Is it Genocide?
Next week the House of Commons in the UK Parliament will debate a motion put forward by Fiona Bruce MP – the motion is a step forward in recognising the persecution and fear minorities are facing in the region as genocide.
Our charity was started in direct response to this persecution. We are therefore asking people to speak out about it.
Genocide is a loaded term and it describes the systematic attempts to eradicate a people. To us there is little doubt that the attempts by Da’esh (IS, ISIL, ISIS) are systematic and are seeking to eradicate religions and peoples they do not agree with, either by force or by the expulsion from their territory through persecution.
We have to remember it is not only Christians, Yezidis, Shabak and other minorities of Iraq and Syria that have been persecuted; Shia Muslims have suffered horrific violence, without the chance to flee.
Da'esh's destruction of ancient sites of archeological significance along with ancient monasteries, modern churches and cemeteries, adds to the catalgoue of violent attempts to eradicate cultures and alternative views of the world to that of their own.
We call on MPs this week to make a statement of history; that similar to the outrageous acts of extermination, both cultural and physical, that have faced people before, such as to the, Tutsi, Armenians and Kurds, they seek to recongise this current period of history in Iraq and Syria for what it is:
We pray for the people of Iraq and Syria,
for those who have been killed;
for those who have been raped;
for those who have been enslaved;
for those who have been tourtured;
for those who have been forced to flee;
for those who have been persecuted for your sake;
and for their persecutors.
The motion in full reads:
'That this House believes that Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are suffering Genocide at the hands of Daesh; and calls on the Government to make an immediate Referral to the UN Security Council with a view to conferring jurisdiction upon the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators can be brought to justice.'
Genocide is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."