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British Parliament declares Christian and Yazidi victims of ISIS as targets of genocide.

The backbench members of the British Parliament have voted, by a margin of 278 to 0, to pass a motion declaring the atrocities perpetrated by ISIS against religious minorities, such as Christians and Yazidis, as “genocide,” reports Christian Today.

Despite the unanimous decision in the House of Commons, the government has instructed all ministers and their aides to not vote for the motion. As reported by Tobias Ellwood, who is the Foreign Office minister, the government’s position that a determination of genocide is for the international legal system to decide, not governments.

But conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Fiona Bruce tabled the motion, calling the government’s stance a “circular argument” because the International Criminal Court (ICC) cannot initiate proceedings until the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) instructs them to. And of course, the United Kingdom is a permanent member of the UNSC.

ISIS has terrorized Christians and other ethnic and religious minority groups since they took control of large areas of northern Iraq and Syria. The United States, the European parliament and the Council of Europe have all declared ISIS’s murder and repression of these groups genocide.

So why hasn’t the U.K. followed suit? Giles Fraser of The Guardian thinks he knows why. First, he agrees with Bruce’s argument, reminding that there’s really no procedure for consummating a referral.

But more importantly, the U.K. and Turkey have become fast friends after the countries’ agreement on the return of Greek refugees. And recall that the first genocide of the 20th century was perpetrated by Turkey on the Armenians in 1915.

After the debate and vote, Nusrat Ghani, a Tory MP, said, “If we don’t recognize these acts as genocide we effectively say we are not willing to take all actions necessary to bring them to an end.”  

Finally, Bruce said that it is “the government’s responsibility” to take its concerns to the UNSC.

The Family Research Council will be live streaming on Thursday, April 28. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), co-chair of the Caucus on Religious Minorities in the Middle East, will speak about a genocide resolution and related matters of international religious liberty.

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