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Members Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Decrying Genocide Against Christians and Other Religious Minorities in Iraq and Syria

September 10th, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), and Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) today announced the introduction of a bipartisan resolution (H. Con. Res. 75) denouncing the genocide being perpetrated against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

“Christianity in the Middle East is shattered,” said Fortenberry, Co-Chair of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus. “The ancient faith tradition lies beaten, broken, and dying. Yet Christians in Iraq and Syria are hanging on in the face of the Islamic State’s barbarous onslaught. This is genocide. The international community must confront the scandalous silence about their plight. Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities have every right to remain in their ancestral homelands.”

“The dictionary defines genocide as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation,” said Eshoo, Co-Chair of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus. “Today these words are a reality as we witness the systematic extermination of religious minorities in the Middle East. The barbaric acts by ISIS, including torture and murder, and the displacement of millions of Yezidis, Christians, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka’e, Kurds and Shi’a, must be stopped. The United States should provide humanitarian aid, protection, and faster refugee processing for these most vulnerable communities, but an official statement of the Congress of the United States must be made to label these atrocities carried out against Christians and other religious minorities for what they are…genocide.”

“We are witness to some of the most brutal attacks on the sacred and fundamental right of religious freedom in recent history,” said Franks, Co-Chair of the International Religious Freedom Caucus. “The Islamic State continues its campaign of terror against Yezidis, Christians, and other religious communities. Today, I stand with my colleagues to call on the United States Congress to condemn these attacks as genocide. This Administration can no longer remain conspicuously silent on the plight of religious minorities caught in the wake of the Islamic State. It is imperative that the Administration develops a comprehensive strategy to defeat the Islamic State and ensure these ancient faith communities have the protection needed to deter future acts of genocide and radicalization in the lands they have inhabited for millennia.”

“Last year, the world watched in horror as ISIS initiated a political and religious insurrection in the name of establishing a caliphate across Iraq and Syria,” said Vargus, Co-Chair of the International Religious Freedom Caucus. “Since the fall of Mosul, thousands of religious minorities—including Christians, Yezidis and Turkmen— have packed their belongings and fled to neighboring communities. Many thousands have been murdered or abducted, and an unknown number of women and girls have been sexually assaulted and forced into marriage. We must not mince words, today a genocide is being committed against Christians and other religious minorities in their historic homelands throughout the greater Middle East. These crimes against humanity must be properly acknowledged in order for the global community to appropriately respond to these infringements on religious freedom.”

09.10.15 Genocide Resolution

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