LONDON – On Wednesday 20 April 2016 the House of Commons unanimously passed a historic motion calling the violence perpetrated by ISIS in Syria and Iraq a genocide.
“Today is a day of hope for every Christian, Yazidi or member of other religious minorities suffering under the terror reign of ISIS,” said Robert Clarke, an English barrister and Director of European Advocacy of ADF International who was present at the House during the vote. “The House of Commons urged the government to take charge in recognising the ongoing genocide in the Middle East in order to ultimately bring it to an end. Rightly so; we have an obligation to prevent and punish this ‘crime above all crimes’. We cannot remain silent.”
ADF International has provided evidence and legal analysis to the UK Parliament, the U.S. State Department and international institutions including the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, each of which has gone on to condemn the atrocities perpetrated by ISIS as genocide.
Attorney General for Northern Ireland recognises genocide
While the UK government has been reluctant to recognize ISIS’ atrocities for what they are, Northern Irish Attorney General John Larkin explicitly used the term genocide when referring to the situation of religious minorities in Syria and Iraq in response to a request from Lord Morrow MLA.
“The most modest commitment to the prevention and punishment of genocide must begin with the obligation to examine candidly and thoroughly what has occurred and to classify it correctly,” Larkin wrote.
Two-thirds of British public want their government to act
The Parliamentary motion follows the results of a recent ComRes Poll* commissioned by ADF International showing that 68% of the British public agree that the United Kingdom should use its international influence to ensure ISIS’ atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities are classified as genocide, and that the perpetrators are held accountable.
The ComRes Poll also revealed that:
- 63% support the British government officially recognizing the genocide, with just 7% opposed.
- 69% support the U.K. raising the issue with the United Nations Security Council with the aim of referring the situation to the International Criminal Court, with just 7% opposed.
- 59% support the U.K. conducting a formal inquiry into the claims that the so-called Islamic State has committed genocide, with 14% opposed.
The exact wording of the motion is as follows:
'That this House believes that Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are suffering Genocide at the hands of Daesh; and calls on the Government to make an immediate Referral to the UN Security Council with a view to conferring jurisdiction upon the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators can be brought to justice.'
Find more on the ongoing genocide in the Middle East
* ComRes interviewed 2,023 British adults online between 16 and 17 March 2016. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.