On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted the Resolution on Systematic Mass Murder by ISIS, which condemns the ongoing atrocities in the Middle East as genocide. It stresses that the “so-called ‘ISIS/Da’esh’ commits genocide against Christians and Yazidis, and other religious and ethnic minorities.”
By unequivocally recognizing the systematic persecution as genocide, the European Parliament urges the international community to act to stop the killing.
“We applaud the European Parliament for having responded to clear and compelling evidence that Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East are victims of intentional destruction and genocide. The overwhelming majority who voted in favor of this recognition is remarkable and shows that Europe supports action against this intolerable and ongoing genocide,” said Sophia Kuby, director of European Union advocacy at ADF International. “It was high time that the EU responded to the undeniable evidence of this genocide, which includes assassinations of church leaders, torture, mass murders, kidnapping, sexual enslavement, systematic rape of Christian and Yazidi girls and women, and the destruction of churches, monasteries, and cemeteries.”
The resolution “urges the members of the UN Security Council to support a referral by the Security Council to the International Criminal Court in order to investigate violations committed in Iraq and Syria by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’ against Christians, Yazidis and religious and ethnic minorities.”
“Determined action at the UN on this genocide is long overdue,” Kuby said. “We hope that the clear language that members from all political groups agreed upon in this resolution will accelerate these important next steps and help to save lives.”
Paragraph 10 of the resolution “calls for the EU to establish a permanent Special Representative for Freedom of Religion and Belief.”
“We are excited to see that the resolution calls for the establishment of a permanent special representative for freedom of religion,” added Kuby. “This new high-level position will help the EU to respond in a better way to increasing violations of freedom of religion in many parts of the world.”
Genocide has been described as the “crime of crimes” and has a specific legal definition. According to the UN Genocide Convention of 1948, it refers to acts committed with the intent to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.”
The resolution was drafted in response to the targeting of religious minorities in the Middle East. The number of Christians has dropped from 1.25 million to 500,000 in Syria and from 1.4 million to under 275,000 in Iraq in just a few years. The adopted resolution of the European Parliament follows a nearly unanimous vote at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Jan. 27 condemning the atrocities committed by ISIS as genocide.
ADF International is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.