment to the Committee, and I beg to move.

Baroness Cox (CB): My Lords, I support the amendment, to which I am a signatory. Last week, my noble friend Lord Alton and I presided over a hearing here in Parliament, where we heard graphic accounts of genocide and crimes against humanity from Yazidis and Christians from Syria and Iraq. Their first- hand testimonies were accompanied by supporting statements from relief organisations and charities working with these beleaguered communities, including Canon Andrew White, the courageous Anglican vicar of Baghdad.

Some 100 years after the Armenian genocide, these contemporary events are a continuation of a systematic campaign of annihilation which was planned by one caliphate, abolished in 1924 by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey but continued by another caliphate under the guise of the Islamic State—Daesh—today. Mass graves, beheadings, rapes, forced conversions, lootings and confiscation of property, are, sadly, nothing new. Nor is our failure to respond adequately to acutely vulnerable minorities.

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This amendment is not about the misplaced free-for-all mistakenly promoted by Germany and now being urgently reassessed: nor is it about quotas or the unseemly bidding war about how many people any particular country has taken. Instead, the amendment focuses on a particularly vulnerable group of people now being subjected to genocide and argues that their asylum claims should be prioritised. Our first priority should always be those who have been singled out because of their religion, ethnicity or race. Although many people have been caught up in this suffering, we have particular obligations, as my noble friend highlighted, under the provisions of the Genocide Convention, to these minority groups. We also know that those who have been targeted do not represent a security threat to the United Kingdom and that, unlike for other categories of people, there are no countries in the region where they will be secure in the long term. They have nowhere to go.

In November I and my noble friend wrote to the Prime Minister, urging him to give priority to the most vulnerable—these minorities and children. We welcomed his decision to take vulnerable groups from holding countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, but we also pointed out that many of those fleeing from genocide have been too frightened to enter the camps and were living in informal settings, often without any help being given by UN agencies. In December, I was also a signatory to the letter sent to the Prime Minister—which my noble friend referred to—signed by 75 parliamentarians from both Houses and all sides, urging Her Majesty’s Government to name this genocide for what it is. So far, HMG have failed to do so—but, last week, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe declared that the treatment of Christians and Yazidis is indeed genocide.

Our colleagues in the House of Commons have been equally clear. I share with the House the wording of the all-party Motion tabled last week by a group of MPs in another place, which stated that,

“this House is appalled by the beheadings, crucifixions, shootings, burnings, other murders, torture, rape and extensive violence being perpetrated by Daesh or IS against Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq on the basis of religion and ethnicity; observes that this disgusting behaviour clearly falls within the definition of genocide as determined by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide; notes the recent report from the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq,

Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq

, which concludes that Daesh is holding approximately 3,500 slaves, mostly women and children in Iraq, primarily from the Yazidi community, and describes Daesh’s systematic and widespread violence as staggering, concluding that these acts amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide; and calls on the Government to use all its influence at the UN to create a stated consensus that genocide is indeed being perpetrated so that the provisions of the Convention can urgently, legitimately and effectively be invoked and implemented”.

We should commend our colleagues, such as Mrs Fiona Bruce MP, the chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, who tabled that Motion, and we should give legislative force to an appropriate response to those who are suffering so grievously. This is urgent, as Christianity and ancient religions such as Yazidism are being wiped out in the Middle East.

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Last week’s hearing took place on Holocaust Memorial Day. Among those who participated was Major General Tim Cross. He has said:

“Crucially, the various minorities in the region are suffering terribly. There can be no doubt that genocide is being carried out on Yazidi and Christian communities—and the West/international community’s failure to recognise what is happening will be to our collective shame in years to come”.

He also pointed to the irony that while we are neglecting our duty to protect these minorities we have been opening the door to others who may threaten the very fabric of our society.

Major General Cross quoted the Lebanese Prime Minister, who told David Cameron that he believed that for every 1,000 migrants entering Europe illegally there are at least two extremists—inner-core jihadis—which means that around 16,000 IS fighters have probably entered Europe over the last year or so. While we have been doing this, we have failed to protect those to whom we have a specific duty under international law. Major General Cross said:

“Our dilemma is how we separate ‘values’ and ‘interests’”.

This amendment offers us the opportunity to uphold our values, especially our belief in the rule of law, while also protecting our interests.

If we are not prepared to respond to the victims of genocide, we must seriously ask whether we should remove our signature from the 1948 convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide. What is the point of being a signatory if we are not prepared to accept the obligation—to see, to judge and to act? If we do not take such obligations seriously, as the amendment urges us to do, it fundamentally undermines that convention.

To remind noble Lords of what our obligations are, the convention makes it clear that genocide is not a random killing of individuals but a systematic killing or serious harming of people because they are part of a recognisable group. That group may be,

“national, ethnical, racial or religious”.

The treaty identifies acts committed with intent to destroy that group,

“in whole or in part”.

The convention also covers within the term “genocide” a range of other acts already highlighted by my noble friend.

In short, international law is clear and undeniably covers the many horrors unleashed by ISIL/Daesh in the Middle East—and, I may point out, by Islamist extremists in other countries, including several African states such as northern Nigeria and Sudan, both of which I have visited in the last two months and where I saw comparable horrors and atrocities perpetrated.

If an international law, defined by treaty, is being flouted, and if hundreds of thousands of innocent people who are entitled to rely on the protection of that law are being killed, and millions are being driven from their homes, it is absolutely incumbent on the signatories to that treaty to take action to ensure that it is enforced. Sadly, however, to date the issue has not been high on the agenda of the leaders of more than 100 nations that are signatories to that convention.

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The convention is specific. The signatory nations may honour their commitments either by acting alone or by calling on the United Nations to prevent and punish genocide. That provision is hugely important in sending a clear message to the perpetrators of these dreadful acts: it warns them that they will be punished. So how can officials argue and give ambiguous replies that we can do nothing until others act? From the Nuremberg trials of the Nazi leaders after the Second World War to the more recent trials for genocide perpetrated in Rwanda and Bosnia, a very clear message should go out to all those involved in these evil movements of genocide. The message should be: the international community will, sooner or later, come for you. You will be found, you will be captured, you will be tried in accordance with the convention and you will be punished proportionately to your offence. And, as this amendment insists most importantly, we will care for those whom you target in these unspeakable ways.

I urge our Prime Minister and our Foreign Secretary to utter that one word, “genocide”. By using it in relation to the carnage befalling the Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in the Middle East, Her Majesty’s Government would be sending a clear message to ISIS and other groups that there will be a reckoning for their despicable actions.

In conclusion, Britain punches far above its weight in world diplomacy and international relations. We must ask our Government to have the courage to speak the right word to the international community and to follow the word with appropriate deeds. This amendment is an opportunity for us to do just that. At the very minimum, I hope that the Minister will undertake to go back to the Home Secretary and other ministerial colleagues and weigh these arguments with great care between now and Report.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (Con): My Lords, I apologise for not having taken part in any of the proceedings on this legislation. Quarter past 10 at night in the middle of the week seems, perhaps, not the best moment to set forth on this matter. However, I am ashamed to say that until I was briefed by a friend, Mr Graham Hutton, chairman of the Aid to the Church in Need, about the position of Christians in Syria and Iraq, I was wholly ignorant of the extent of the atrocities that are occurring.

10.15 pm

I do not wish to detain the House by repeating examples that have been given by the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and the noble Baroness, Lady Cox. Both of them are held in the highest regard in this House but, if I may say so, particularly the noble Baroness, who seems to put herself in harm’s way on behalf of people in trouble all over the world and to provide us with an authoritative account. So I say to my noble friend the Minister: throw away the brief from the Home Office and go back to the department and tell it what has been said this evening. I am certain that, despite the media coverage and the information that is available, people in this country have no idea of the extent of the horrors that are being perpetrated against Christians.

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In Syria, 56% of Christians have left during this conflict. The point about them is that they are not just fleeing civil war, they are fleeing persecution, and there is nowhere for them to flee to. If they go to the UN camps, they find themselves in fear and in danger because they are a minority there and subject to persecution. If they do not go to the official camps, they are not eligible under the Prime Minister’s programme to be brought to this country. So they have no place to go and wherever they go they live in fear. The magnitude of this catastrophe is enormous. I am told that, prior to 2003, there were 60,000 Christians in Mosul, and now there is none. The noble Lord, Lord Alton, has described the appalling atrocities that are going on day after day to people, including women and children, simply because they are Christians.

I do not wish to repeat the arguments about the 1948 convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide, except to say that it does say that genocide is the systematic killing or serious harming of people because they are part of a recognisable group. These people are being persecuted because they are Christians, and that is a recognised group. As has been pointed out, the importance of designating this as genocide is that it will enable us to take action and give these people sanctuary quickly and effectively as they need it.

I am told there are people who say that we cannot be seen to be discriminating in favour of Christians. Why not? This is a Christian country, and these people are in trouble because they are being discriminated against because of their religion. I say to the Minister that the plight we have heard of this evening is of fellow Christians, some of whom speak in the language of our saviour and who have been there since the birth of Christ himself. They are being driven out of their lands and horribly persecuted. We should not pass by on the other side. If it is impossible for the Government to adopt the suggestions contained in this amendment of recognising genocide for what it is, then at the very least they need to come up with some ideas as to how a safe haven can be provided for those Christians and how they can be helped by us, a Christian country with a historic record of being there for those in need.

When I studied history at university, I could never really understand how it was that the Nazi persecution of the Jews was allowed to go on for so long and that people were either unaware or unwilling to take action. In those days, there was at least the excuse that people might not know because communications were difficult. We know what is going on in Syria and Iraq daily, from the internet and the videos and the information provided. Even at this late hour, I hope that the Minister will take on board what has been said on this amendment and, if he cannot accept the amendment, that the Government will take some effective and urgent action to deal with those Christians, our brothers and sisters, in Syria and Iraq.

Lord Dubs (Lab): My Lords, anyone who went to any of the events connected with Holocaust Memorial Day just a few days ago will know that people said in 1945, “Never again”. Then we had serious tragedies and genocides in Bosnia, South Sudan and elsewhere. We keep saying that it must never happen again but it still does. I found the arguments put by the three

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Members of the Committee who have spoken to the amendment very powerful. They are in the spirit of the commitments made on Holocaust Memorial Day—“Never again”. They are saying that because it is still happening we have to do something about the victims. I very much support the amendment.

Lord Marlesford (Con): My Lords, the Government should be rather ashamed that this debate is necessary. It has taken the whole consideration of the Bill on to a different plane from all the other amendments that I have listened to. It is so terrible that so-called diplomacy should be unable to do what is right. I have been deeply shocked that the Government, in being asked to give priority to Christians among the 20,000 Syrians who we are to admit during this Parliament as refugees, have said that they cannot do so because they cannot discriminate. The whole concept of refugees and asylum is discrimination. It is giving succour to those who need succour. I will go no further except to say that if the amendment were to come back to the House at Report and the Government resist it, they would be overwhelmingly and humiliatingly defeated.

Lord Judd (Lab): My Lords, apart from all the powerful arguments of support that have been put forward, the speech by the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, is one that we must all take particularly seriously. No one in this House has put their own life more on the line on issues of this kind than she has, and she has consistently done that with great courage. When she comes to us and says, “Please take this one step that would help, in terms of all that I have experienced”, we must take that seriously. I also feel very deeply that there is a real crisis in credibility with populations across the world. Governments speak with great rhetoric about these issues, but sometimes fail to provide the practical evidence that that rhetoric adds up to anything. Here is a chance to demonstrate that we mean what we say.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, from these Benches I support the amendment. When I first started going to ceremonies to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, what struck me most were the current examples that were used and of which we were reminded. Each year a theme is chosen and it is salutary to realise how topical those themes are. This is topical. There are many groups of people who are the subject of the treatment which has been described, and it has been notable during debate on this Bill how many noble Lords have referred to the experiences of their families. We may not be directly related to the people who are in such a situation, but as noble Lords have pointed out, we are all part of that one family.

Lord Wigley (PC): My Lords, I had not intended to intervene in this debate either, but having listened to the noble Lords, Lord Alton and Lord Forsyth, and others, I cannot help but raise a voice on behalf of the Christian community. We are to a greater or lesser extent Christians in this country. We may not be very good Christians, but the idea that we cannot intervene on behalf of a Christian community because we might be discriminating strikes me as being absolutely

3 Feb 2016 : Column 1897

unacceptable and appalling. I hope that the Government will take close notice of that and think about this serious issue.

Lord Bates: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Alton, for his moving speech. He spoke with his typical passion, and the way he presented the arguments and the accounts he gave have certainly had a great effect on me. I think that he has done a great service to the Committee by drawing the plight of Christians in the Middle East to our attention. My noble friend Lord Forsyth invited me to tear up my speech before he had actually had an opportunity to hear it, and of course he invited me to do it while I am currently enjoying the privilege of the company of the Chief Whip, who perhaps is little worried that I might take my noble friend’s advice.

I feel very strongly about this. We cannot be anything other than moved by the brutality and evil that we are seeing unleashed in the Middle East by Daesh. I have seen something of the situation for myself on a personal visit to Zahlé, which is the capital city of the Bekaa Valley and a Christian community. I am acutely aware of the pressures to which people are subject out there. However, I cannot accept that this Government are not doing everything they can; we are leading the way. We are in the week—tomorrow, I think—when the Prime Minister will host a conference on Syria here in London, just across the way. He will urge other people to step up to the mark. A DfID report pointed out that Britain is paying more than its fair share. It recognised that we are paying 226% of our international obligation in terms of cash to support people in the region. We are hosting the event and acting diplomatically by urging for a solution to the crisis, and of course we are also acting militarily in the region.

We need to put on the record some of these points because I think some myths are arising within the Christian community, and I say this very carefully as a member of that community. Some myths are emerging about where the discrimination occurs. We are not saying that Christians will not be considered but that they will be considered on an individual basis, and the criteria we are looking at, particularly within the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme, include women and girls at risk, those in need of serious medical care, and the survivors of torture and violence. Of course, in all the accounts we have heard about, they would certainly seem to be people who would qualify under that definition by what they have suffered and what they have experienced when they present to the authorities rather than by a general description. That is the central case we have put. At the moment, the basic principle is that applicants for refugee status must establish their need for protection on an individual basis, and for that reason we do not think that putting this to the Supreme Court is necessarily the right way. We believe that under the current rules, we have the ability to help the people who are in need.

We also need to put on the record at this point that the people who are actually suffering the greatest brutality at the hands of Daesh are fellow Muslims in the region—and the Yazidis, the Kurdish groups, that are there as well. They are suffering, too, and our

3 Feb 2016 : Column 1898

prime driving force when providing international humanitarian protection, which is what it is, is on the basis of need. That will continue to be our position.

I am very happy to meet noble Lords who have an interest in this area, with officials, to ensure that our system is sufficiently sensitive to understand what is happening on the ground—and the accounts of the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, and the experiences of the Bishop of Aleppo. We want that understanding so that it can inform our decision-making and ensure that our system is correct and appropriate. I reiterate that those Christians who are female, at risk of persecution, survivors of torture and/or violence are exactly the people that our systems of humanitarian aid in the region and our systems of relocation to this country are designed to help.

10.30 pm

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: I am grateful to my noble friend. I entirely accept what he says about Muslims being subject to horrors as well as Christians, but could he deal with the point that the problem for Christians is that they cannot go to the official camps because they fear for their safety, because, once again, they are a minority? Is there any possibility of creating some kind safe haven? That in itself may create a further security problem for them. The genocide point is that it would enable immediate action to be taken.

Lord Bates: Certainly, the situation is that we would take families from within the camps and from the surrounding areas. It is not exclusively from the camps; it is those who are identified as being in greatest need. The noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, raises an interesting point on the camps. I shall certainly feed that back to the department and seek some reassurance, and perhaps write to him and other noble Lords on what protections are arranged in the camps where DfID and others are involved to be sensitive to the needs of Christians.

Lord Alton of Liverpool: I thank my noble friend Lady Cox, the noble Lords, Lord Forsyth, Lord Dubs, Lord Marlesford and Lord Judd, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee and the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, for their contributions to the debate and for supporting the amendment. I thank the Minister as well for the characteristic way in which he has tried to deal with the arguments that have been raised during our debate.

He mentioned the conference that will be taking place tomorrow. Last week I attended a briefing that was hosted by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State at the Department for International Development. Throughout the presentation, not once was the position of minorities mentioned. I specifically raised that at the end of the presentation and the Secretary of State was helpful in her response, but it was not a presentation about events on the ground; it was about money being provided in humanitarian relief and aid. Important though that is, it is not the subject of the amendment and it is not the subject of my concern. I pay tribute to the Government for what they have done by way of humanitarian aid and I agree with them that countries such as Germany, which is co-hosting the conference, need to do more on that front and that we need to

3 Feb 2016 : Column 1899

tackle these problems at source. Until we rectify some of the reasons why people are being driven out of their homeland, we will continue to see this exodus of biblical proportions.

The Minister and I are on the same page on that. I agree with what the Government are doing in that respect, but money and aid are not the same as recognising what is happening on the ground as a genocide. That is why I cited the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe last week. We will see what the European Parliament decides today, but other national Parliaments, the 75 Members of both Houses, and the Motion referred to by my noble friend in the House of Commons last week say something altogether different, which is why the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, said he was ashamed that this debate was necessary at all. So am I in many respects; we should not need to be debating this.

The Supreme Court is different from the Government. It is one step aside. If there is no evidence to demonstrate that there is genocide then the Supreme Court would say that. The Justices of the Supreme Court would make that determination and nothing further would have to happen. But if it decided that there was a prima facie case of genocide, then it would kick-start all the other things that need to happen, especially the special status that would then be given to those groups who had been targeted. Yes, they include Christians, but not Christians alone. They would be prioritised because they are victims of genocide. That would be the reason.

I am grateful for what the noble Lord said about meeting those of us who proposed the amendment tonight. I welcome that and certainly I would be happy to take part in discussions between now and Report, but it is important that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Justice and DfID, which the Minister referred to, are also part and parcel of that discussion. I know that some of the pressures against doing something on this issue have come from other departments.

We were told during this brief debate that we should recognise the magnitude of this catastrophe, but people had no idea of the scale of what is happening. There cannot be decent societies in the Middle East without plurality, diversity, tolerance and respect. Surely those have to be the reasons why we put this at the very top of the agenda. I have said before that Einstein’s definition of insanity is simply doing the same thing over and over again. Whatever military campaigns we have, however necessary it may be to engage in military action, will not fundamentally change things on the ground. What marks us out as different from organisations such as ISIS is our belief in the rule of law. Surely this goes to the very heart of what it means to believe in the rule of law and to uphold conventions that we are signatories to and which impose on us a duty to protect and to prosecute.

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment, but I also give notice that I intend to bring this back on Report if we are unable to make appropriate progress.

Amendment 234A withdrawn.

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Questions in Parliament:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5364):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 22 January (HL4827), in the light of the statements of the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, in their press releases on Islamophobia (Dec 2015), some religious leaders’ incitement to Holy War (Sept 2015), bombing by the Assad regime (June 2015), and concerns about people caught in Yarmouk (April 2015), where their statements about the murder, abduction, enslavement and genocide of Christians and Yazidis appear. (HL5364)

Tabled on: 25 January 2016

  1. Answer:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

Statements made by the Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect are published on the UN website.

The statements cover a range of issues including incitement to violence in Syria on religious grounds; urging against rhetoric that escalates the risk of violence against religious communities; expressing concern about the on-going threat to the safety of minority groups in Syria; expressing outrage at speeches and media articles that dehumanise Alawites and Christians; expressing alarm at reports of the abduction of 1,500 Yazidi, Christian and Shabak women and girls; expressing concern at the situation of religious and other minorities, noting that members of the Christian community were fleeing the northern city of Mosul following the Daesh-led invasion; urging leaders in the wider region to refrain from using or condoning any language that may escalate sectarian tension; calling on all actors to condemn hate speech that could constitute incitement to violence against communities based on their religious affiliation.

The complete statements are attached to this response, and the link to the website is provided below for your ease of reference: http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/statements.shtml

The following documents were submitted as part of the answer and are appended to this email:

  1. File name: Statements for HL5363 5364.pdf
    Description: UN Special Adviser Statements

Date and time of answer: 04 Feb 2016 at 17:16.

 

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5449):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 22 January (HL4827), what assessment they have made of the capacity of the United Nations Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect, to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for genocide against Yazidis and Christians. (HL5449)

Tabled on: 26 January 2016

Answer:
Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

The role of the UN Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide is to raise awareness of the causes and dynamics of genocide, to alert relevant actors where there is a risk of genocide, and to advocate and mobilise for appropriate action. The role of the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect is to lead the conceptual, political, institutional and operational development of the Responsibility to Protect. They are not mandated to carry out criminal/judicial investigations, and therefore the British Government has made no assessment of their capacity to do so.

Date and time of answer: 04 Feb 2016 at 16:57.

 

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  The Council of Europe’s Assembly recognizes that ISIS committed “genocide” under international law

 

 

From Gregor Puppinck

Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice, Strasbourg (France).

 

 

On January 27 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg) has adopted, almost unanimously, a resolution recognising that “individuals who act in the name of the terrorist entity which calls itself Da’ish” “have perpetrated acts of genocide and other serious crimes punishable under international law.” In this resolution, entitled “Foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq” 2091 (2016), the Assembly continues “States should act on the presumption that Da’ish [i.e. ISIS] commits genocide and should be aware that this entails action under the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (§2). The Assembly also “recalls that under international law States have a positive obligation to prevent genocide, and thus should do their utmost to prevent their own nationals from taking part in such acts” (§ 3).

The Assembly calls on its 47 Member States as well as on its observer and partner’s States (including Mediterranean States) to, inter alia, “fulfil their positive obligations under the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by taking all necessary measures to prevent genocide”.

 

The amendment providing for the recognition of the genocide has been largely supported, adopted by 109 votes against 6 (among which 3 are Turkish MPs).

 

The “crime of genocide” has a precise definition in international law: it concerns crimes “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. It is therefore evident that Iraqis Christians and Yezidis are victims in Irak of genocide.

 

According to International law, the recognition of a “crime of genocide” imposes on the States and the International community the obligation to act in order to prevent it, to defend attacked communities and to judge and punish those responsible. Is also punishable the attempt, conspiracy, and incitement to commit genocide. Thus, any individual, organization or state, wherever they might be –including Europe and in the US – should be criminally prosecuted as soon as they publically encourage these crimes or are accomplices of them.

 

The recognition of the genocide is therefore a first fundamental step to obtain that the international community acts.

 

Pieter Omtzigt, the Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, who advocated for the recognition of the “genocide” explains that this recognition is important because the 1948 UN Convention on genocide puts the obligation on countries to take measures to stop the genocide. “One of the measures countries must take is preventing their own citizens from travelling to Raqqa and becoming a member of the organization that commits genocide”. Omtzigt precises that “In a number of European countries membership of a terrorist organization (like DAESH) is an offense and the authorities can send people to prison for just that.” Therefore, the recognition of the genocide not only put duties on the State to fight against this terrorism, including on its own territory, but also facilitates this action.

 

On February 4th, the European Parliament (the Parliament of the Brussel’s European Union) will vote on the same issue. During the recent debate over “the systematic massacre of religious minorities by the “Islamic state” group”, the High Representative for the European Union for foreign affairs, Mrs Federica Mogherini, omitted to use the term of genocide.

 

Some governments and Parliaments already recognized this genocide.

The time has come for the European Institution and the United Nations to do the same.

 

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The Council of Europe’s Assembly recognizes that ISIS committed “genocide” under international law

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 All Party Motion Tabled in the House of Commons: January 26th 2016.

GENOCIDE IN SYRIA AND IRAQ                             26:1:16

 

Robert Flello

Fiona Bruce

John Pugh

Mark Durkan

Patrick Grady

Catherine McKinnell

Valerie Vaz

 

That this House is appalled by the beheadings, crucifixions, shootings, burnings, other murders, torture, rape and extensive violence being perpetrated by Daesh or IS against Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq on the basis of religion and ethnicity; observes that this disgusting behaviour clearly falls within the definition of genocide as determined by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide; notes the recent report from the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq, which concludes that Daesh is holding approximately 3,500 slaves, mostly women and children in Iraq, primarily from the Yazidi community, and describes Daesh’s systematic and widespread violence as staggering, concluding that these acts amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide; and calls on the Government to use all its influence at the UN to create a stated consensus that genocide is indeed being perpetrated so that the provisions of the Convention can urgently, legitimately and effectively be invoked and implemented.

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BBC snapshot of ISIS atrocities  – January 2016: UN Report “These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35349861

The UN says violence suffered by civilians in Iraq “remains staggering”, with at least 18,800 killed between 1 January 2014 and 31 October 2015.

Some 3.2 million people have also been displaced internally over the same period, according to a new report.

The UN accuses so-called Islamic State of systematic and widespread violence, including holding some 3,500 mainly women and children as slaves.

Alleged abuses by troops, militiamen and Kurdish forces were also recorded.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein said the report “starkly illustrates what Iraqi refugees are attempting to escape when they flee to Europe and other regions. This is the horror they face in their homelands”.

‘Gruesome spectacles’

The report, by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is based on interviews with the displaced and direct testimony from victims, survivors or witnesses of rights abuses.

It says the figures of 18,802 civilians killed and 36,245 wounded between 1 January 2014 and 31 October 2015 could be much higher.

 

Documented cases of IS abuse in 2015

10 July: IS militants force victims to lie down in central Mosul in front of large crowd. A bulldozer is driven over them

4 June: Two young males and a 60-year-old man thrown from a building in Ninewa for alleged homosexual acts

1-2 August: IS militants allegedly kill 19 women in Mosul for refusing to have sex with fighters

21 June: Women offered as sex slaves to the top three winners of a Koran memorisation competition in Mosul

23 June: IS group video shows men placed in a car and hit by rocket-propelled grenade; men drowned in a cage; men decapitated with explosives

12-15 July: Four imams in Mosul accused by self-appointed IS court of conducting forbidden taraweeh Ramadan prayers. Shot in the head

Source: UN Report on the Protection on Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq 1 May-31 October 2015


In particular, the figures from the conflict-torn western province of Anbar, much of which is held by IS, might not fully reflect the situation.

About half of the deaths were recorded in Baghdad province and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were the deadliest tactic used against civilians.

Nevertheless, the figures for civilian deaths are still significantly below those recorded at the height of the sectarian insurgency in Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

 

Analysis: BBC’s Ahmed Maher in Dahuk

Before so-called Islamic State swept across large areas of the country in 2014 and except for the 2006-07 sectarian war between Sunnis and Shia, the civilian death rate was much lower than the toll in this latest UN report.

The monthly average rate between 2010 and 2013, for example, was about 400 deaths, which also included domestic violence and crimes.

The latest figure will also certainly be much higher than the UN reports, because there are many no-go areas for activists and journalists.

IS militants brag about killing anyone who they perceive as “non-believers” of their extremist Islamist ideology. Followers of other religions have also been singled out – with Yazidis and Christians taking the brunt of summary executions and murders.

And Baghdad still represents a large percentage of civilian deaths, with IS militants targeting shopping centres, cafes, schools and markets.


The report says: “So-called Islamic State continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law.

“These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”

The report documents killings by IS militants “in gruesome public spectacles, including by shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning alive and throwing people off the top of buildings”.

It notes that up to 900 children have been abducted in the IS-held northern city of Mosul, to be indoctrinated and given military training.

Women and children were also subjected to “sexual violence”, the report states.

It says about 3,500 people, mainly women and children and largely from the Yazidi community, were being held as slaves.

The UN Special Representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis, said the “scourge of IS continues to kill, maim and displace Iraqi civilians in the thousands and to cause untold suffering”.

The report also documents alleged violations, including abductions and unlawful killings, by government forces, militiamen, members of the paramilitary Popular Mobilisation forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

Civilians displaced by the conflict face difficulties in finding safety and if they do can be subjected to arbitrary arrests or forced expulsions, the UN says.

Mr Kubis urged the Iraqi government to “use all means to ensure law and order, necessary for the voluntary return of the internally displaced to their place of origin”.

Mr Hussein said the “obscene” casualty figures did not fully reflect the suffering of civilians as many had died “from the lack of access to basic food, water or medical care”.

The most up-to-date UN estimate of internally displaced people in neighbouring Syria is 6.5 million, while more than 4.6 million others have fled to neighbouring states – including almost 245,000 to Iraq.

More than 250,000 people are estimated to have been killed since the conflict erupted there in 2011.

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IDC/ In Defense of Christians (09.01.2016) – On December 31, 2015, In Defense of Christians (IDC) President Toufic Baaklini made the following statement:

 

“Yesterday evening at a town hall meeting, IDC New Hampshire supporter Father Andrew Nelson asked Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ‘Tonight, with all of us here, will you join those leaders, faith leaders and secular leaders and political leaders from both the right and the left, in calling what is happening by its proper name: Genocide?’

 

“Secretary Clinton responded, ‘I will because we now have enough evidence.’ She added, ‘What is happening is genocide, deliberately aimed at destroying not only the lives but wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East in territory controlled by ISIS, and so I agree with you.'”

 

Marist Poll: Americans Say ISIS is Committing Genocide Against Christians

 

On December 31, the Knights of Columbus Published a poll which finds that most Americans say ISIS is committing genocide against Christians:

 

“By a wide margin, most Americans agree with the presidential candidates of both parties in calling ISIS’ atrocities against Christians in the Middle East “genocide,” according to a KofC-Marist poll conducted this month.

 

“Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Martin O’Malley have all called the situation genocide.

 

“By almost 20 points, 55 percent to 36 percent, Americans agree that this targeting of Christians and other religious minorities meets the U.N. definition of genocide.

 

“In addition, nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59 percent), say they have heard “a great deal” or “a good amount” about the targeting of Christians and other religious minorities in the region by ISIS.”

 

To read more, click here: http://prn.to/1J5cIHC 

 

IDC Board Members and Chairman Royce Write Letter to Secretary Kerry

 

IDC Board Members Professor Robert Destro and Dr. Thomas Farr signed an important left-right, ecumenical coalition letter that was sent on Dec. 4 to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, requesting a meeting to brief him about genocide confronting Iraq and Syria’s Christian communities. Signatories represented a broad range of distinguished religious leaders and scholars.

 

On December 23, Chairman Royce, along with 29 Members of the House of Representatives, also sent a letter to Secretary Kerry asking that the State Department acknowledge and respond to the aforementioned letter signed by IDC’s Board Members, and expressing his concern that the administration may exclude Christians from a potential genocide determination.

 

In the letter to Secretary Kerry, the members write: “We are gravely concerned by persistent press reports that the Administration is preparing a genocide finding that would apply only to Yazidis, and may avoid judgment about whether ISIL is also committing genocide against Christians and the other minorities it is eliminating. … At the hands of ISIL, Christians and other minorities have faced mass murder, crucifixions, sexual slavery, torture, beheadings, the kidnapping of children, and other violence deliberately calculated to eliminate their communities from the so-called Islamic State.”

 

The signed letter is available here: http://1.usa.gov/1PtKOlh 

 

Statement by the President on Persecuted Christians at Christmas

 

On December 23, President Obama released the following statement (http://1.usa.gov/1YDv0kL ):

 

“During this season of Advent, Christians in the United States and around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  At this time, those of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing.  Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.

 

In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL.”

 

On December 28, IDC Executive Director Kirsten Evans told Newsmax, “In Defense of Christians is grateful to President Obama for making this year’s annual Christmas message an opportunity to manifest solidarity with and raise awareness about the terrible plight of the Christian community under ISIS.”

 

Senators Introduce Companion Resolution to H. Con. Res. 75

 

On December 18, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced for himself and Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) a bipartisan resolution, S. Res. 340, denouncing the genocide against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. Click here to read the Arabic translation of the resolution by IDC Iraq Adviser Loay Mikhael.

 

The companion house resolution, H. Con. Res. 75, which was introduced by Rep. Fortenberry (R-NE) in September, now has 170 co-sponsors.

 

IDC is working with a broad, bi-partisan coalition of American and international religious leaders, activists, and scholars in urging the administration to officially recognize the genocide ISIS has waged against Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Christians, Yezidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

 

At IDC’s National Leadership Convention in September, more than 120 IDC state chapter leaders from across America, in an unprecedented show of unified political action on behalf of the Christians of the Middle East, pressed lawmakers to support H. Con. Res. 75, meeting with over 250 Congressional offices in a day.

 

Please ask your representative and senators to co-sponsor H. Con. Res. 75 and S. Res. 340 if they have not already! Click here to see if your representative has co-sponsored H. Con. Res. 75 andhere to see if your senators have co-sponsored S. Res. 340.

 

United Kingdom Parliamentarians Write to PM Cameron About Christian Genocide

 

On December 21, Lord Alton & Rob Flello, MP led a letter signed by more than sixty parliamentarians from both Houses to PM Cameron calling for the slaughter of Christians and Yazidis in Syria to be  named as a genocide and requesting to meet with the Prime Minister:

 

“We write to ask you to meet a delegation of Members from both Houses and all parties to discuss our profound concern at what is now clearly best described as “genocide” being perpetrated by Daesh against minority communities including Iraqi and Syrian Christians, Yazidis and other vulnerable groups.

 

“There is now clear evidence that this genocide includes assassinations of Church leaders; mass murders; torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria; sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women; forcible conversions to Islam; destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; and theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity alike. ISIS has made its own public statements taking “credit” for mass murder of Christians, and expressing its intent to eliminate Christian communities from its “Islamic State”.

 

To read more, click here: http://bit.ly/1O6sNgk 

 

Parliament of Lithuania Passes Genocide Resolution, European Parliamentarian Prepares to Introduce Resolution

 

On December 15, the Parliament of Lithuania passed a resolution by massive majority calling on the United Nations and the European Parliament to recognize the plight of Christians in the Middle East – and in particular in Syria, Iraq, Iran and north Africa – as an act of genocide and to act in accordance with the UN Human Rights Convention. Lithuania is the first EU country to legally call the persecution of Christians in the Middle East by Isis and other Muslim organisations genocide.

 

A European Parliamentarian is also working on a resolution calling on EU members to recognize that the Islamic State terror group is committing genocide against Christians and other minorities, and act upon that reality. Lars Adaktusson of the Christian Democrats party in Sweden wrote (November 30) in an op-ed published by Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladetthat there is clear evidence IS wants to eradicate all Christians from the territory it has captured across Iraq and Syria.

 

To read more, click here: http://bit.ly/231GBz4

 

View all ” Freedom of Religion or Belief” Newsletters: 

http://hrwf.eu/newsletters/forb/

View this newsletter:

http://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Iraq2015.pdf 

http://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Syria2015.pdf 

 

December 2015:

“Why, we ask the western world, why not raise one’s voice over so much ferocity and injustice?” asked Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI). The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III has also said “I do not understand why the world does not raise its voice against such acts of brutality.” Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan appealed to other nations: “not to forget the Christians in the Middle East.”

Patriarch Sako on Christian Persecution: ‘Is This Not a Crime Against Humanity?” by Edward Pentin:

“In one night, 120,000 Christians left their homes just with their clothes and have been living in camps for one and a half years. Is this not a crime against humanity?”

His Beatitude, Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Baghdad of the Chaldeans, spoke of this and other serious hardships and persecutions against Christians, at a recent Rome conference on religious freedom….

So extensive and brutal has the persecution become that calls have been increasing in the U.S. the European Union and the U.K. to classify the atrocities taking place there as genocide.

As well as the humanitarian emergency and forced displacement caused primarily by the brutality of the jihadist group Islamic State (ISIS), Patriarch Sako also mentioned other facts regarding persecution in Iraq not widely known.

These included the approval in October of a law in the Iraqi parliament to forcibly convert to Islam children who are Christian, Yazidi and Sabean if one of the parents proclaims to be Muslim, and the advance of political Islam in which sharia (Islamic law) doesn’t allow non-Muslims to participate in politics and have equal constitutional rights as Muslims in administration.

ISIS leaders, he said, have established three “rules of trade” with non-Muslims: “forcing people to convert to Islam, to pay a tax (jizya) or leave their house, or be beheaded.”

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day, nor forbid what has been forbidden by Allah and his Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” — Qur’an 9:29

He further pointed out that the numbers of Christians in Iraq has collapsed, falling from 1.4 million before the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime to currently 500,000.

“Today, everything in Iraq has become sectarian,” said Archbishop Sako. “Daesh/ISIS and extremists attack Christians, Yazidis and Sabeans because of their belief. They destroy anything that does not fit into their vision of Islam.”

IS massacre of minorities is genocide, Hillary Clinton concedes

BBC news – December 30th

Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said she now believes the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians, the Yazidi minority and other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East should be defined as genocide.

Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said she now believes the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians, the Yazidi minority and other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East should be defined as genocide.

Her declaration came in response to a voter at a town hall in early-voting state New Hampshire, her last campaign event of 2015.

Mrs Clinton said she had been reluctant to use the term in recent months because calling something “genocide” had broad implications.

The voter who asked her to use the term genocide to describe the Islamic State (IS) killings cited world leaders including the Pope and various advocacy groups that are using the phrase to define the extremist group’s killing of Christians, Yazidis, Kurdish Muslims, and other religious and ethnic minorities.

“Will you join those leaders, faith leaders and secular leaders and political leaders from both the right and the left, in calling what is happening by its proper name, genocide?” the voter asked. “I will because we now have enough evidence,” Mrs Clinton replied.

IS’s actions, she said, were “deliberately aimed at destroying not only the lives, but wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East in territory controlled by Isis (another name for IS).”

More than 100 members of the US Congress introduced a resolution in September calling “atrocities” committed by IS against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities genocide.

————————————————————

Religious freedom campaigners welcome Hilary Clinton backing for “genocide” claims

 

British religious freedom campaigners in Parliament have welcomed today’s announcement by Presidential hopeful, Hilary Clinton, that the killing of Syrian and Iraqi Christians and other vulnerable minorities by Daesh/Isis should be considered “genocide”.

 

Rob Flello MP (Labour, Stoke on Trent South) and Independent Crossbench Peer, Lord Alton, organized a letter just before Christmas to Prime Minister, David Cameron, signed by now 75 Members of both Houses of Parliament calling for the British Government to use all its influence to encourage the United Nations to describe the killings as “genocide”.

 

Speaking today on behalf of the signatories, they say: “That the US Democratic Presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton, has now gone on public record that there is ‘now enough evidence’ that the killings by Isis constitute genocide is a huge boost to our campaign. As former US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton knows the Middle East well and her backing for our position sends a very clear signal to the United Nations that it should determine that genocide is indeed being perpetrated. This will require the now 147 signatories to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide to act to end this persecution and to ensure that in due course its perpetrators are caught, tried and punished for their evil crimes.”

 

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Devicechristian genocide

 

Christian and Yazidi murders at the hands of ISIS MUST be classed as genocide: Peers and MPs urge UN to act

NEWS:

Prime Minister must act on “genocide” in Middle East.

  Senior politicians are calling on Prime Minister, David Cameron, to act on the “genocide” being perpetrated by Daesh/ISIS against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East; with one Member of the House of Lords accusing Governments of a “serious dereliction of their duty”.   Over 70 Parliamentarians have written to the Prime Minister urging that the British Government “use all the influence of Her Majesty’s Government at the United Nations to obtain an agreement that the word “genocide” should be used” in relation to the atrocities being committed in Iraq and Syria.  

They cite evidence of assassinations by ISIS of Church leaders; mass murders; torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria; sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women; forcible conversions to Islam; destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; and theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity.  

Defining the atrocities as “genocide” would require the United Nations and the 127 signatory nations to act to implement the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide which defines genocide as a systematic killing or seriously harming of people because they are part of a recognisable group. That group may be “national, ethnic, racial or religious” and the treaty identifies “acts committed with intent to destroy [that group] in whole or in part.”  

Rob Flello MP (Labour, Stoke on Trent South), one of the lead signatories of the letter says: “Daesh are an evil cult who have unleashed a tide of death on Christians and other minority religions in the areas where they have seized control. We must send a clear and unequivocal message to them that eventually they will be held to account by the international community for their atrocities. We hope the Prime Minister will now act swiftly to encourage the United Nations to describe these killings as the orchestrated genocide they are.”  

Lord Alton of Liverpool, adds: “If beheadings, crucifixions, enslavement, rape, the seizure of homes and property, and mass graves, does not constitute genocide it is hard to imagine what does. The deliberate targeting of people because of their ethnicity or religion is precisely what constitutes genocide and that is precisely what has happened to Yazidis and Christians.  Under international law, the failure of Governments and political leaders to name this as genocide is a serious dereliction of their duty.”    

The seventy five signatories , of all faiths and none, are drawn from both Houses of Parliament, all political parties and include three Anglican Bishops, a former Director General of the Security Services Management Board [Lord Evans], a former Chief of the Defence Staff [Field Marshall the Lord Guthrie], former Ministers and Secretaries of State, professors and senior lawyers.
Rt Hon David Cameron MP

The Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London SW1A 2AA

21st December 2015

 

Dear Prime Minister,

 

Genocide perpetrated by Daesh/ISIS against minorities

 

We write to ask you to meet a delegation of Members from both Houses and all parties to discuss our profound concern at what is now clearly best described as “genocide” being perpetrated by Daesh against minority communities including Iraqi and Syrian Christians, Yazidis and other vulnerable groups.

 

There is now clear evidence that this genocide includes assassinations of Church leaders; mass murders; torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria; sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women; forcible conversions to Islam; destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; and theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity alike. ISIS has made its own public statements taking “credit” for mass murder of Christians, and expressing its intent to eliminate Christian communities from its “Islamic State”.

 

As you know, “genocide” is defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide which makes it quite clear that genocide is not simply the random killing of individuals, but is rather a systematic killing or seriously harming of people because they are part of a recognisable group. That group may be “national, ethnic, racial or religious” and the treaty identifies “acts committed with intent to destroy [that group] in whole or in part.”

 

There is no doubt in our minds that the targeting of Christians and other religious minorities by Daesh falls within that definition. We hope that by meeting with us we will have the opportunity to convince you to use all the influence of Her Majesty’s Government at the United Nations to obtain an agreement that the word “genocide” should be used.

 

This is not simply a matter of semantics. There would be two main benefits from the acceptance by the U.N. that genocide is being perpetrated. First, it would send a very clear message to those organizing and undertaking this slaughter that at some point in the future they will be held accountable by the international community for their actions; they will be caught, tried and punished. Second, it would encourage the 127 nations that are signatories to the Convention to face up to their duty to take the necessary action to “prevent and punish” the perpetrators of these evil acts We do hope that you will give this request for an urgent meeting your most careful and sympathetic consideration.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours ever,

 

Rob Flello MP and Lord Alton of Liverpool

And the following signatories:

 Richard Arkless MP

Lord Avebury

Lord Brennan QC

Baroness Brinton

The Bishop of Bristol

Alan Brown MP

David Burrowes MP

Sir William Cash MP

Maria Caulfield MP

The Bishop of Chester

Rosie Cooper MP

Lord Cotter

Baroness Cox

Mary Creagh MP

Alex Cunningham MP

Jim Cunningham MP

David Davies MP

Rt Rev Lord Eames Lord Edmiston

Lord Evans of Weardale KCB DL

Lord German OBE

Stephen Gethins MP

Mary Glindon MP

Mary Goudie MP

Lord Gordon

Field Marshal Lord Guthrie

Lord Harries of Pentregarth

Meg Hillier MP

Simon Hoare MP

Kate Hoey MP

Prof. Baroness Hollins

Philip Hollobone MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

Baroness Hooper

George Howarth MP

Mike Kane MP

Seema Kennedy MP

Lord Kilclooney

Jeremy Lefroy MP

Sir Edward Leigh MP

Rt Hon Peter Lilley MP

Rt Hon Lord Luce GCVO DL

Gordon Marsden MP

Baroness Masham

Lord McColl of Dulwich

Rt Hon Lord McFall of Alcluith

Conor McGinn MP

John McNally MP

Mark Menzies MP

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

Baroness O’Loan

Lord O’Shaughnessy

The Bishop of Peterborough

Mark Pritchard MP

Lord Ribeiro

Margaret Ritchie MP

The Bishop of Saint Albans

Lord Shinkwin

Gavin Shuker MP

Lord Singh of Wimbledon

Henry Smith MP

Gary Streeter MP

Gisela Stuart MP

Lord Swinfen

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Derek Thomas MP

Michael Tomlinson MP

The Bishop of Truro

Tom Tugendhat MP

Andrew Turner MP

Derek Twigg MP

Lord Willis

Sammy Wilson MP

The Bishop of Worcester

 

 —————————————————————————————————————-

Speaking after a meeting with Foreign Office Minister and Cabinet member, Baroness Anelay, and following the letter to the Prime Minister by 75 Parliamentarians, Lord Alton said: “It’s clear that the Government is listening to our concerns. I understand that Ministers are now looking at whether UK law and legal structures might provide an effective response and whether a Regional Tribunal to prosecute genocide might be constituted. This is welcome news which we hope will also see the United Nations declare as genocide the killing of innocent Iraqi and Syrian Christians, Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities.”

 

And Rob Flello MP, one of the organisers of the letter to the Prime Minister, called for action to lobby MPs, saying: “Thousands are being tortured, maimed and murdered in the Middle East simply because of their faith. We cannot stand idly by. I call on everybody in the country to use the opportunity of Christmas to lobby their local MP and to ask him or her to take up directly with the Prime Minister the need for urgent, coordinated action to prevent and punish this genocide.”

scan0011

 

IRAQ/SYRIA

 

Resolved, That the Senate-

declares that ISIS and its leaders should be charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes;

 

IRAQ/SYRIA
 

IRAQ/SYRIA

US Senate Resolution on Genocide in Iraq/Syria

 

 

 

114TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION S. RES. ll

 

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

 

Mr. CASSIDY submitted the following resolution

 

 

Expressing the sense of Congress that the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS or Da’esh) is committing genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and calling upon the President to work with foreign governments and the United Nations to provide physical protection for ISIS’ targets, to support the creation of an international criminal tribunal with jurisdiction to punish these crimes, and to use every reasonable means, including sanctions, to destroy ISIS and disrupt its support networks.

 

Whereas communities of Assyrian Chaldean Syriac, Armenian, Evangelical, and Melkite Christians; Kurds; Yezidis; Shia and Sunni Muslims; Turkmen; Sabea-Mandeans; Kaka’e; and Shabaks have been an integral part of the cultural fabric of the Middle East for millennia;

 

Whereas Article I of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, signed at Paris December 9, 1948 (in this resolution referred to as the “Convention”) states that “the contracting parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and punish”;

 

Whereas Article II of the Convention declares, “In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”;

 

Whereas Article III of the Convention affirms, “The following acts shall be punishable: (a) Genocide; (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; (d) Attempt to commit genocide; (e) Complicity in genocide.”;

 

Whereas section 1091 of title 18, United States Code, declares that “genocide” occurs when any person “whether in time of peace or in time of war and with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in substantial part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group as such (1) kills members of that group; (2) causes serious bodily injury to members of that group; (3) causes the permanent impairment of the mental faculties of members of the group through drugs, torture, or similar techniques; (4) subjects the group to conditions of life that are intended to cause the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part; (5) imposes measures intended to prevent births within the group; or (6) transfers by force children of the group to another group”;

 

Whereas subsection (c) of section 2441 of title 18, United States Code, defines a “war crime” as conduct “(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party; (2) prohibited by Article 23 , 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907; (3) which constitutes a grave breach of common Article 3 [defined in subsection (d) of such section as torture, cruel or inhuman treatment, performing biological experiments, murder, mutilation or maiming, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, rape, sexual assault or abuse, or taking hostages] when committed in the context of and in association with an armed conflict not of an international character; or (4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May 1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians”;

 

Whereas the United States has ratified the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime of 2000, and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which defines “trafficking in persons” to mean “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation” and defines exploitation as including, “at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs”;

 

Whereas section 2331 of title 18, United States Code, defines “international terrorism activities” as “activities that (A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum”;

 

Whereas section 2332b of title 18, United States Code, defines “terrorism transcending national boundaries” to include “(A) kill[ings], kidnap[ing]s, maim[ing]s, commit[ing] an assault resulting in serious bodily injury, or assaults with a dangerous weapon [of or on] any person within the United States; or (B) creat[ing] a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to any other person by destroying or damaging any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States or by attempting or conspiring to destroy or damage any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States; in violation of the laws of any State, or the United States,”;

 

Whereas the President, with the assistance of the Secretary of State and the Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, is obligated under section 2113(b) of the ADVANCE Democracy Act of 2007 (22 U.S.C. 8213(b)) to “collect information regarding incidents that may constitute crimes against humanity, genocide, slavery, or other violations of international humanitarian law” and “shall consider what actions can be taken to ensure that any government of a country or the leaders or senior officials of such government who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, slavery, or other violations of international humanitarian law identified [pursuant to such collection of information] are brought to account for such crimes in an appropriately constituted tribunal”;

 

Whereas Article I of the Convention and the law of nations confirm that government authorities are obligated to prevent and punish acts constituting genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes;

 

Whereas, on July 10, 2015, Pope Francis, Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, declared that the pattern of crimes committed by ISIS and its affiliates against Christians are part of a “third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing,” and that “a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end”;

 

Whereas the 2011 Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities declares, “Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States… [and that] our options are never limited to either sending in the military or standing by and doing nothing… The actions that can be taken are many-they range from economic to diplomatic interventions, and from non-combat military actions to outright intervention.”;

 

Whereas, on August 7, 2014, President Barak Obama authorized military action to stop ISIS’ advance in northern Iraq, and “to prevent a potential act of genocide” against Yazidis stranded on Mount Sinjar;

 

Whereas, on August 7, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry, stated that ISIS’ “campaign of terror against the innocent, including Yezedi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide”;

 

Whereas, on March 27, 2015, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that its mission to Iraq had “gathered reliable information about acts of violence perpetrated against civilians because of their affiliation or perceived affiliation to an ethnic or religious group,” that the “[e]thnic and religious groups targeted by ISIL include Yezidis, Christians, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka’e, Kurds and Shia,” and stated, “It is reasonable to conclude, in the light of the information gathered overall, that some of those incidents may constitute genocide. Other incidents may amount to crimes against humanity or war crimes.”;

 

Whereas the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has “called on the U.S. government to designate the Christian, Yazidi, Shi’a, Turkmen, and Shabak communities of Iraq and Syria as victims of genocide by ISIL” and USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George has observed that “ISIL’s intent to destroy religious groups that do not subscribe to its extremist ideology in the areas of Iraq and Syria that it controls, or seeks to control, is evident in, not only its barbarous acts, but also its own propaganda”; and

 

Whereas members of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, in their Appeal to Congress of September 9, 2015, stated, “ISIS’s mass murders of Chaldean, Assyrian, Melkite Greek, and Coptic Christians, Yazidis, Shi’a Muslims, Sunni Kurds and other religious groups meet even the strictest definition of genocide.”: Now, therefore, be it

 

Resolved, That the Senate-

(1) finds that ISIS, its affiliated organizations, and supporters are parts of an expanding, worldwide criminal network, the members of which have pledged allegiance to its leaders, support its actions, act in concert with them, claim credit for targeted killings, and are “fully aware that [their] participation” and support will “assist [in] the commission” of its crimes;

 

(2) finds that ISIS and its affiliated organizations maintain sophisticated publishing and social media networks that seek to attract others to join their efforts and seek to incite the murder of Christians, Shia and Sunni Muslims, Jews, and any religious believers who refuse to convert to their Wahhabi-Salafist jihadist ideology;

 

(3) declares that ISIS and its leaders should be charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes;

 

(4) calls upon on the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute any United States citizens or residents alleged to be perpetrators of or complicit in these crimes and to report back to Congress regarding what steps are being taken to investigate and prosecute those involved;

 

(5) calls upon the Secretary of the Treasury to investigate and sanction any person, organization, business, or financial institution alleged to be perpetrators of or complicit in these crimes, and to report back to Congress regarding what additional authority, if any, is needed to disrupt ISIS financial support networks;

 

(6) calls upon the President to authorize the Secretary of State, the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, and the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues to cooperate in the collection of forensic evidence of crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, slavery, or other violations of international humanitarian law;

 

(7) calls on the President, the Secretary of State, and the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, working through the United Nations Security Council and its member states as appropriate, to accelerate the implementation of an immediate, coordinated, and sustained response to provide humanitarian assistance, protect civilians, build resilience, and help reestablish livelihoods for displaced and persecuted persons in their communities of origin;

 

(8) calls upon the contracting parties to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, signed at Paris December 9, 1948, and other international agreements forbidding war crimes and crimes against humanity, to join with the United States in an effort to investigate, arrest, and prosecute individual and organizational perpetrators responsible for these crimes;

 

(9) calls upon the United Nations Secretary-General to urge all United Nations member states to cooperate in an international effort to investigate, try, and prosecute all cases in which prosecutors can prove that the accused have committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide;

 

(10) makes an urgent appeal to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf to collaborate on the establishment and operation of domestic, regional, and hybrid international tribunals with jurisdiction to punish the individuals and organizations responsible for or complicit in actions that constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide; and

 

(11) commends the Governments of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and every other country sheltering and protecting individuals fleeing the violence of ISIS.

 

For further information: the resolution can be viewed on www.Congress.gov

at: http://1.usa.gov/1TcEke4 

 

Further Reading:

Isil killings should be recognised as genocide (Telegraph.co.uk)

Politicians call on PM to act on Islamic State’s “genocide” against Christians (Premier.org.uk)

Minority killings by IS should be recognised as Genocide (Anglicanmainstream.org)

Prime Minister must act on genocide in Middle East (thecatholicuniverse.com)

MPs put pressure on David Cameron to recognise Christian ‘genocide’ in the Middle East (thetablet.co.uk)

David Cameron urged to recognise ISIS slaughter of Christians as genocide (The Catholic Herald)

View all ” Freedom of Religion or Belief” Newsletters:

http://hrwf.eu/newsletters/forb/ 

View this newsletter:

http://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Iraq2015.pdf 

http://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Syria2015.pdf 

 

 

Subject: BBC: Minority killings by IS ‘should be recognised as genocide’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35147645

EWTN news report https://youtu.be/s4MyTI_hgnw?t=4m28s

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/un-urged-to-label-isis- crimes-against-yazidi-community-as-genocide-a6781301.html

 

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/12061446/Isil-killings-should-be-recognised-as-genocide-MPs-and-peers-write-in-letter-to-David-Cameron.html

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/628703/ISIS-United-Nations-Genocide-MPs-David-Cameron-Islamic-State-Iraq-Syria-Yazidi-Women

 

http://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Politicians-call-on-PM-to-act-on-Islamic-State-s-genocide-against-Christians

 

http://anglicanmainstream.org/minority-killings-by-is-should-be-recognised-as-genocide-letter-to-pm/

 

http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com/prime-minister-must-act-on-genocide-in-middle-east-7446

 

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/2913/0/mps-put-pressure-on-david-cameron-to-recognise-christian-genocide-in-the-middle-east

 

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/12/21/david-cameron-urged-to-recognise-isis-slaughter-of-christians-as-genocide/

 

Yesterday  (December 21st) a Government Cabinet Minister met a delegation of Parliamentarians to discuss their concerns about genocide being committed by Daesh/ISIS against Iraqi and Syrian Christians, Yazidis and other minority groups.

  

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will met with Lord Alton of Liverpool and Baroness Berridge ns assured the Peers that the British government is actively looking at ways in which those responsible for what the Peers described as genocide will be brought to justice.  

 

The meeting followed the release  earlier in the day of a letter signed by over 70 senior Parliamentarians, setting out their concern that the British Government should do more to persuade the United Nations formally to declare the attacks by Isis on minorities as “genocide”. This would bring into effect the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, and so put pressure on its 127 signatories to take action to prevent the continuing atrocities.

 Speaking in advance of the meeting, Lord Alton said: “We are now encouraging everyone who shares our concern about the slaughter of the innocents in the Middle East to take the opportunity of Christmas to contact their local Member of Parliament to register their dismay at what is happening and to ask their MP to raise the matter personally with the Prime Minister.”

————

 

Audio interview: 

Link to Rob Flello MP – Today programme at around 48 minutes 50 seconds: 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06s8712 

Background note to the letter:

U.N. Definition of a Genocide

Article II of the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention says, “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
Killing members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Alton – “ISIS actions should be declared as genocide against Yazidis and Christians.  Aerial bombardment is not enough. Government challenged to say where the 70,000 ground troops to follow through the air campaign will come from. Britain should support the Kurdish-Assyrian Alliance who have been fighting ISIS.”

See full speech:

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/56d6f568-93c2-40d6-8142-05c74529d016
Syria: UK Military Action: December 2nd 2015

Motion to Take Note
 
6.17 pm
 
Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB):
 
My Lords, the just war tradition insists that war must always be a last resort-a necessary evil in an imperfect world. Measured against the just war criteria, the Government’s case is undoubtedly strong but there are legitimate questions to ask. Let us take two of the criteria: a just cause and prospects of success. Is the cause just? Self-evidently, ISIS’s barbaric ideology is the antithesis of everything that a free society upholds and stands for. We will need a full-spectrum strategy to deal with it, and I welcome the references in the Commons Motion to non-military action.
 
But how can we entrench in the popular imagination the justice of military action and the justice of the cause?
 
For months in your Lordships’ House I have pressed the Government to formally declare the actions of ISIS in Syria as genocide. Our obligations are set out in the preamble to the sixth recital of the 1998 Rome statute of the International Criminal Court, which recalls that,
 
“it is the duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes”,
 
while the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide states that the obligation each state thus has to prevent and to punish the crime of genocide is not territorially limited by the convention.
 
I recently chaired a meeting in Parliament attended by Syrians and the Archbishop of Aleppo. We were told how, in a village outside Aleppo, ISIS cut the tops off the fingers of a 14 year-old boy because his Christian father refused to convert. They then crucified the boy and killed the father. At the weekend, a mass grave of Yazidis was uncovered near Sinjar. Months ago, a former Yazidi MP, speaking here, said that she could not understand why the West had not declared these events a genocide.
 
In the battle of ideas, the rule of law is the best antidote to ISIS. Capturing and holding those responsible for these atrocities-whether in Syria, Paris, Tunisia, the Sinai or elsewhere-would underline the justice of our actions, and the declaration of genocide should have preceded further military action. We should name this for what it is.

My other question concerns the probability of success.

Drones and Tornados have never captured anyone. I regret the phrase in the Government Motion in the Commons ruling out the use of ground forces.

Without a commitment to an international ground force, as in Kuwait or the Balkans, I remain unconvinced about the probability of success and disturbed that Parliament is being asked to believe a Panglossian figure of 70,000 so-called moderate fighters in Syria.

This is no army: it represents a kaleidoscope of opinions, objectives and capability; they are split into a hundred factions and are geographically spread across Syria. Unlike the Peshmerga and SDF alliance, made up of Kurds, Arabs and Syriacs, which has taken 1,300 square kilometres from ISIS and which I have repeatedly pressed the Government to support-and do so again today-this dodgy figure of 70,000 will not provide a ground force capable of ensuring success. When the Minister comes to reply, I hope that he will tell us what additional support will be given to the SDF.

Western air strikes in Syria cannot succeed without ground forces.

In a Question that I tabled yesterday, I asked the Minister to give us his assessment of the statement by General Sir Richard Shirreff that even a force of that size-of 70,000-would be incapable of liberating a city of 350,000 people such as Raqqa. On this question hangs the just war principle of “probability of success.” It also begs the post-Iraq question which hangs over the debate: what plan is in place for the aftermath once the bombing is over? What is the end game? I ask the Minister to address these specific questions.

To express doubt or scepticism is not to be confused with either appeasement or an unwillingness to fight.

6.22 pm
 
December 16th 2015
 
Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB):⁠
 
My Lords, both the noble Baroness, and the Statement, rightly referred to the terrible depredations occurring in Syria and the egregious violations of human rights. Earlier today, in a Written reply to me, the noble Baroness stated:
 
“We are not submitting any evidence of possible genocide against Yezidis and Christians to international courts, nor have we been asked to”.
 
Will the noble Baroness reflect on that reply and reconsider the Government’s position, and at least open discussions with the International Criminal Court? If the difference that marks us out from Daesh and those involved in these atrocities is that we believe in upholding the rule of law, is it not important to emphasise that a Nuremberg moment will come for those responsible for the mass graves—she may have seen them when she visited Sinjar recently—where Yazidi women who had been raped were then killed, and the other examples of beheadings, crucifixions and the many atrocities which were outlined in our recent debate in your Lordships’ House? One day, all that must have a day of reckoning.
 
Baroness Anelay of St Johns:⁠
 
My Lords, first, I should make it clear that I was not close to Sinjar itself. I was in Erbil when the assault was launched. I would like to make that clear. With regard to genocide, as I have mentioned before, we condemn utterly those who carry out mass killings. There is no doubt about that. There is also the fact that it is for courts to determine whether that falls within the legal definition of genocide. We will continue to monitor exactly how the ICC is dealing with these cases, or not. I understand that, as the matter stands, Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor, has determined not to take these matters forward. However, I will check whether there has been any change to that position. I have made it clear in the work that I have done on preventing sexual violence in conflict that we must not tolerate impunity, and therefore, if the ICC is unable to act, I hope that we can work throughout the international community to find another way of providing justice to those who have suffered at the hands of Daesh—the Yazidis, the Syriacs and the other small communities forming the component parts across Iraq and Syria—because all of them deserve our respect and help.
 

 Christians Will Disappear Completely From Iraq Within Five Years, Prince Charles Warns
By Tom Batchelor – 18th December
http://www.express.co.uk
Prince Charles talks to Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dawod, left, of the Syrian Orthodox Church.The Prince of Wales described the protection of the Christian faith in the region as the “greatest challenge we face”.
Around 250,000 Christians are still in Iraq but 100,000 of these have been displaced by fighting and the threat from Islamic State. Thousands more have fled the country – and neighbouring Syria – as ISIS continues its bloody terror campaign against those unwilling to pledge loyalty to the death cult.
Charles told a gathering of UK-based clerics that “emergency help” was needed to avert the disaster. Speaking at Archbishop House in central London about the threat to Christians in the Middle East he said: “Their suffering is symptomatic of a very real crisis which threatens the very existence of Christianity in the land of its birth. “In fact according to Aid to the Church in Need, which is a truly remarkable organisation, Christianity is on course to disappear from Iraq within five years unless emergency help is provided on a greatly increased scale at an international level.
“This affects us all, consequently the greatest challenge we face is how to ensure the spiritual and cultural heritage of Christianity in the Middle East is preserved for future generations.”

His Beatitude Raphael Sako of the Chaldaean Catholic Church and Patriach of Babylon then spoke. He had said at an earlier conference: “We sometimes wonder if they kill all of us, what would be the reaction of Christians in the west? Would they do something then?”

Before the collapse of the old regime in Syria, there were 1.4 million Christians. There are now 400,000.

120,000 Christians have been uprooted from their motherland in Mosul or from Nineveh
 

By Nadine Maenza and Tina Ramirez: 6th December.

http://dailysignal.com

The intent of the Islamic State (ISIS) is to eradicate all Christians from their self-declared “caliphate.” This past May, ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released a video that made very clear their intent to destroy individuals who self-identify as Christians through whatever means possible, by death or forced removal. He stated that “coexistence with Jews and Christians” is impossible according to the Quran.
 
When ISIS entered northern Iraq and secured the city of Mosul in June 2014, Christians were a primary target. Theywere removed from public positions and cut off from public services and rations; within a month, they were given an ultimatum to “convert, pay the jizya tax, or die.”
 
ISIS’ intent was to bring about “conditions of life” intended to “destroy” the population–if not by killing them, then by making it impossible to remain in the region as Christians. In 24 hours, the entire Christian population of Mosul had fled their homes. After 1,600 years of Christianity in Mosul, there are no Christians left.
 
ISIS confiscated everything belonging to Christians; they left with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing. After the Christians were gone, ISIS began to destroy any trace of Christian history in the area. Churches and monasteries were confiscated, demolished, or turned into mosques.
 
After forcing Christians from Mosul, ISIS seized nearby Qaraqosh, which had the largest Christian population in Iraq. ISIS took the residents who did not flee and split them up on different buses, sending some out of the territory and “saving” some of the women for themselves.
 
We met Aida Hana Noah, whose 3-year-old daughter, Christina, was ripped from her arms while on a bus preparing to depart. She is now being raised as a Muslim in ISIS territory. We met and prayed with Aida for Christina’s safe return.
The genocide Christians are experiencing in Iraq and Syria needs to be identified as such so we can rally the international community to work together to stop the violence, provide support for the victims, and prepare to prosecute the perpetrators for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Without the genocide designation, Christians in Iraq and Syria will not have access to the appropriate level of justice.
 
 
In 2001, Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in The Atlantic that “[a] determination of genocide turns not on the numbers killed, which is always difficult to ascertain at a time of crisis, but on the perpetrators’ intent.”
Why, then, is the Obama administration about to exclude Christians or other religious communities from the declaration of genocide in Iraq and Syria?
 
Just last week, the State Department shared with us its plans to designate only Yazidis as victims of genocide.
Even President Barack Obama’s own ambassador at large for international religious freedom, David Saperstein, seems convinced that Christians are facing genocide in the region. He told The New York Times in June, “Everyone has seen the forced conversions, crucifixions and beheadings. To see these communities, primarily Christians, but also the Yezidis and others, persecuted in such large numbers is deeply alarming.”
 
The Yazidi Persecution: Our organization, Hardwired, has a deep connection with the Yazidi community and agrees that ISIS has targeted them in horrific ways. In September, we brought a young Yazidi woman, “Bazi,” to the United States to tell of the atrocities Yazidis have endured and to raise awareness of the 3,000 girls and women still enslaved by ISIS.
 
Our hearts were heavy hearing her testimony to Congress of the day in August 2014 that ISIS invaded her village in Sinjar. They shot over 600 men and older boys (including 3 of Bazi’s brothers and her father), killed the older women (her mother being one of them), and eventually sold the girls and women to ISIS fighters as sex slaves. The young boys were forced to convert to Islam and prepared to fight for the Islamic militants.
 
Bazi’s story was unique because she was purchased by–and escaped from–an American fighting for ISIS, but other Yazidis and Christians experienced similar atrocities in Iraq and Syria.

U.N. Definition of a Genocide

Article II of the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention says, “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
Killing members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
 
The administration is choosing to take a very narrow view of the legal definition of genocide, seeking a single event, such as the massacre in Sinjar, to establish whether genocide has occurred. But the genocidal destruction of a group does not require that ISIS kill or cause death.
 
Each genocide, beginning with the Semele Genocide against Christians in Iraq in 1933, has brought this community closer to the point of extinction. If we ignore it now, this will likely be the death knell for Chaldean and Assyrian Christians in Iraq and Syria.
 
Christians in Iraq have dropped from 1.5 million just a decade ago to as low as 260,000. Over a thousand Christians have been abducted and murdered in around Aleppo in Syria, with ISIS holding 200-400 as hostages for ransom.
 
A video recently showed the murder of three of those hostages, with the promise of additional executions to come.
While some in the administration have made the case that at least Christians have the option to stay and pay a “jizya” tax for being a non-Muslim, such measures are clearly intended to force Christians to convert or leave.
 
Paying this tax is not a feasible option without work, government rations, or their hard-earned savings–all of which were confiscated. ISIS militants continue to raise the price until the Christian can no longer pay, and then they demand land or the women in the family.
 
The forced expulsion of Christians from northern Iraq and Syria, as well as the kidnapping, rape, forced conversion, and brutal crucifixions and beheadings of some in Syria, has caused grievous harm to the Christians in the region. Turkmen, Shabak, Kaka’i, and even Shi’a Muslims have faced genocide at the hands of ISIS as well. It cannot be ignored. Yet that is what the administration appears ready to do.
 
Yet that is what the administration appears ready to do Current U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice said after the Clinton administration failed to intervene during the Rwanda genocide, “I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.”
We believe that the time has come for dramatic action to protect and uphold the religious freedom of Christians, Yazidis, and all other persecuted religious communities in Iraq and Syria.
 
ISIS’ Genocide Against Christians Must Be Recognized Before Christianity Is Eradicated, EU Politician Says 
November 30, 2015 –
ankawa.comnews
 
Christian Chierlos, 2 years old, looks at his mother as he arrives with members of his family from Beirut, in Le Mans, France, October 2, 2015.
A Syrian Christian family targeted by a September bomb attack in Damascus flew into Paris on Friday to start a new life, roughly a year after they requested entry visas from the French authorities.
A European Parliamentarian is working on a resolution calling on EU members to recognize that the Islamic State terror group is committing genocide against Christians and other minorities, and act upon that reality.
Lars Adaktusson of the Christian Democrats party in Sweden wrote in an op-ed published by Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that there is clear evidence IS wants to eradicate all Christians from the territory it has captured across Iraq and Syria. …
He argued that European countries and the U.N. Security Council often take too long to acknowledge mass atrocities around the world as a genocide, and warned that if there is a lack of action from world leaders, Christians in the Middle East “will only be found in history books.”
“To everyone that refuses to accept the persecution of Christians and Yazidi groups it is now time to demand action and get support from those that are in fact watching and raising their voices,” Adaktusson continued. “The only reasonable step now is that Sweden’s and Europe’s decision makers accept the facts and immediately recognize that the Islamic State are committing genocide,” he said.

Church in Syria Faces ‘suicidal Choice’, Says Archbishop
http://www.catholicherald.co.uk
28th November

The Church in Syria faces a “suicidal choice” of either exile or “living under the shadow of Islam”, one of Syria’s leading clerics has said. In his pre-Christmas letter Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus spoke of the exodus of Christians from the country, much of which is under the control of Islamist groups like ISIS and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front. He also spoke about the sense of hopelessness that pervades the country as it approaches its fifth Christmas at war.
In a letter the archbishop wrote that: “Since 2003 (the Iraq war) and especially since 2011 (Arab spring) the exodus of Christians from the east increases. Some reports give only ten years for the page to turn concerning Christianity in the Middle East. This seems to be a pessimistic view, but observed experience shows an alarming and growing emigration.
“The subject of daily discussions is how to leave. Go anywhere and in any way, even if it means taking dangerous risks. A family just sent their twelve-year-old son away with a caravan of fugitives. A twelve-year-old child has not returned. Will he later be able to invite his family to join him? Will he find a safe place? Given the military stalemate, an increasingly distant peace, and to avoid Military Service, in order to escape an absurd war that has lasted too long, young people are the greatest number of those who leave.
“What is the future a Church without young people? It is the fatal end of apostolic Christianity in a Biblical Land which becomes a hostage of violence and intolerance in the name of a radical faith that neither supports pluralism nor accepts differences.”
He said that the options facing Christians in the Middle East was to either leave, form alliances with other minorities to protect “against the domination of an ‘intolerant’ Islam”, seek protecting from the authorities or “Accept living under the shadow of Islam and continue a life full of difficulties and challenges.”
He added: “The Christians of the East face an almost suicidal choice. Living under the shadow of Islam remains a choice quite difficult to assume. Living in the shadow of Islam requires a return to the early centuries of theChurch, which highlights the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth.
 

US Secretary John Kerry gets broad coalition appeal: Syrian and Iraqi Christians face Genocide.
Nina Shea – 10 December 2015.
An important left-right, ecumenical coalition letter was sent on Dec. 4 to US Sec. of State John Kerry, requesting a meeting to brief him about genocide confronting Iraq and Syria’s Christian communities.  Signatories represented a broad range of distinguished religious leaders and scholars (see below).   Kirsten Powers’ USA Today column and other media publicized the letter.
Hudson International Religious Freedom Center’s Nina Shea organized the initiative in response to reports that the State Department will soon issue a formal statement that Yazidis (but not Christians) face genocide at the hands of ISIS. 
The letter referred to extensive files supporting a finding that ISIS’ treatment of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, meets the definition of genocide. They include evidence of ISIS assassinations of Church leaders, mass murders, torture, kidnapping for ransom, sexual enslavement and systematic rape of girls and women, forcible conversions to Islam, destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; and theft of lands and wealth. We will also present ISIS’ own, public statements taking “credit” for mass murder of Christians, and expressing its intent to eliminate Christian communities from its “Islamic State”.
The letter also described and appended to Congressional testimony on December 9 by Knights of Columbus head Carl Anderson. His testimony provided examples of genocide as researched by Shea. 
It also attested to the fact that Middle Eastern Christians avoid UN refugee camps due to fear of extremist violence inside them.
And, that the US disproportionately excludes Christians and other vulnerable minorities from its Syrian refugee resettlement program as a result of relying on the UNHCR for its Syrian refugee referrals.
 
 
 
 

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/427044/christians-isis-genocide-obama-administration
 

Obama Administration Poised to Exclude Christians from ISIS Genocide Determination
By Nina Shea — November 13, 2015
A report by a renowned journalist states that Christians are to be excluded from an impending official United States government declaration of ISIS genocide. If true, it would reflect a familiar pattern within the administration of a politically correct bias that views Christians — even non-Western congregations such as those in Iraq and Syria — never as victims, but always as Inquisition-style oppressors. (That a State Department genocide designation for ISIS may be imminent was acknowledged last week in congressional testimony, by Ambassador Anne Patterson, the assistant secretary of the State Department’s Near East Bureau.)
Yazidis, according to the story by investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, are going to be officially recognized as genocide victims, and rightly so. Yet, Christians, who are also among the most vulnerable religious minority groups that have been deliberately and mercilessly targeted for eradication by ISIS, are not. This is not an academic matter. A genocide designation would have significant policy implications for American efforts to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups and for offers of aid, asylum, and other protections to such victims. Worse, it would mean that, under the Genocide Convention, the United States and other governments would not be bound to act to suppress or even prevent the genocide of these Christians.
An unnamed State Department official was quoted by Isikoff saying that only the attacks on Yazidis have made “the high bar” of the genocide standard and pointed to the mass killing of 1,000 Yazidi men and the enslavement of thousands of Yazidi women and girls. Yet to propose that Christians have been simply driven off their land, and have not suffered similar fates is deeply misinformed. In fact, the last Christians to pray in the language spoken by Jesus are also being deliberately targeted for extinction by equally brutal measures.
Christians have been executed by the thousands, Christian women and girls are vulnerable to sexual enslavement, many of their clergy have been assassinated, and their churches and ancient monasteries demolished or desecrated. They have been systematically stripped of all their wealth and those too elderly or sick to flee ISIS-controlled territory have been forcibly converted to Islam or killed, such as an 80-year-old woman who was burned to death for refusing to abide by ISIS religious rules. Pope Francis pronounced their suffering to be “genocide” in July. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a broad array of other churches have done so, as well. Analysis from an office of the Holocaust Museum apparently relied on by the State Department asserting that ISIS protects Christians in exchange for jizya, an Islamic tax for “People of the Book,” is simply not grounded in fact.
ISIS atrocities against Christians became public in June 2014 when the jihadists stamped Christian homes in Mosul with the red letter N for “Nazarene” and began enforcing its “convert or die” policy. And they continue. Recently the Melkite Catholic bishop of Aleppo reported that 1,000 Christians have been kidnapped and murdered in his city alone, including two Orthodox bishops. In September, ISIS executed, on videotape, three Assyrian Christian men and threatened to do the same to 200 more being held captive by the terrorist group. Recent reports by an American Christian aid group state that several Christians who refused to renounce their faith were raped, beheaded, or crucified a few months ago.
Christian women and girls are also enslaved and sexually abused. Three Christian females sold in ISIS slave markets were profiled in a New York Times Magazine report last summer. ISIS rules allow Christian sabaya, that is, their sexual enslavement. Its Dabiq magazine explicitly approved the enslavement of Christian girls in Nigeria, and the jihadist group posted prices for Christian, as well as Yazidi, female slaves in Raqqa. 
In recent weeks, the stalwart Knights of Columbus has been placing emotionally searing ads in Politico and elsewhere advocating the passage of House Resolution 75: 
This bipartisan bill was initiated by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R., Neb.) and Representative Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.) to declare that genocide is being faced by Christians, Yazidis, and other vulnerable groups. The ads — depicting a mother and child who are the very personifications of grief against a landscape of ISIS destruction — might strike a nerve within the Obama administration. But as of now, the administration looks poised to preempt the bill and render a grave injustice to Iraq and Syria’s suffering Christians.
— Nina Shea is the director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom
 
 

From: Nina Shea
Sent: 10 December 2015 16:29
To: Nina Shea
Subject: Sec. Kerry gets broad coalition appeal: Syrian and Iraqi Christians face Genocide, too.

An important left-right, ecumenical coalition letter  was sent on Dec. 4 to US Sec. of State John Kerry, requesting a meeting to brief him about genocide confronting Iraq and Syria’s Christian communities.  Signatories represented a broad range of distinguished religious leaders and scholars, listed below. 
 
Hudson International Religious Freedom Center’s Nina Shea organized the initiative. It responded to reports that the State Department will soon issue a formal statement that Yazidis – but not Christians – face ISIS genocide.  The letter stated:
 
We have extensive files supporting a finding that ISIS’ treatment of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as Yazidis and other
vulnerable minorities, meets this definition. They include evidence of ISIS assassinations of Church
leaders; mass murders; torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria;
its sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women; its practices of forcible
conversions to Islam; its destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; and
its theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity alike. We will also present ISIS’ own, public
statements taking “credit” for mass murder of Christians, and expressing its intent to eliminate
Christian communities from its “Islamic State”.
 
Kirsten Powers’ USA Today column and other media publicized the letter.
 
It was also described and appended to Congressional testimony on December 9 by Knights of Columbus head Carl Anderson. His testimony provided examples of such genocide researched by Shea.  It also attested to the fact that Middle Eastern Christians avoid UN refugee camps due to fear of extremist violence inside them; and, moreover, that the US disproportionately excludes Christians and other vulnerable minorities from its Syrian refugee resettlement program as a result of relying on the UNHCR for its Syrian refugee referrals.
 
SIGNERS OF DEC. 4 APPEAL TO SEC. KERRY
 
Carl Anderson
Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus
 
His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Ecumenical Director and Legate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
 
Robert A. Destro
Professor of Law, The Catholic University of America
 
Most Reverend Bishop Julian Dobbs
Missionary Bishop of Convocation of Anglicans in North America
 
Dr. Thomas F. Farr
Director Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University
 
Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
 
Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon
Harvard Law School
 
Aram Hamparian
Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America
 
Shirley V. Hoogstra, J.D.
President, Council For Christian Colleges & Universities
 
Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
Pastor, Hope Christian Church
Bishop, International Communion of Evangelical Churches
 
Most Reverend Sarhad Y. Jammo
Chaldean Bishop of Western U.S.A.
 
Philip Jenkins
Distinguished Professor of History, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University
 
Brian Katulis
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
 
Rev. Benedict Kiely
Founder, http://www.Nasarean.org
 
The Very Reverend James A. Kowalski
Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
 
Most Reverend Gregory Mansour
Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn
 
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
 
Rev. Johnnie Moore
President, The KAIROS Company
Author, Defying ISIS
 
Russell Moore
President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
 
Mark L. Movsesian
Frederick A. Whitney Professor and Director, Center for Law and Religion
St. John’s University School of Law
 
Archbishop Oshagan
Prelate, Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern)
 
Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou
Assoc. Prof. of Conflict Resolution, The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University
 
Rev. Bob Roberts, Jr.
Senior Pastor, NorthWood Church, Keller, TX
 
Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez
President, NHCLC/CONELA, Hispanic Evangelical Association
 
Nina Shea
Director and Senior Scholar, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
 
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett
President, Lantos Foundation
 
Very Rev. Nathanael Symeonides
Ecumenical & Interfaith Officer, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
 
Frank Wolf
Distinguished Senior Fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative;
Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom, Baylor University
 
Dr. George O. Wood
General Superintendent, Assemblies of God, USA
 
Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington

————————————————————-

Yezidi Leader Tells Congress: ‘We Are Being Burned Alive’
By Zachary Leshin
http://www.cnsnews.com
Posted 2015-12-11 21:18 GMT
Chaldean and Yezidi leaders described the genocide of their people at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to members of Congress Wednesday at a hearing on assisting victims of ISIS.
“Because we are not Muslims, and because our path is the path of peace… we are being burned alive,” Mirza Ismail, chairman of the Yezidi Human Rights Organization-International, told members of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.
Ismail went on to describe the desperate plight of the Yezidis, an indigenous ethno-religious group from Kurdistan who are being targeted by ISIS because they are not Muslim.
“There are thousands of young Yezidi women, girls, and even children, who as I speak have been enslaved and forced into sexual slavery. These girls are subjected to daily, multiple rapes by ISIS monsters,” he testified.
“According to many escaped women and girls whom I talked to in Northern Iraq, the abducted Yezidis, mostly women and children, number over 7,000. Some of those women and girls have had to watch 7-, 8-, and 9-year-old children bleed to death before their eyes, after being raped by ISIS militia multiple times a day,” said Ismail.
“I met mothers, whose children were torn from them by ISIS. These same mothers came to plead for the return of their children, only to be informed, that they, the mothers, had been fed the flesh of their own children by ISIS. Children murdered, then fed to their own mothers.
“ISIS militia have burned many Yezidi girls alive for refusing to convert and marry ISIS men. Young Yezidi boys are being trained to be jihadists and suicide bombers. All of our temples in the ISIS controlled area are exploded and destroyed.
“The entire Yezidi population was displaced in less than one day on August 3, 2014, in Sinjar. The Yezidis and Chaldo-Assyrian Christians face this genocide together.
“Why? Again, because we are not Muslims, and because our path is the path of peace. For this, we are being burned alive. For living as men and women of peace.
“What I have just recounted to you, what has happened to the Yezidis and Chaldo-Assyrian Christians in Sinjar and in Nineveh Plain and other minorities is nothing less than genocide, according to the UN definition of genocide,” Ismail said.
Bishop Francis Kalabat of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Detroit told Congress that Iraqi Christians “are being victimized by the Obama administration not recognizing their suffering” and their “slow and perpetual genocide.”
“It is important to recognize that the atrocities in Iraq began as early as 2005. This preceded ISIS,” the bishop testified at the hearing.
“Christians and other minorities in Iraq have experienced their own slow and perpetual genocide. I wish to note that the Obama administration, including President Obama himself, have neglected to mention that the ISIS atrocities were committed against Christians,” he said.
“There are more than 150,000 Iraqi Christians who are now displaced in northern Iraq or are refugees in other countries such as approximately 35,000 in Jordan, 60,000 in Lebanon, 30,000 in Turkey who are being victimized by the Obama administration in not recognizing their suffering,” Bishop Kalabat continued.
“There are countless Christian villages in Syria who have been taken over by ISIS and have encountered genocide and the Obama administration again refuses to recognize their plight.”
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), chair of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, reminded the committee of legislation he introduced “that is aimed specifically at those people who have been targeted for genocide.”

————-

 

Seimas of the Republic of lithuania

 

RESOLUTION

ON THE GENOCIDE OF CHRISTIANS AND OTHER RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

 

15 December 2015    No XII-2177

Vilnius

 

 

The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania,

having regard to:

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stating that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance; the United Nations Human Rights Committee believes that pursuant to the principle of freedom of religion and belief, the protection of all beliefs, including theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, should be ensured;

United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution No 28/34 of 7 April 2015 defining ‘complex situations that might lead to genocide’, recognisable from ‘possible warning signs […] such as the existence of groups at risk, the massive, serious and systematic violation of human rights, the resurgence of systematic discrimination and the prevalence of expressions of hate speech targeting persons belonging to national, ethnic, racial or religious groups, especially if they are uttered in the context of an actual or potential outbreak of violence’ and ‘condemning impunity for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and emphasizing the responsibility of States to comply with their obligations under relevant international instruments to end impunity and, to that end, to thoroughly investigate and prosecute persons responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or other massive, serious or systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in order to avoid their recurrence and to seek sustainable peace, justice, truth and reconciliation’;

The European Parliament Resolution of 10 October 2013 on recent cases of violence and persecution against Christians, notably in Maaloula (Syria), Peshawar (Pakistan) and the case of Pastor Saeed Abedini (Iran) (2013/2872(RSP)); the European Parliament Resolution of 12 March 2015 on recent attacks and abductions by Da’esh in the Middle East, notably of Assyrians (2015/2599(RSP)); the European Parliament Resolution of 28 April 2015 on the persecution of Christians around the world, in relation to the killing of students in Kenya by terror group Al-Shabaab (2015/2661 (RSP)), which bring to the foreground the cases of killing and persecution on religious grounds in the Middle East, North Africa and other countries;

United Nations General Assembly Resolution No 69/323 of 11 September 2015 proclaiming 9 December as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of This Crime;

stating that:

for thousands of years, Christians of the Middle East and North Africa and other religious minorities have been an integral part of the region’s culture;

the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (Da’esh) and other extremist militant groups in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria, and North Africa are currently exerting systematic violence against Christians and representatives of other religious minorities, who have been the target of such violence already since 2003, and millions of representatives of such minorities have been forced to leave their ancestral home and to become refugees;

Christians and other religious minorities in this region were and are being killed and kidnapped, suffered and continue to suffer serious bodily and mental harm, also sexual slavery and other forms of violence, and that all of this is done consciously and on purpose, resulting in a breach of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted in Paris on 9 December 1948 (hereinafter: the ‘Convention’);

such atrocities are pursued with a specific goal, namely, to eradicate and to expel from the region Christians and other religious minorities, destroy their cultural heritage, thus resulting in a breach of the Convention;

genocide is a crime under international law for which the persons committing it are punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals, as stipulated in Article 4 of the Convention;

Article 1 of the Convention emphasises that ‘the Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.’;

Article 2 of the Convention specifies that ‘in the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • (a) Killing members of the group;
  • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.’;

Article 3 of the Convention establishes that ‘the following acts shall be punishable:

  • (a) Genocide;
  • (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
  • (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
  • (d) Attempt to commit genocide;
  • (e) Complicity in genocide.’;

on 10 July 2015 Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, announced that Christians of the Middle East are suffering genocide which needs to be ‘denounced. In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide – and I stress the word genocide – is taking place, and it must end.’;

in its report of 27 March 2015 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that ‘ethnic and religious groups targeted by ISIL include Yezidis, Christians, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka’e, Kurds and Shia’ and that, in the light of reliable information about the acts of violence perpetrated against civilians because of their affiliation to an ethnic or religious group, ‘it is reasonable to conclude that some of those incidents may constitute genocide. Other incidents may amount to crimes against humanity or war crimes.’,

states that atrocities against Christians and representatives of other religious minorities which are targeted in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria, and North Africa on religious grounds only may be considered as genocide and, by this Resolution, is treated as the crime of genocide under international law;

reminds all the Contracting Parties to the Convention, particularly those states whose governments and citizens in one way or another are engaged in and support genocide, of their legal obligations under the Convention;

draws governments’ and international organisations’ attention to the fact that crimes against humanity perpetrated on religious grounds and war crimes which can be treated as the crime of genocide must be condemned;

calls on the United Nations and the United Nations Secretary-General to take clear political leadership and recognise the atrocities being committed in the Middle East and North Africa as the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes;

invites the United Nations Member States, in particular members of the African Union, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, to support this Resolution, take measures to prevent further conduct of criminal persecution that may be treated as genocide and cooperate in developing international and national tribunals to punish persons responsible for genocide and in ensuring their effective functioning;

expresses gratitude to the governments of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Lebanon and other states for their efforts to shelter and protect Christians and other religious minorities until they can safely return to their homes in Iraq and Syria;

emphasizes that Christians and other religious minorities have the right to safe and stable life on the historic lands of their ancestors and practice of their faith without fear of persecution, deportation or death.

 

 

 

SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS                                      LORETA GRAUŽINIENĖ

————————————————————

Testimony of

Mr. Carl A. Anderson Supreme Knight Knights of Columbus

Before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health,

Global Human Rights and International Organizations

of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

At a hearing titled

Fulfilling the Humanitarian Imperative: Assisting Victims of ISIS Violence

 

December 9, 2015

 

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before this subcommittee and discuss the Knights of Columbus humanitarian aid programs. Over the course of the past year, our programs have helped feed, heal, shelter and educate many thousands of desperate Christians in church-run camps or other private places of refuge in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. We have established a donation and news web portal titled Christiansatrisk.org and have to date donated over $5 million in direct aid to Christians and other persecuted minorities in the region. We have partnered with other organizations in the region, including Catholic Relief Services, Aid to the Church in Need, Caritas, and local dioceses in Iraq and Syria.

 

Our assistance has taken the form of food, shelter, education and medical assistance. At times it has required exceptional care: for example, several weeks ago we helped Katreena, a very sick 15 year-old Iraqi girl by organizing her airlift from a displaced persons camp in Erbil, Kurdistan. Her life was saved when she was brought to a New England hospital for treatment for numerous issues that could not adequately be addressed in Iraq.

 

Through this humanitarian work in the Middle East we have made three basic observations and four recommendations bearing on U.S. human rights and refugee policy that I would like to focus on in my testimony today. In the interests of time, I will summarize them briefly at the outset:

 

  1. The Christian communities of Iraq and Syria, along with those of other vulnerable religious minorities, are suffering genocide that continues to the present time. We recommend, therefore, that Congress swiftly adopt House Concurrent Resolution 75, which names and decries the ongoing “genocide” against Christians and other vulnerable minorities in Iraq and Syria. Introduced by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, this resolution has 153 cosponsors and a similar resolution is soon to be introduced in the Senate.
  2. We further recommend that the U.S. State Department publicly acknowledge that genocide is taking place against the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria, including in its reportedly impending statement on genocide that, according to reports, refers only to Nineveh’s Yazidi community. The United States is rightly viewed as the world’s leading defender of vulnerable minorities, and it is critically important that the State Department consider the best available evidence before issuing a statement that would exclude Christians. An official government declaration of genocide is an opportunity to bring America’s religious communities together to pursue the truth, to support victims, and to bear witness to the noble principle of “Never Again.” Last week the Knights of Columbus sent an urgent letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for an opportunity to brief him about this genocide. This letter was signed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and two dozen other religious leaders and scholars from across the political spectrum and from diverse Orthodox, Protestant, Mormon, as well as Catholic, faith traditions. A copy of the letter is attached to this testimony as an addendum.
  1. The Christian communities of Iraq and Syria, along with those of other vulnerable religious minorities, fear taking shelter in the camps of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) because of religiously motivated violence and intimidation inside the camps. We recommend that the United States insist on proper security inside the camps and identify ways to ensure that Christians and other vulnerable minorities from Iraq and Syria are not subject to violence inside UNHCR facilities, including the possibility of providing separate facilities for minorities and hiring professional staff that would include members of the minority communities. The U.S. should require the UNHCR to gather and make public, along with its other data, the religious affiliation of all the refugees it serves. To ignore reports of humanitarian problems, without prompt investigation and corrective action, is itself an injustice.
  2. Syrian Christians and other vulnerable minorities are disproportionately excluded from the U.S. Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program due to reliance on a functionally discriminatory UNHCR program. We recommend that the U.S. government take immediate action to implement its stated policy of “prioritizing” the resettlement of vulnerable minorities, including Christians. In addition, we recommend that the U.S. government end its sole reliance on the UNHCR for refugee referrals and engage private contractors to identify, document and refer Christian, Yazidi and other vulnerable minority refugees from Syria and Iraq who are in need of resettlement.

 

A Genocide Targeting the Christians

 

The near-complete dependency of these refugees on our help and that of other private charities to meet their essential needs will continue for the foreseeable future.  Fear of being slaughtered or enslaved for their faith prevents them from returning home.  Like the region’s other refugee communities, the vulnerable Christian minority is striving to survive devastating conflicts – in which, it should be noted, the Christian communities have not taken up arms for any side.  In addition, like the Jews in Nazi Germany, these Christians are escaping genocide.  They are being specifically targeted because they put their faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Pope Francis has been in the forefront in calling attention to this ongoing attempt at extermination. About these Christians, he declared that “a form of genocide — and I stress the word ‘genocide’ — is taking place, and it must end.”[1]  The Knights of Columbus believes this is the proper name for what has been confronting these churches and, in our media advocacy campaign, we have urged others – including this Congress – to also recognize that these and other vulnerable minorities from the killing fields of Iraq and Syria are suffering genocide, the most egregious of human rights transgressions.

 

Last week, the Knights of Columbus sent an urgent letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for an opportunity to brief him about this genocide. This letter was signed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and two dozen other religious leaders and scholars from across the political spectrum and from diverse Orthodox, Protestant, Mormon, as well as Catholic, faith traditions. These signatories united in response to reports that the State Department will soon issue a statement on genocide in the region that, while rightly providing a focus on the Yazidi community, unjustifiably excludes the Christians. A copy of this letter is attached to this testimony as an addendum.

 

Our coalition’s letter of December 4th observes that the Genocide Convention defines genocide as killing and certain other acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”  As we then explained:

 

We have extensive files supporting a finding that ISIS’ treatment of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, meets this definition.  They include evidence of ISIS assassinations of Church leaders; mass murders; torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria; its sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women; its practices of forcible conversions to Islam; its destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; and its theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity alike.  We will also present ISIS’ own, public statements taking “credit” for mass murder of Christians, and expressing its intent to eliminate Christian communities from its “Islamic State.”

 

 

Three days after our letter to Secretary of State Kerry, the independent United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued a statement calling upon the U.S. government to designate Christians and other religious minorities of Iraq and Syria as victims of genocide.[2] But we have not received any response from Secretary Kerry or others with the State Department.

 

 

We emphasize, the genocidal attacks against Christians began years before ISIS emerged from Al Qaeda in Iraq and before the summer of 2014, when ISIS began stamping Christian homes in Mosul for confiscation with the red letter “N” for “Nazarene.”[3] In March 2007, the leader of the group that would spawn ISIS officially articulated the jihadist intent to kill Christians as legitimate targets of war: “We find that the sects of the People of the Book and others from the Sabians and so in the State of Islam today are people of war who qualify for no protection, for they have transgressed against whatever they agreed to in many countless ways, and if they want peace and security then they must start a new era with the State of Islam according to (Caliph) Omar’s stipulations [the historic “Covenant” of Caliph Omar with Christians] that they have annulled.” The Knights of Columbus interviewed Fr. Douglas Bazi, who currently runs a Church-based refugee camp in Erbil. Fr. Bazi was himself kidnapped and tortured by Islamic extremists in 2009 even prior to the current insurgency. Fr. Bazi has said, “Genocide is an easy word compared to what is happening to my people.”[4]

 

The attacks against Christians continue to the present day, as shown in just a few examples which follow:

 

  • In October 2015, ISIS released a video of the point-blank execution in the previous month of three Assyrian Christian men in orange jumpsuits.  They were from the group of some 250 hostages taken captive in February 2015 from undefended Christian villages along Syria’s Khabour river.  ISIS is threatening to execute others from the group unless a staggering $10 million ransom is paid. Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart stated in Fall 2015 that some one thousand Christians had been kidnapped and murdered in his city of Aleppo, alone. Since 2003, so many thousands of Iraqi and Syrian Christians have been held hostage for ransom that Christians there are sometimes referred to as “currency” and such ransoms are cited by experts as a major source of ISIS’ revenues.  One victim was Chaldean priest Douglas Bazi, featured in our recent television commercial aired on Fox, who now manages Erbil’s Mar Elia camp for 100 displaced Christian families. Like many others, Fr. Bazi was severely tortured while a captive.  On July 10, 2015, the Vatican press Fides reported that, after their families pay ransoms of up to $50,000, Christian hostages in Baghdad are now being killed instead of freed.

 

  • The US-based Christian Aid Mission reported on its website the rape, beheading and crucifixion on August 28 in villages outside Aleppo, of eleven Christian preachers, including the 12-year-old son of one of them, and two women, because they refused to renounce their faith. These were evangelical Christians converted from Islam, but many Catholics and Orthodox have also suffered horrific ordeals.  At least three Christians have been kidnapped and sold in a Mosul slave market and remain enslaved, including three year-old Christina Noah, whose mother was interviewed by former Congressman Frank Wolf.  ISIS explicitly announced its approval of the sexual enslavement of Christian women and girls in its magazine Dabiq. Numerous clergy including a Catholic bishop in Mosul and two Orthodox bishops in Aleppo, have been assassinated simply for their faithfulness. The pectoral cross of one Iraqi Chaldean Catholic priest, Father Ragheed Ganni, whose throat was slit by Islamic radicals in 2007 when he refused to close his church in Mosul, is now sometimes worn by Pope Francis.

 

  • On July 6, 2015, ISIS blew up the historic 1,000-year old church in Mosul known as the Church of the Mother of Perpetual Help. In mid-2015, Mosul’s historic St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was converted into a mosque, with its cross removed and gold dome painted black. St. Ephrem’s Cathedral, the seat of the Syrian Orthodox archdiocese, was turned into the Mosque of the Mujahideen, reported the Vatican around the same time. In March 2015, ISIS tweeted photos showing the group blowing up the 4th century Mar Behnam Monastery in Qaraqosh, Nineveh. The monastery was known to contain one of the most valuable Syriac libraries in Iraq. Photos also showed the group’s bombing of the tombs of Saint Behnam and Saint Sarah, both believed by the faithful to have been converted to Christianity by Saint Matthew. The 5th century Mar Elian monastery in Qaryatain was bulldozed by ISIS in August. ISIS’s destruction of churches, monasteries and convents in the territory it controls has been systematic.  But this pattern began a decade before and included the widely publicized attack on Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also called Our Lady of Salvation), a Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad, in October 2010; it was filled with worshippers celebrating holy Mass, killing about 50 of them, including two priests.  In addition to eradicating Christian people, the extremists’ goal is to erase every trace of Christianity’s two thousand year old presence.

 

Untold numbers of other atrocities have been documented by a variety of Church and private sources. In the interest of time, I provide only these illustrative few.

 

We are aware that one rationale for excluding Christians is that, unlike Yazidis, ISIS gives Christians a “choice”: they can convert to Islam or pay an Islamic tax (jizya), rather than being killed or enslaved. The implication is that ISIS abides by traditional Islamic Sharia, under which other “People of the Book” (Christians and Jews) pay a tax in exchange for protection by their Muslim rulers.  As we wrote to Secretary Kerry and as the facts show, this is emphatically not the case.

 

Many times the payment of jizya is not presented as an option for these Christians. In the instances where the jizya has been exacted, it has failed to ensure that the Christians could live as Christians, that they were protected from rival jihadists or even other members of ISIS, or that the amount of the payment was not raised over time until it became an impossible sum, causing the family’s home and even children to be confiscated and the adults killed or forced to become Muslims. A Dutch journalist reported just such an incident in Idlib in 2013 when a number of Christian families began to pay the jizya but, after the amount demanded kept increasing over several months, some Christians decided to flee, leaving behind their farms and property, while others who could not pay or escape were forced to convert to Islam. In the Christian valley outside Homs, an Orthodox priest reported that those who couldn’t pay the jizya and who were not able to flee were killed. In some places, ISIS rulers reportedly demand that the jizya be paid in gold, a tax that would be impossible to sustain.  Middle East scholar and, until earlier this year, the coordinator of U.S. government ideological counterterrorism messaging, Alberto Fernandez, writing in a study for MEMRI[5], noted the absence of any open church or evidence of Christian life in Raqqa, where the jizya contract was reportedly drawn up between ISIS and local Christians. He found ISIS jizya to be “a Salafi Caliphate publicity stunt.” It should be needless to state that being forced to convert to Islam, under penalty of death or sexual enslavement, is evidence of religious genocide, not an alternative to it.

 

Today any Christian who was not able to flee when ISIS took control of their area has been killed, taken captive, enslaved, or forced to live as a Muslim. There, no holy Masses or other forms of Christian worship are tolerated and its two thousand year old Christian culture and communities have been effectively eradicated.

 

Christians and Other Vulnerable Religious Minority Refugees Fear UNHCR Camps:

 

The aid of private charitable organizations such as the Knights of Columbus is essential because Iraqi and Syrian Christians and other displaced vulnerable minorities, while justifiably afraid of returning home, avoid seeking refuge in UNHCR camps. The overwhelming majority of Christian families are seeking shelter, food and medicine from Church-operated camps like Father Douglas Bazi’s Mar Elia camp, or living with relatives or in apartments and make-shift shelters in the slum areas of Amman and Beirut, apart from the UNHCR camps. They have no right to work, own property or drive a car in these areas and depend on support from local churches and a variety of international governmental and non-governmental sources. Far too little attention has been given to a disturbing reason for why Christians don’t seek shelter in UNHCR camps and its implications.

This pattern of avoiding the UN camps first became apparent in Iraqi Kurdistan when the Christians fled Mosul on June 10, 2014, and continues to hold true today for the displaced Christian minorities in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, as well as in Kurdistan. Neither in the large UNHCR Zaatari and Azraq camps in Jordan, which together shelter over 100,000 mostly Syrian refugees, or in its smaller encampments in Lebanon, did recent visitors find a single Christian refugee family sheltering there.

 

The United States government is the world’s most generous donor to the UNHCR and resettles more refugees from it “than all other resettlement countries combined,” according to the department’s Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration.[6] However, despite deep US investment in the UNHCR refugee program, our government has given scant focus to the consistent, region-wide, and frankly shocking pattern that the most vulnerable religious minority refugees overwhelmingly avoid the UNHCR camps. In fact, it has been largely silent about the matter and strangely lacking in curiosity about the underlying explanation. Its response has been virtually limited to a brief, unclassified official email statement which said, “many minority religious groups from Syria are urban refugees and have not entered the UN system.”[7]

 

The UNHCR, itself, seems to dodge the question, implying that it is unaware of any such issue. It is able to provide age and gender breakdowns but not religious affiliation of those in its camps, despite the fact that a well-founded fear of “religious persecution” is a fundamental issue for determining refugee status under international law and, given the intense religious persecution of the minorities, this should be one of the first questions asked of those seeking shelter in its camps. On December 2, a media report stated: “Queries sent to the UNHCR about the religious breakdown of refugees in its camps, and about Christians’ concerns about their safety, have yet to bring a response.”[8] A second query put to the UNHCR by a U.S. senate office also failed to receive a response.

 

The reason that the Christians and other vulnerable religious minorities stay away from UNHCR camps can be found in interviews with those who work with the minority refugees and others who’ve been inside the UNHCR camps. The UK’s Lord David Alton is one who has spoken out about this, stating last month that many minorities escaping Syria have either fled the UNHCR refugee camps or have never risked entering them “because they suffer attacks, inside the camps, by radical Islamists.”[9] He reported on the testimony of a witness in an ongoing British parliamentary investigation into this scandal as follows:

The House of Commons International Development Select Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the Syrian Refugee Crisis. At an evidence session recently, a witness, speaking on behalf of an organisation which works

in the region directly with refugees, gave testimony that “we are not aware of Christians being within UN registered camps” – the camps to which UK Aid makes a substantial funding contribution. The Committee was told that Christians avoid these camps – and therefore access to the support within

them – because of fear: “if your culture is different, you stand out and are more

of a target, which makes you nervous to go there.”

Lord Alton stated further:

Another witness in written evidence to the inquiry states, “Christians are generally not able to go to camps for fear of intimidation and risk…Because many Christians and other minority groups do not enter the camps due to fear of religious persecution, this would result in them being doubly disadvantaged as they will not have equal access to the scheme.” This double disadvantage refers to effective exclusion from the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Scheme – after having already been driven away from their home towns or villages, often as a result of religious persecution – these refugees, surviving outside the UN camps, have no chance of being selected as some of the 20,000 refugees the UK has committed to welcome here. An Archbishop familiar with the region says that if they are outside the refugee camps “[t]he UN don’t really help these families.”

Hudson Institute’s international religious freedom scholar Nina Shea interviewed representatives of the Charlottesville, Virginia-based Christian Aid Mission, who visited the UNHCR camps in Jordan to bring food and medicine parcels and who found them to be “dangerous” places where ISIS, militias, and gangs traffic in women and threaten men who refuse to swear allegiance to the caliphate. One of its associates from the region told her that even UNHCR offices in the capital cities, which are staffed with locals, mostly from the majority religion, can be intimidating for Christians. When one Christian family that escaped ISIS attested to being persecuted for religious reasons, the staff reportedly angrily argued back that “Christians are the ones persecuting Muslims.”
The Christian Aid Mission provides further details about hostility inside the UNHCR camps in its release interviewing one of its indigenous mission directors. Posted on its website[10], excerpts follow:

In United Nations camps in Jordan, Islamist gangs bring the same practices that refugees have fled: coercion to join terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS), conflict between militias on both sides of the civil war, and the criminal buying and selling of females as sex slaves.

“The Muslim gangs come as refugees, but they have their agendas,” said the ministry director, whose name is withheld for security reasons. “They’re like a mafia. People are even killed inside the camps, and the refugees are afraid to say if they saw somebody get killed. If you ask them, they’ll say, ‘I don’t know, I was asleep.'” ….U.N. refugee camps offer little refuge, he said. “The last time I went inside a camp, I had a policeman with me,” the ministry director said. “The camps are dangerous because they have ISIS, Iraqi militias and Syrian militias. It’s another place for gangs. They’re killing inside the camps, and they’re buying and selling ladies and even girls.” Inside the camps, ISIS treats the men much as they do in Syria – telling them that they will either swear allegiance to the caliphate or be killed, he said. ISIS militants try to do in secret what they did openly in Syria.

In the British newspaper Express, a terrorist defector asserted that ISIS is sending “teams of trained killers into camps disguised as refugees to kidnap and kill vulnerable Christians.”[11]

These reports raise a humanitarian and security problem so severe they should not be ignored any longer. If confirmed, this would mean that some American aid is going toward the support of ISIS and other extremists and toward the fostering of an environment inside purported camps of refuge that intimidates and oppresses all their residents, whether they are a minority or not. It also means that this U.S. support of Iraqi and Syrian refugees is largely bypassing the Christian and other vulnerable minority refugees. And, as Lord Alton pointed out, these are the camps from which the West, including the U.S., will be accepting tens of thousands of Syrian refugees for resettlement, thus posing potentially a serious security risk to the homeland. These camps need improved oversight and security.

 

Syrian Christians and Other Vulnerable Minorities Are Disproportionately Excluded from the U.S. Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program Due to Reliance on a Functionally Discriminatory UNHCR Program

Another implication of being forced to shelter outside the UNHCR system is that the Christians, Yazidis and other vulnerable religious minorities are thus disproportionally excluded from the UN refugee resettlement referrals to the United States and other Western countries. This is borne out in US State Department public data which shows that, since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, cumulatively only about 2.5% of the Syrian refugees resettled through the UNHCR in the United States have been Christians, though Christians comprised 10% of the Syrian pre-war population of 2 million and are facing religious genocide.[12] During this 5-year period, only one lone Yazidi has been resettled in the U.S. through the UNHCR though there were 800,000 Yazidis in pre-war Syria and that vulnerable minority community, too, suffers religious genocide.

Since the Paris terror attacks on November 13, the State Department has admitted 237 Syrian refugees into the United States – 236 Sunni Muslims and one Christian, according to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center.[13] This is structural discrimination against some of the neediest refugees, and it is shameful.

The administration continues to claim that it is U.S. policy to give “priority resettlement” to Syrian Christian and Yazidi refugees. “Due to the unique needs of vulnerable religious minority communities, the State Department has prioritized the resettlement of Syrian Christian refugees and other religious minorities fleeing the conflict,” wrote the Department’s Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Middle East Knox Thames to Shea in the unclassified, official State Department statement. This issue is consequential: The administration is committed to accepting 10,000 refugees from Syria in the coming months, a five-fold increase over the number we have resettled over the last five years combined. Nevertheless, few of these can be expected from the Christian and minority communities as long as the U.S. government relies on a UNHCR refugee referral process that functionally excludes them and as long as administration and congressional leaders remain apathetic about this injustice.

Pope Francis has highlighted the need for the West to include the Christian minority refugees in its welcome of Syrian refugees. In a dramatic gesture, on September 6, the Holy Father, personally, gave refuge inside the Vatican to a Melkite Greek Catholic family from Damascus. The pope has urged others to follow this example.

In light of the foregoing discussion, the Knights of Columbus proposes the following recommendations to ensure this and other guarantees of basic fairness are given effect:

Recommendations:

  1. Congress, including the House of Representatives, should urgently adopt a resolution recognizing that the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria, as well as other vulnerable communities are facing genocide. The Knights of Columbus supports House Concurrent Resolution 75, which names and decries the ongoing “genocide” against Christians and other vulnerable minorities in Iraq and in Syria. Introduced by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, this resolution already has 153 bipartisan cosponsors and a similar resolution is to be soon introduced in the Senate.

 

  1. In addition, the U.S. government should publicly acknowledge that genocide is taking place against the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria, including in its reportedly impending statement on genocide that, according to reports, refers only to Nineveh’s Yazidi community. It is critically important that the State Department consider the best available evidence before making any official pronouncement that rejects allegations that Christian are, along with Yazidis, targets of ongoing genocidal acts. The United States is rightly viewed the world’s leading defender of vulnerable minorities and as an historic safe-haven for those fleeing religious persecution. An official government declaration of genocide is a unique opportunity to bring America’s religious communities together to pursue the truth, to support the victims and to bear witness to the noble principle of “Never Again.”
  1. As the most generous state both in supporting the UNHCR and in accepting for resettlement refugees referred by it, the United States has a heavy obligation and considerable ability to ensure that places of refuge operated by the UNHCR welcome and provide sanctuary to members of all faiths, including Christians and other vulnerable minorities. It should insist on proper security inside the camps and identify ways to ensure that Christian and other vulnerable minorities from Iraq and Syria are not subject to violence and intimidation inside UNHCR facilities, including possibly by providing separate facilities for minorities and by hiring more professional staffing, including members of the minority communities. The U.S. should require the UNHCR to gather and make public, along with its other data, the religious affiliation of all the refugees it serves. To ignore reports of such humanitarian problems, without prompt investigation and corrective action, would itself be an injustice.
  1. The U.S. government should ensure that Christians and other vulnerable minorities are not structurally discriminated against in the U.S. refugee resettlement of ten thousand Syrians during the current fiscal year. Moreover, it should take immediate action to implement its stated policy of “prioritizing” the resettlement of vulnerable minorities, including Christians. The U.S. government should end its sole reliance on the UNHCR for refugee referrals, and engage private contractors to identify, document and refer Christian, Yazidi and other vulnerable minority refugees from Syria and Iraq who are in need of resettlement.

 

 

ADDENDUM

 

 

December 4, 2015

 

 

The Honorable John F. Kerry

Secretary of State

  1. S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, D.C. 20520

 

Dear Mr. Secretary

 

We write as American citizens concerned about the vulnerable Christian and Yazidi minorities of Iraq and Syria who are being targeted for eradication in their ancient homelands solely because of their religious beliefs. We respectfully request, on an urgent basis, a meeting with a small delegation who can brief you on the continuing religious genocide confronting both these peoples.

 

We recently learned that a State Department finding is imminent that ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidis. We would wholeheartedly endorse that finding, but we are deeply troubled by the prospect that the Department’s statement will either omit or reserve judgment on whether ISIS is committing genocide against Christians.

 

Two reasons have been given for excluding Christians from the State Department’s findings.

 

  • First, we understand that the Department’s statement will be based on a limited review of ISIS’ actions in Nineveh, Iraq, since the summer of 2014, and that the Department lacks sufficient information about the experience of the Christian communities in Nineveh during that time to conclude that genocide took place. While your office on International Religious Freedom has requested that we provide additional information, it indicated that the final determination of when (or whether) a genocide declaration will be issued concerning Christians will be made at higher levels. We would like the opportunity to explain why the Department’s geographic and temporal focus is too narrow, and to present the available evidence of ongoing genocidal acts against Christians in Syria and Iraq at a level where it can be considered before a finding is made.

 

  • Second, a press report by Michael Isikoff indicates that one rationale for excluding Christians is that, unlike Yazidis, ISIS gives Christians a “choice”:       They can convert to Islam, pay an Islamic tax (jizya), or be killed, enslaved, tortured, or held hostage. The implication is that ISIS abides by traditional Islamic Sharia, under which other “People of the Book” (Christians and Jews) pay a tax in exchange for protection by their Muslim rulers. We would like the opportunity to explain why this is emphatically not the case.

 

The Genocide Convention defines genocide as killing and certain other acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” We have extensive files supporting a finding that ISIS’ treatment of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, meets this definition.  They include evidence of ISIS assassinations of Church leaders; mass murders; torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria; its sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women; its practices of forcible conversions to Islam; its destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; and its theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity alike.  We will also present ISIS’ own, public statements taking “credit” for mass murder of Christians, and expressing its intent to eliminate Christian communities from its “Islamic State”.

 

The world recoiled when it learned that ISIS jihadis had stamped Christian homes in Mosul with the red letter “N” for “Nazarene” in summer 2014, but the elimination of Christians in other towns and cities in Iraq and Syria began long beforehand.  ISIS genocidal campaign against Christians continues today, with hundreds of Christians remaining in ISIS captivity, and with summary executions, including by beheadings and crucifixions, occurring as recently as only a few months ago.

 

Pope Francis has called ISIS’ crimes against Christians by their proper name: “genocide.”  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Christian leaders in the Middle East have done so as well.  We agree, and are hopeful that, once you have seen the evidence, you will too.

 

The United States is rightly viewed the world’s leading defender of vulnerable minorities, and as an historic safe-haven for those fleeing religious persecution. A declaration of genocide by the State Department is thus a unique opportunity to bring America’s religious communities together to pursue the truth, to support the victims, and to bear witness to the noble principle of “Never Again.”

 

It is, therefore, critically important that the State Department consider the best available evidence before making any official pronouncement that rejects allegations that Christian are, along with Yazidis, targets of ongoing genocidal acts.

 

We respectfully request that you meet personally at your earliest convenience with a small delegation drawn from those who have signed this letter. We have included point of contact information in a separate attachment.

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

Sincerely,

 

Carl Anderson

Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus

 

His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian

Ecumenical Director and Legate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)

 

Robert A. Destro

Professor of Law, The Catholic University of America

 

Most Reverend Bishop Julian Dobbs

Missionary Bishop of Convocation of Anglicans in North America

 

Dr. Thomas F. Farr

Director Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University

 

Robert P. George

McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

 

Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon

Harvard Law School

 

Aram Hamparian

Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America

 

Shirley V. Hoogstra, J.D.

President, Council For Christian Colleges & Universities

 

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Pastor, Hope Christian Church

Bishop, International Communion of Evangelical Churches

 

Most Reverend Sarhad Y. Jammo

Chaldean Bishop of Western U.S.A.

 

Philip Jenkins

Distinguished Professor of History, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University

 

Brian Katulis

Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

 

Rev. Benedict Kiely

Founder, http://www.Nasarean.org

 

The Very Reverend James A. Kowalski

Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

 

Most Reverend Gregory Mansour

Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn

 

  1. Albert Mohler Jr.

President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

 

Rev. Johnnie Moore

President, The KAIROS Company

Author, Defying ISIS

 

Russell Moore

President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

 

Mark L. Movsesian

Frederick A. Whitney Professor and Director, Center for Law and Religion

St. John’s University School of Law

 

Archbishop Oshagan

Prelate, Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern)

 

Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou

Assoc. Prof. of Conflict Resolution, The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University

 

Rev. Bob Roberts, Jr.

Senior Pastor, NorthWood Church, Keller, TX

 

Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez

President, NHCLC/CONELA, Hispanic Evangelical Association

 

Nina Shea

Director and Senior Scholar, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute

 

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett

President, Lantos Foundation

 

Very Rev. Nathanael Symeonides

Ecumenical & Interfaith Officer, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

 

Frank Wolf

Distinguished Senior Fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative;

Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom, Baylor University

 

Dr. George O. Wood

General Superintendent, Assemblies of God, USA

 

Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Archbishop of Washington

 

 

Attachment (1): Point of contact information.

 

 

cc: Hon. Anthony Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State
Hon. Sarah Sewall, Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
Hon. Elizabeth Bagley, Senior Advisor for Special Initiatives to the Secretary
Hon. David Saperstein, Ambassador for International Religious Freedom
Hon. Ira Forman, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
Dr. Shaun Casey, Special Advisor for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

 

Point of Contact Information:

 

Nina Shea                    shea@hudson.org

 

Andrew Walther           andrew.walther@kofc.org

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.france24.com/en/20150710-bolivia-pope-francis-calls-end-genocide-christians-middle-east

[2] http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases/uscirf-statement-the-designation-victims-genocide-persecution-and-crimes

[3] http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/8721.htm

[4] Fr. Bazi also told the Knights of Columbus: “What’s the point of letting sheep among wolves? Be our voice.  I will not be surprised if they are going to destroy us, but I will be disappointed if no one will tell our stories… I will ask you here: pray for my people, help my people, and save my people.  And I believe you can.”

[5] http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/8721.htm

[6]  http://www.state.gov/j/prm/ra/

[7]  Unclassified email of October 27, 2015, from Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Middle East Knox Thames to Nina Shea, Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

[8] http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/state-dept-us-refugee-program-admits-most-vulnerable .

[9] http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2015/11/fiona-bruce-mp-and-lord-alton-our-aid-programme-must-support-religious-freedom.html

[10] http://www.christianaid.org/mobi/news/2015/mir20151008_full.aspx

[11] http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/614249/ISIS-sends-ASSASSINS-UN-refugee-camps-could-come-Britain

[12] http://www.hudson.org/research/11861-christian-syrian-refugees-united-states-won-t-admit-non-muslims

[13] http://cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/04-christian-syrian-refugees-admitted-paris-attacks-include-236

http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-fulfilling-humanitarian-imperative-assisting-victims-isis-violence

http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-global-crisis-religious-freedom

See letter from Members of Congress calling for genocide to be named as such:

Letter to Sec Kerry re ISIL genocide 4pdfLetter to Sec. Kerry re ISIL genocide

Letter to Sec Kerry re ISIL genocide 2

Letter to Sec Kerry re ISIL genocide 3pdf

Letter to Sec Kerry re ISIL genocide 4pdf

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Also see:

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...but British Government still fails to act…..

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4689):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 16 December (HL4327) that “we are not submitting any evidence of possible genocide against Yezidis and Christians to international courts, nor have we been asked to”, what assistance they are providing to the Assyrian Christians and Yezidis to make the case that genocide has been committed, and what resources they are providing for the collection of evidence. (HL4689)

Tabled on: 17 December 2015

Answer:
Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

The Government believes that recognition of genocides should be a matter for international courts. It should be a legal, rather than political determination, decided by international judges after consideration of all the evidence available in the context of a credible international judicial process.

However, we are funding a project that is documenting sexual violence in Iraq, in a victim sensitive way. This database of cases will then be used to help survivors access justice and ensure that perpetrators are held to account. We also co-sponsored the UN Human Rights Council Resolution mandating the UN to investigate and report on Daesh abuses.

Date and time of answer: 30 Dec 2015 at 14:35.

 

 

Kenyan Muslims shield Christians in Mandera bus attack – BBC News

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-35151967

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