Clear statements at UN Human Rights Council: Stop killing in Middle East

ADF International urges global community to take action against ongoing genocide
Friday, March 11, 2016

GENEVA – During the 31st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, ADF International addressed the plight of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East in several oral statements this week.

“ADF International is concerned that, at this moment, ISIS/Daesh is committing the most atrocious crimes against Christians and other religious minorities, amounting to genocide,” said ADF International Senior UN Counsel Rubén Navarro, who delivered the statements. “No adequate steps are being taken to stop the atrocities from continuing.”

Although international institutions, including the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, recently recognized the violence ISIS has committed against Christians, Yazidis, and other persecuted minorities in the Middle East as genocide, the UN has not taken decisive action. A referral by the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court in addition to condemning and punishing the perpetrators could help stop the killing.

During the interactive dialogue related to “children in armed conflicts,” Navarro addressed the atrocities against children and families belonging to minority groups. He quoted a report of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which condemned “the systematic killing of children belonging to religious and ethnic minorities by the so-called ISIL, including several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings and crucifixions of children and the burying of children alive.”

Genocide has been described as the “crime of crimes” and has a specific legal definition. As per the UN Genocide Convention of 1948, it refers to acts committed with the intent to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” The number of Christians has dropped from two million to under one million in Syria, and from 1.4 million to under 260,000 in Iraq in just a few years. The Yazidis in the region of Kurdistan have been almost entirely wiped out. The atrocities include assassinations of church leaders, torture, mass murders, kidnapping, sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian and Yazidi girls and women, and the destruction of churches, monasteries, and cemeteries.

On March 17, ADF International will co-host a side event at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Mariela Shaker, a Syrian violinist; Johny Messo of the World Council of Arameans; Jacqueline Isaac of Roads of Success; and Navarro will address the issue of the ongoing genocide of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. The event will be held at Palais des Nations, United Nations Headquarters, Geneva, Room XXI at 2 p.m. CET. Requests for interviews can be submitted before the event to

Find more information on the ongoing genocide in Syria and Iraq at

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

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