ADF International book Never Again presented at European Parliament; prominent panelists included Ján Figel, Javier Nart, and Nuri Kino
BRUSSELS – On 29 June 2016, ADF International launched Never Again – Legal Responses to a Broken Promise in the Middle East published by Kairos Publications. The book documents the ongoing genocide of Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq, highlights the failings of the international community to end the carnage, and provides a blueprint for adapting international laws on genocide to adequately respond to terrorist groups like ISIS/Daesh.
“No person or no group should live in fear of being killed, tortured, or oppressed because of their religious beliefs,” said Ewelina Ochab, Legal Counsel for ADF International and author of the book during the launch event at the European Parliament.
“All international communities and governments should condemn atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities. The crimes ISIS is committing in the Middle East are clearly genocide under any definition. We can’t afford to say ‘never again’ again, especially when we have the chance to come together to stop it.”
Prominent speakers address urgency to act
Hosted by Swedish MEP Lars Adaktusson and Spanish MEP and former lawyer at the International Criminal Court Javier Nart, ADF International invited Members of the European Parliament, journalists, civil society delegates, church representatives, and key influencers to the book launch event in order to address the urgency for action.
While Lars Adaktusson valued the book as a significant contribution to eventually stop the ongoing atrocities in the Middle East, Javier Nart stressed the importance of taking concrete steps to safeguard Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq as soon as possible.
Document the crimes
“We have to document the crimes committed against the religious minorities in this region and educate the international community about what is going on. I hope the book will be a tremendous success and reach the international key-decision makers,” said Ján Figel, Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion and Belief outside the European Union.
Additionally, the US Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia, Knox Thames, attended the book launch. In his short remarks he highlighted the need for international collaboration to stop the genocide and to move from words to actions.
Eye-witness accounts and media
Kamel Zozo of SHLOMO, an organization for the documentation of the ongoing genocide in Iraq, presented several testimonies from victims of ISIS/Daesh, portraying the atrocities committed against Christians and other religious minorities in the region: “We have collected testimonies from more than 60,000 people, who were suffering under ISIS/Daesh. These personal stories are heartbreaking. They contain accounts of girls younger than 10 years of age, who were abducted from their families and supposedly sold into slavery. While husbands and brothers are often tortured or killed on the spot, their wives and sisters are being raped and given to ISIS/Daesh fighters as war bounty.”
Stop the suffering of the religious minorities in Syria and Iraq
“Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and everyone is aware of it. Everybody can see it on social media. We call on the European Union and the United Nations to make ‘never again’ mean never again. Stop the suffering of the religious minorities in Syria and Iraq,” said Nuri Kino, an international journalist and Founder and President of “A Demand for Action”.
Decisive role for EU and Member States
In her concluding remarks Sophia Kuby, Director of EU Advocacy for ADF International, reminded the European Union and all of its Member States of their responsibility for ending the ongoing atrocities in the Middle East and beyond.
“Not only in Syria and Iraq but around the world Christians and other religious minorities are being persecuted simply because of their faith. ADF International urges the European Union to establish an institutionalized, permanent, and high-level position at the European Union to promote religious freedom and advocate for the persecuted throughout the world,” said Kuby.
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