The European Parliament unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday recognizing the Islamic State militant group’s (ISIS) systematic killing and persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East as a genocide. The vote, decided by a show of hands at a European Parliament plenary session in the French city of Strasbourg, was the first time that the body has recognized an ongoing conflict situation as a genocide. The resolution states that those who intentionally commit atrocities for ethnic or religious reasons be brought to justice for violations against international law, crimes against humanity and genocide. ISIS has systematically persecuted religious minorities in its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria, kidnapping hundreds of Assyrian Christians in Syria, forcing Christians to live under its radical strand of Islam in the central Syrian city of Al-Qaryatain, enslaving and raping Yazidi women and children in northern Iraq, as well as killing Yazidi men and dumping them in mass graves.
From the press release:
“It is an historical decision. Elected parliamentarians from 28 countries representing over 500 million inhabitants have sent a clear signal to the Member States, the European Commission and the international community to act and to do so in accordance with the principle of ‘responsibility to protect'”, said Swedish EPP Group MEP Lars Adaktusson, who initiated today’s decision in Strasbourg. “This is also a decision that aims to help restore the dignity of the millions of victims affected by ISIS’ barbaric crimes. It is of course also significant that this is the first time the European Parliament has recognised an ongoing genocide”, underlined Adaktusson. The Resolution underlines that those who intentionally, for ethnic or religious reasons, conspire, plan, incite, commit or attempt to commit, are complicit or support atrocities, should be brought to justice and prosecuted for violations of international law, notably war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Lest we forget, here’s what the Bishop of Rome had to say last summer:
Pope Francis on Thursday condemned the killing of Christians in the Middle East, calling it “genocide” and a “third world war,” in an address to the World Meeting of the Popular Movements in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The pope has expressed grave concern in the past about the dangers faced by Christians around the world, including in territories controlled by the Islamic State group. “Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus,” he said, according to Firstpost. “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”