|Washington, DC, August 16, 2017- On Tuesday August 15, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered remarks on the release of the 2016 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom (IRF). “America’s promotion of international religious freedom demands standing up for the rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” the preface to the State Department’s report stated.
Secretary of State Tillerson mentioned that “ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims” and that “no one should have to live in fear, worship in secret or face discrimination because of his or her beliefs”.
“IDC commends the State Department and Secretary of State Tillerson for officially recognizing the genocide of Christians and other religious minorities”, said IDC Executive Director Philippe Nassif.
In March 2016, IDC launched the “Stop the Christian Genocide” campaign and partnered with the Knight of Columbus on submitting a 300-page report that led to former Secretary of State Kerry designating the Christian Genocide.
Earlier this year, IDC and other human rights groups noticed that the State Department had omitted the word “genocide” from its country reports on Syria and Iraq. IDC immediately brought this to the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who made inquiries with the State Department.
“IDC will continue to champion fundamental human rights and equality for Christians and other vulnerable minorities in the region,” added Nassif.