This morning the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed by unanimous consent the historic genocide resolution, expressing the sense of Congress that ISIS’ atrocities committed against Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac Christians as well as Yezidis and other ethnic and religious minorities, targeted specifically for religious reasons are war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The passage of this resolution follows the passage by the European Parliament last month of a similar resolution recognizing ISIS’ systematic killing and persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East as genocide.
House concurrent resolution 75 was introduced in September 2015 at IDC’s National Leadership Convention by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA). Since then, the resolution quickly gained over 200 Congressional co-sponsors.
In his opening statement this morning, Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), said ‘This resolution calls the violent acts of ISIS by the right name…I support this resolution and its call on member states of the United Nations to coordinate urgently on measures to prevent further war crimes against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria.’
At the mark up, Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) noted the numerous hearings the committee has held on the genocide question, and observed that the ancient, indigenous Christian communities have been completely eviscerated from the areas where ISIS has consolidated its control.
Applauding this morning’s decision, IDC President Toufic Baaklini stated, “IDC thanks the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the co-sponsors of H. Con. Res. 75 for calling ISIS’ crimes by the rightful name, a statement that will resonate around the world, and urges the House leadership to bring this bill to a vote and the Obama administration and the State Department to officially recognize the genocide.”
At a hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations last week, Rep. Fortenberry urged Secretary of State John Kerry to designate ISIS’ crimes as genocide, and to ‘help restore the rich tapestry of the ancient faith traditions in the Middle East, to stop this assault on human dignity and civilization itself.’