A report by two leading Christian organizations is likely to mount pressure on the State Department to define actions against Christians by ISIS as genocide.
A March 17 deadline for the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to make a formal declaration of genocide in the Middle East will not be met, the State Department announced today.
The report published by the U.S.-based organizations, the “Knights of Columbus” and “In Defense of Christians,” argued that the ISIS was responsible for orchestrating mass violence on Christians who are living in Iraq, Syria and Libya. The 278-page report was released on Thursday.
Experts are of the opinion that a formal declaration of genocide is not going to make a significant difference to the foreign policy adopted by the U.S. However, it is legally important as both international and domestic laws demand the proper investigation of genocide and subsequent action and prosecution.
The State Department Officials had indicated last October that a formal declaration of genocide was very much on the radar. However, the term was likely to be applied only for the Yazidi minority and not for the Christians. This suggestion raked up controversy with a host of political parties, human rights advocates and religious organizations expressing their severe dismay at the indication.
The eruption of the controversy necessitated the congress to instruct the State Department to come up with a findings report by the middle of March.
The fresh report under the given circumstances makes a strong case for the inclusion of Christians in the designation of genocide. It is important to mention here that the report includes legal briefings and witness statements establishing the atrocities on the Christians.
— John Caldwell (@vaporware) March 13, 2016
The report talks about an evidence that supports a finding that the Islamic State’s mistreatment of Syrian and Iraqi Christians, including Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, falls under this definition.
A host of politicians including the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have called the actions of ISIS as genocide earlier.
Carl Anderson, the CEO of Knights of Columbus equated the whole situation and the treatment meted upon the Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East as genocide.
The Knights of Columbus is the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the world and was formed in the year 1882 in the city of New Haven in Connecticut.