(New York City) — This week marks the one year anniversary since Congress passed a resolution 393-0 condemning the Islamic State for engaging in outright genocide against Christians, Shia Muslims and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria. It was also one year ago this week that the Obama administration also defined ISIS atrocities as genocide.
Last week, I met in Washington with Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska), who authored the resolution, to thank him for taking the lead on this critical issue. We discussed a range of issues, including the exclusive new poll we’ve just released on how Americans view the war against ISIS. We also discussed next steps the U.S. government should take.
Robert Nicholson, executive director of The Philos Project, has also shown impressive leadership in educating Washington and the public about the ISIS genocide. Recently, he asked me to sign onto the following statement urging the Trump administration and Congress to take specific actions on this urgent issue. I readily agreed. Here is the full statement.
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS FOR THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION AND CONGRESS ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S RECOGNITION OF THE ISIS GENOCIDE
In 2016, the U.S. Congress and Secretary of State recognized that ISIS is responsible for genocide against religious minorities in areas under its control in Iraq and Syria – Yazidis, Christians, and others. One year later, nearly all of the survivors of the ongoing genocide remain uprooted from their communities, either as refugees or internally displaced persons. Without security, aid, justice, fundamental rights, and economic revitalization, these communities may never be able to return and rebuild. To date, too few of the survivors have received assistance from the American people through U.S. government and UN programs.
To ensure that these communities survive in Iraq and Syria, and to promote American interests and values, we, the undersigned, urge the Trump administration and the U.S. Congress to take the following steps as the U.S. and Coalition drive ISIS back and liberate occupied territory:
- Direct the Departments of State and Defense to develop plans to secure, stabilize, and revitalize the ancestral homelands of indigenous religious minority communities targeted by ISIS for genocide in northern Iraq – particularly in the Sinjar, Nineveh Plain, and Tal Afar areas. State, Defense, and supporting agencies should ensure that these communities receive U.S. and UN humanitarian aid and should encourage the private investment necessary to restore the productivity of these once self-sufficient local economies.
- Direct all agencies with a national security or law enforcement mission to use all available means to bring to justice both the perpetrators of this genocide and their accessories: the material cooperators (collaborators, affiliates, financiers, and facilitators) of ISIS, Al Qaeda, and their affiliates. The administration should also work with Congress to facilitate criminal and civil litigation to bring the aiders and abettors of this genocide to justice in the U.S. and worldwide.
- Appoint qualified and committed individuals to implement and oversee these priorities, with the aim of advancing national security and human rights, to the following posts:
- National Security Council Special Advisor for Human Rights;
- National Security Council Special Advisor for Religious Freedom;
- Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights;
- Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism;
- Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom;
- Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Asia;
- Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs;
- Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice;
- U.S. Representative UN Human Rights Council.
To read the names of more than three dozen Evangelical, Catholic and other Christian leaders who have co-signed this statement, please click here.