Yesterday, the European Parliament recognized the genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed by ISIS – the Islamic State – against Christians and other religious minorities throughout the Middle East and Africa.
The resolution “on the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh” passed unanimously, and called on the EU Member States to bring “protection and aid, including military protection and aid” to all targeted groups in conformity with international law and obligations. The resolution also threatens legal proceedings to states and individuals supporting ISIS, asking EU Members to prevent their citizens from joining ISIS and “to ensure that, should they do so, they are criminally prosecuted as soon as possible.”
The ECLJ – our European office – worked diligently at the European Parliament, gathering nearly 100,000 signatures (in addition to the ACLJ’s collection of more than 150,000 signatures) to urge the European Parliament to recognize this genocide and pass this resolution. Less than a week ago, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted nearly unanimously to recognize ISIS’s genocide.
The resolution begins by detailing the various national and international laws and treaties violated by ISIS before listing the atrocities they have committed:
whereas religious and ethnic minorities, such as Christian (Chaldean/Syriac/Assyrian, Melkite and Armenian), Yazidi, Turkmens, Shabak, Kaka’i, Sabae-Mandean, Kurdish and Shi’a communities, as well as many Arabs and Sunni Muslims, have been targeted by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’; whereas many have been killed, slaughtered, beaten, subjected to extortion, abducted and tortured; whereas they have been enslaved (in particular women and girls, who have also been subjected to other forms of sexual violence) and forcibly converted, and have been victims of forced marriage and trafficking in human beings; whereas children have also been forcibly recruited; whereas mosques, monuments, shrines, churches and other places of worship, tombs and cemeteries have been vandalised;
The resolution goes on to detail several specific incidents in which ISIS committed numerous international crimes against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, from the more than 150,000 Iraqi Christians who fled Mosul in August 2014 to the kidnapping of more than 220 Assyrian Christians in February 2015.
Importantly, the European Parliament “stresses that the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’ is committing genocide against Christians and Yazidis, and other religious and ethnic minorities, who do not agree with the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’ interpretation of Islam, and that this therefore entails action under the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”. The European Parliament “urges the members of the UN Security Council to support a referral to the International Criminal Court” and invites the Security Council to take measures for these acts “to be recognized as genocide” by the International Criminal Court.
Finally, the European Parliament stresses the responsibility on the international community to take collective action in order to “provid[e] protection and aid, including military protection and aid, in accordance with international law, to all those targeted by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’ and other terrorist organizations in the Middle East.” The European Parliament sent the resolution to UN bodies, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
Both the ACLJ and the ECLJ commend this resolution constituting an important step in the condemnation of the genocidal crimes committed by the Islamic State and the fight against their ideology. We applaud the European Parliament’s willingness to speak up where others, including President Obama, remain woefully silent.
This is why the ACLJ’s work is so important. Legal recognition of ISIS's genocide is the vital first step in ending the atrocities. It's our moral duty to defend Christians and all other religious minorities persecuted and terrorized by ISIS.
Europe has acted. Will the United States? Our office on Capitol Hill continues to urge the Obama Administration to recognize the ISIS genocide against Christians.
Sign our Petition and join our cause. Speak up for our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East.
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