The brutal killing and persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East must be recognized as genocide by the British government, a group of peers has urged.
The group, led by Lord Alton of Liverpool, vice chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion or belief have put pressure on the British Government and will soon be moving an amendment, a move which could initiate a legal action against the government to ramp up action in the fight against Isis.
A letter written to Prime Minister David Cameron MP said, “we urge you to revisit this position for the sake of tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities who are currently subject to acts of genocide in the Middle East.”
If the amendment is approved, a judge perhaps, from the High Court or Supreme Court – would have to examine the evidence and decide whether ISIS’s atrocities should be termed genocide.
That would force the Government to stop hesitating to declare ISIS atrocities Genocide, and take concrete steps to protect the victims of ISIS, carrying out investigations to bring to justice the perpetrators.
ISIS has dispatched children into battle and used them as suicide bombers, and has murdered and sexually enslaved people living in its territory, including systematic rape of Christian girls and women; forcible conversions to Islam; destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artefacts; and theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity.
“As a signatory to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the letter said, the United Kingdom has an obligation under international law to “prevent and punish” acts of genocide. In order to take decisive action to prevent genocide, the very first step must be recognition that genocide is in fact taking place. In the light of horrific and overwhelming evidence emanating from the region, refusing to recognize the current acts as genocide begs the question, for what reason is the United Kingdom a party to the Genocide Convention?”
This comes after the Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted 383-0 in favor of a resolution to declare those who commit or support atrocities against Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities, are guilty of genocide.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the United States Foreign Affairs Committee, and the European Parliament have all acknowledged that ISIS is committing genocide.
The Knights of Columbus has recently issued a 280-page report declaring that the Islamic State group is committing “genocide” against Christians and other religious minorities. The detailed report included a list of 1,131 Christians killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2014, and 125 churches attacked there in the same period.
Lord Alton, one of the signatories of the letter and the Vice Chair All-Party Parliamentary Group wrote to Catholic Herald saying: “We endlessly talk of something vaguely called ‘British values’. One value, one belief, that particularly marks us out from the ideology of ISIS is our belief in the rule of law.
“As a signatory to the genocide convention, it is a dereliction of our duty to uphold international law if we do not take the action that should follow our signature, our voice and our military action,” he added.
Signatories of the letter include: Lord Brennan QC, Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE, Baroness Kennedy QC ,Lord Carlile of Berriew QC CBE, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Baroness Cox.
David Cameron said last year that Christian persecution was a “crucial” issue, adding: “We must stand together and fight for a world where no one is persecuted because of what they believe.”