Side event co-hosted by ADF International at UN in Geneva addressed ongoing genocide of Christians, other minorities in Syria, Iraq
GENEVA – On Thursday, ADF International co-hosted a side event at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the issue of genocide in the Middle East. The event sought to raise awareness over the plight of the Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq who are being deliberately targeted by ISIS for destruction.
“We urge the international community, and especially the United Nations, to start working immediately towards a resolution at the Security Council, which can refer the situation in the Middle East to the International Criminal Court,” said ADF International Senior UN Counsel Rubén Navarro, who delivered seven oral statements on the topic of genocide last week.
“The European Parliament, Christian church leaders (such as His Holiness Pope Francis), the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and most recently, in a unanimous vote, the U.S. House of Representatives have already condemned ISIS mass killings as ‘genocide.’ The latest to follow suit is Secretary of State John Kerry on behalf of the United States,” Navarro said. “ADF International encourages all remaining UN member states to declare that these horrendous acts by ISIS against minorities do in fact constitute genocide.”
UN must act courageously
At the side event, Johnny Messo of the World Council of Arameans pointed out that, throughout the last century, Arameans have been the victims of genocide, and now abundant evidence from Syria and Iraq shows that this is once again the case.
“Denying this is itself a form of genocide, and we call upon the UN Security Council to show moral leadership in labelling and acting upon these crimes against humanity in a manner befitting what they truly are: genocide,” he said.
“Although ISIS tries to destroy through enslavement, rape, and torture, they have not been able to capture the souls of the courageous and resilient survivors that I have encountered, whose hope of remaining in the region depends on the courage of world leaders in declaring the evil deeds of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ to be genocide,” added Jacqueline Isaac of Roads of Success.
All that we wish for and dream of is a peaceful life and the hope for a better tomorrow
Mariela Shaker, a Syrian artist who concluded the side event with a short violin concert, also commented on the situation in her country.
“All that we wish for and dream of is a peaceful life and the hope for a better tomorrow,” she said. “Whenever I perform, it is a chance for me to tell the story of my Syrian homeland and of the suffering of my people. Music has the power to reunite us, as if we were the pieces in a beautiful mosaic.”
Requests for interviews with the speakers can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more information on the ongoing genocide in Syria and Iraq at www.adfinternational.org/stop-genocide.
ADF International Oral Statements at 31st Session on the Human Rights Council
- Statement at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues
- Statement at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict
- Statement at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide
- Statement at the Interactive Dialogue with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic
- Statement at the General debate (Item 4)
- Statement at the General debate (Item 5)