On September 21, 2017 the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2379 calling for the creation of an Investigative Team headed by a Special Adviser for the purpose of “collecting, preserving, and storing evidence in Iraq of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the terrorist group [ISIS] in Iraq.” This evidence will then be used to hold ISIS members “accountable for their crimes in Iraq.” This is the first crucial step to providing the relief that Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities facing genocide in Iraq need.
Recently, we explained how your voice led to this critical resolution. Now we’re building on this momentum.
In light of this Resolution, we sent a letter to the incoming President of the U.N. Security Council for the month of November – Italy’s permanent representative to the U.N. – acknowledging this important first step but also admonishing that there still remains a lot of work to be done. Our letter states:
Now, the Security Council has specifically empowered the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Adviser to collect evidence of the genocide being committed against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq by ISIS. The Secretary-General has been given 60 days to develop and report back to the Security Council Terms of Reference to implement this resolution. The responsibility to protect implicated therein is of critical importance.
This is a critical step forward, but more must be done to prevent the ongoing spread of genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq, Syria, and beyond and to protect the victims thereof.
While we call for swift and decisive action by the international community to stop the genocide and protect Christians, we also appreciate the reality that the first step is for the United Nations to recognise that the atrocities constitute genocide and to recognise all those victimised thereby, including Christians.
We reminded the new Security Council President of the atrocities that are being carried out against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria:
In June 2014, an Iraqi Christian Mother and her daughter were brutally raped by Islamic State members “in front of the husband and father. The husband and father was so traumatized that he committed suicide”. Four other Iraqi Christian women were shot to death by members of the Islamic State for not wearing veils.
In May 2016, Islamic State members in Mosul, Iraq, burned a twelve-year-old Christian girl to death: The “[j]ihadi fighters had come to claim a religious tax from the girl’s mother . . . but when the mother delayed in praying,” they set fire to the family home while the mother and her daughter were still inside. The “[m]other and child were able to escape the burning building, but the girl had suffered such severe burns that she later died in the hospital”.
In Syria, the Islamic State has beheaded and stoned men, women, and children for blasphemy, heresy and apostasy. One Christian Syrian woman described “Christians being killed and tortured, and . . . children being beheaded in front of their parents”. She spoke of “250 children [who] were put in the dough mixer, they were kneaded. The oldest one of them was four-years-old”. At times, the Islamic State has also demanded that religious minorities pay a tax (called jizya), or flee-punishing by death those who fail to comply.
As we stated in a recent letter to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres:
The momentum is building to bring justice to the victims of these genocidal atrocities. We have received, and continue to receive, direct responses from key nation-states acknowledging the need for international intervention to stop the ISIS genocide, to help the victims and to bring the heinous criminals to justice.
The ACLJ will continue its aggressive efforts to stop the genocide and protect Christians and other religious minorities from these acts of genocide. This letter is only the most recent action we’ve taken to bring awareness to and stop the ISIS genocide. In the past we’ve sent letters to Heads of State, key U.N. officials, and have even delivered oral interventions before the U.N. Human Rights Council on numerous occasions.
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