U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said at a campaign event in New Hampshire that ISIS violence against Iraqi – Syrian Christians, and other religious minorities in the Middle East was genocide.
“I am now sure we have enough evidence, what is happening is genocide deliberately aimed at destroying lives and wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities,” Clinton said.
The Government had refused earlier requests to recognize the ISIS atrocities as genocide, saying it would prefer to concur with the findings of any investigations undertaken by the International Criminal Court.
ISIS group has targeted and killed members of one of the oldest religion in Iraq – The Yazidi religion.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister was presented with a letter by the MPs and peers telling him that there was enough evidence to prove the persecution and killing of the minorities and Christians was aimed at their annihilation.
The letter said:
“There is now clear evidence that this genocide includes assassinations of Church leaders, mass murders, torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria, sexual enslavement and 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 alike,”
Mrs Clinton was reluctant to use the word “genocide” to describe the ISIS campaign against Christians, Yazidis, non-Sunni Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities.
“That the US Democratic Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, has now gone on public record that there is ‘now enough evidence’ that the killings by ISIS constitute genocide is a huge boost to our campaign,” said Lord Alton of Liverpool and Robert Flello, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, in a joint statement on behalf of the signatories.
Lord Alton said: “It’s clear that the Government is listening to our concerns. I understand that Ministers are now looking at whether UK law and legal structures might provide an effective response and whether a regional tribunal to prosecute genocide might be constituted.”
He added: “This is welcome news which we hope will also see the United Nations declare as genocide the killing of innocent Iraqi and Syrian Christians, Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities.”