Your engagement on behalf of Christians and other victims of genocide is making a difference at the United Nations. We have just received confirmation from another important U.N. official that key progress is being made.
As we’ve been reporting, it has taken years of hard work to convince the U.N. and many of its subsidiary bodies to acknowledge the reality of the genocide being perpetrated by ISIS against Christians and other religious minorities. Fortunately, much of that hard work is paying off, and the U.N. is moving forward with important efforts to, a) hold the perpetrators of genocide accountable, and b) provide protection and restoration to the victims of these atrocities.
In a lengthy response we recently received from Mr. Adama Dieng, the U.N.’s Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, we were informed of his broad agreement with both our legal assessment of the genocidal actions and the options for both prosecution of the perpetrators and restoration for the victims. Mr. Dieng specifically referenced the importance of ensuring a safe return home for those wrongfully displaced, stating:
I have also reiterated that taking steps towards accountability is critical to demonstrating that all populations will have a place in the future of Iraq, including ethnic and religious minorities.
He also acknowledged the U.N.’s role in encouraging Iraq to lead the way in this effort:
In the absence of accountability processes at the national level, the international community can explore the options that you set out in your letter, some of which can also be initiated by the Government of Iraq. I have personally shared these options with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq.
This was tremendous to hear from the U.N. official directly tasked with the portfolio of preventing genocide. But more than talk, as we previously explained, we’ve seen the U.N. begin to act. After Mr. Dieng shared our policy proposal with Iraq. Iraq took that proposal to the U.N. We also urged action from the British government, which then worked with Iraq at the U.N. to propose a key U.N. Security Council resolution. That resolution to take the first step on our genocide proposal just passed unanimously.
Now, we have received further confirmation of these efforts from the U.N. official directly tasked with the portfolio of protecting victims of genocide, Mr. Ivan Simonovic.
Mr. Simonovic is the Assistant-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, and we wrote to him last month, urging him to partner with Mr. Dieng in furtherance of their shared goals:
We, therefore, respectfully and solemnly urge you, as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, to expeditiously advise the Secretary-General in appointing a Special Adviser and assembling an Investigative Team pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2379. Moreover, we implore you to directly engage this matter without delay.
We would also urge that you make the influence and resources of your esteemed Office available to the Special Adviser, and that you do all in your power to ensure thoroughness in the collection, documentation, and preservation of the evidence to prosecute these grotesque ISIS atrocities, including genocide. This critical investigation will no doubt provide your Office with resources necessary to protect the victims of these genocidal atrocities in fulfillment of our responsibility to protect. We commend you in advance for your commitment and efforts in this regard.
Just a few days ago, Mr. Simonovic wrote to us “to support what my colleague the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has replied to you in his letter dated 12 September 2017.”
Importantly, Mr. Simonovic also stated, “We need to ensure that all minority groups have a space in the future of Iraq.”
This statement, which closely mirrors the statement by Mr. Dieng, is critically important, because it affirms a long-standing recommendation we have made to focus on the expeditious return of genocide victims to their homeland. A return home is both what the vast majority of victims desire and the most efficient and compassionate way to assist the maximum number of victims. We are grateful to both Mr. Simonovic and Mr. Dieng for recognizing this important goal and for standing with us in the effort to achieve it.
A great deal of work lies ahead, as untold numbers of Christians and other religious minorities need to be restored to their rightful homes. But the growing and increasingly unified voice of the international community in support of helping these victims return home is a tremendous step in the proper direction.
We will continue this important work until the job is done, and will continue to look for roadblocks in the process that we can help remove.
In the meantime, your voice has made a difference. It will be critical for you to remain engaged as we move forward into this next phase of restoring those who have been so wrongly victimized.
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