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Sad reminder of international inaction on genocide

One year after US genocide recognition little has been done; International community also failed to facilitate prosecution of ISIS perpetrators


NEW YORK – One year ago, on 17 March 2016, then-US Secretary of State John Kerry recognized the atrocities against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq as genocide. According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, immediate action should have followed. To date, no ISIS militant has been tried for genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes, nor has the United Nations issued an official designation of genocide.

The US and the international community have failed to act

“No person or group should live in fear of being killed, tortured, or oppressed because of their religious beliefs. Recognizing and condemning the ongoing genocide of Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities was an important first step. As a signatory to the Convention on Genocide the US is obliged to act fast to stop the genocide and prosecute the perpetrators. It has been an entire year since the designation. The US and the international community have failed to act,” said Kelsey Zorzi, UN Counsel for ADF International in New York, and contributor to the ADF International publication Never Again.

Victims are suffering, evidence is being destroyed

In March 2016, three days before Kerry’s official recognition of genocide, Congress unanimously adopted a resolution condemning ISIS’ crimes against Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities.

The same Members of Congress who sponsored the resolution, have today sent a letter to both, the US Secretary of State and the US Ambassador to the United Nations requesting an update on what actions the US has taken since the declaration last year. In their request, they also urged the UN to condemn the ongoing genocide and facilitate the prosecution of the perpetrators.

“The UN is apparently waiting on Iraq’s approval before it takes action, but this has been the case for over six months and there is no authorization in sight. Victims are suffering. Evidence is being lost and destroyed. The investigation into crimes committed in Syria is mainly focused on the civil war, not ISIS. Not a single ISIS militant has even been under investigation for genocide or other international crimes. We are hopeful that the US will take the lead in finally bringing ISIS to justice,” said Zorzi.

Find more on the ongoing genocide in the Middle East here.

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