Genocide Declaration – One Year Later

Exactly one year ago today, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, meeting a congressionally-mandated deadline, announced that the State Department had determined ISIS to be guilty of genocidal action against Christians and other minorities. He said ISIS “is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions - in what it says, what it believes, and what it does.”  He also stated, “There is no question in my mind that if [ISIS] succeeded in establishing its so-called caliphate, it would seek to destroy what remains of ethnic and religious mosaic once thriving in the region.”

In a recent article, Ewelina Ochab, a human rights advocate and author of Never Again: Legal Responses to a Broken Promise in the Middle East, examined what has and has not been done over the last year. While formal recognition of genocide has in the past been “the first and the most important step towards the adequate administration of justice, reconciliation, and healing,” in this situation she contends that “recognition has meant nothing.” Ochab highlights unfulfilled commitments and lack of political will to address this evil, and notes that interest in the plight of the victims “has become exploitative.” She concluded, “Victims will not be helped with mere promises. And time is running out.”

Notably, last month at Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando, the NRB Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution in support of brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East. In particular, the Board declared its solidarity with those persecuted and called on “NRB members and their constituents to urge the United States to take decisive action in defense of Christians threatened by genocide.”

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: March 17, 2017

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