By Tony Perkins
If the President won’t listen to Congress, maybe he’ll listen to his friends at the U.N. The hardly-conservative international body is echoing what many of us have argued for months: that the Islamic State is guilty of religious genocide. In a report released just yesterday, the U.N. human rights office lent even more credibility to the claims that ISIS is targeting non-Muslims for extinction. Council members say they’ve found “information that points to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes,” and that the Security Council should “consider referring the situation in Iraq to the international criminal court.”
In interviews with more than 100 victims and witnesses, the U.N. insists that there is a pattern of attacks on Yazidis, Christians, and other religious minorities, whose women and children — if not murdered — were raped or forced into sexual slavery. This exactly what I — and others — suggested to Congress, most recently in last week’s Senate testimony.
The U.N.’s report is significant because, shortly after the horror of the Holocaust, the international community established a legally-binding treaty which later became known as the Genocide Convention. It bars the targeting of a “religious group” for the purpose of “(a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” While only one of these acts is required to constitute genocide, ISIS has possibly engaged in all of them with respect to Yazidis, Christians, and other religious groups. If the U.N. is now conceding what we’ve said all along then the United States and other countries have a legal obligation to stop it.
As I pointed out yesterday at an event with Syrian Christians, our silence only encourages those who work actively to diminish or even destroy this fundamental human right. America has moral obligation to speak and act on behalf of religious freedom. We must once again find our voice to speak and our courage to act.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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