|Washington, DC–One year ago today, on March 17, 2016, then-Secretary of State John Kerry formally designated the actions of ISIS as genocide. As part of that declaration he said: “[ISIS] is… responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities… [ISIS] kills Christians because they are Christians; Yezidis because they are Yezidis; Shia because they are Shia. …naming these crimes is important. But what is essential is to stop them.”
The United States proclaimed the truth about the crimes that Christians, Yazidis, and Shiites have suffered at the hands of ISIS—but words are not enough. One year later, nearly all of the survivors of the ongoing genocide remain uprooted from their communities, either as refugees or internally displaced persons. Without security, aid, justice, fundamental rights, and economic revitalization, these communities may never be able to return and rebuild.
To date, too few of the survivors have received assistance from the American people through U.S. government and UN programs.
Yesterday afternoon IDC and experts of the Genocide Coalition—a partnership of organizations and advocates for the ISIS genocide victims—hosted an event in the U.S. Congress to mark the one-year anniversary of the genocide declaration. The Genocide Coalition also released a joint statement calling on the Trump Administration and Congress to take further steps to protect the victims of genocide.
“I want to remind you that this is a call of action to all of you from the Genocide Coalition and from In Defense of Christians to stand up constantly in support of the Christians, the Yezidis, the Shia, and other religious minorities who are being targeted today by ISIS and all of its affiliates around the world,” said IDC Board Advisor Prof. Robert Destro at the event yesterday.
Nadia Murad—who was a victim of sexual enslavement by ISIS and who has now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous activism—said, “The genocide is still going. The minorities in our area still face a real danger. Iraq will be emptied of Yezidis, Christians, and other minorities.
The US government should step in and take practical steps against this genocide. Since the genocide has been recognized, no significant steps have been taken and not a lot has changed.”
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who along with Congressman Jeff Fortenberry introduced the historic house genocide resolution, which put pressure on the Obama Administration to make an official designation, said, “It is history is repeating itself. I think when the pages of history are written about our day and our time, what would be the most honorable part of that history is that we responded to it, that we rose up and that we did something.”
On the one-year anniversary of the genocide designation, IDC urges the Trump administration to take steps to address the atrocities suffered by these ancient religious and ethnic communities whose future in their homeland must be protected and preserved by the provision of aid, security, and justice.