European Parliament to vote on genocide in Middle East

EP to adopt resolution on systematic mass murder by ISIS in Middle East; ADF Intl urges MEPs to recognize atrocities as genocide
Wednesday, February 03, 2016

STRASBOURG, France – On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a resolution addressing the plight of Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.

“What we witness in the Middle East is clearly genocide aimed at the destruction of Christians and other religious minorities. This vote gives the European Parliament the opportunity either to respond appropriately to these systematic attacks or to stand idly by,” said Sophia Kuby, director of EU advocacy for ADF International.

“There is undeniable evidence that ISIS has assassinated church leaders and committed torture, mass murders, kidnapping, sexual enslavement, systematic rape of Christian and Yazidi girls and women, and the destruction of churches, monasteries, and cemeteries,” Kuby added. “To date, the European Union has refrained from officially recognizing these atrocities as genocide. In light of this evidence, and considering public statements of ISIS which boast of targeting Christians and other minority groups, it’s incomprehensible for Parliament to describe these crimes as anything short of genocide.”

Genocide has been described as the “crime of crimes” and has a specific legal definition. According to the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948, it refers to specific acts committed with the intent to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” It must involve intentional killing of members of this group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, or deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. The statistics provide grave confirmation of the genocidal intent of members of ISIS. The number of Christians has dropped from 1.25 million to 500,000 in Syria and from 1.4 million to under 275,000 in Iraq in just a few years.

The vote on the resolution at the European Parliament follows another, nearly unanimous vote at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe last week, which did condemn the atrocities committed by ISIS as genocide.

The situation of Christians and members of other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq is complex. In order to provide authentic insights to members of Parliament, delegates, and representatives of civil society, ADF International is co-hosting a presentation at the European Parliament in Brussels on Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m. CET.

Swedish MEP Lars Adaktusson, who is sponsoring the event, has invited victims of the genocide to give testimony and share their experiences related to the current situation for minorities in the Middle East. Members of the media may request interviews with invited victims, delegates, or experts on genocide and international law before the event by e-mailing
  • Interview with Sophia Kuby on the upcoming resolution in the European Parliament on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East
  • Q&A: Genocide and the situation in the Middle East

ADF International is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

# # #