UK Government Must Recognise the Genocide of Christians, Yazidis and Other Ethnic and Religious Minorities in Iraq and Syria
On the 20th April the House of Commons voted 278 to zero declaring that the systematic killing of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq and Syria is genocide.
The motion enjoyed cross party support but was opposed by the Government. Our Parliament has joined the European Parliament, the American House of Representatives and the Australian House of Representatives in affirming that a genocide is taking place in Iraq and Syria. Yet our Government has continued to say that this is a “matter for the courts” despite refusing to provide any trigger for the courts.
The barbarity of IS apparently knows no bounds. Last month, before the Parliamentary debate, some MPs met with a 16-yer-old Yazidi girl named Ehklas. As Fiona Bruce MP reported:
“She was seized by Daesh from her home, along with others from her community in Sinjar in northern Iraq. At the age of 15, she saw her father and brother killed in front of her. She told of how every girl in her community over eight, including herself, was imprisoned and raped. She spoke of witnessing her friends being raped and hearing their screams, and of seeing a girl aged nine being raped by so many men that she died.”
At the #WeAreN International Conference on the UN we heard similar and equally harrowing first-hand accounts of what is happening in the Iraq and Syria.
We cannot let our Government, our national and international representatives, fail to act. They must work towards ending these horrors and a first step would be to officially recognise the genocide which is taking place in Iraq and Syria.
As Lord David Alton has pointed out: "While the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over the four most serious international crimes, including genocide, in order to act, the Court requires a referral from the UN Security Council. Britain, which is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, has not asked it to do this."
In 2015 the Government said: “We are not submitting any evidence of possible genocide against Yazidis and Christians to international courts, nor have we been asked to”.
History proves that once the word genocide is used to designate heinous and targeted crimes against sections of humanity, as in Yugoslavia or in Cambodia, it is followed by swift international action to stop those atrocities
In passing their unanimous genocide resolution the House of Commons has tried to learn from these lessons of history.
For the Government to ignore this vote would amount to contempt of Parliament and a grave fail to protect those who are suffering so terribly.
Sign this petition to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Philip Hammond demanding the recognition of genocide of Christian, Yazidi and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
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UK Gov. Must Acknowledge Genocide in Iraq and Syria