17 March 2016, The Tablet

US Government declares Islamic State atrocities genocide

Secretary of State said the group had committed crimes against humanity

The United States Government has declared that Islamic State has committed genocide against Christians and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria.

Today the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said the group was "genocidal by self-proclamation" and was responsible for crimes against humanity.

Yesterday US lawmakers voted unanimously to approve a resolution declaring the atrocities being carried out by Islamic State militants against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria as genocide.

The House of Representatives approved the nonbinding resolution 393 to zero on Monday (13 March).

On the same day, Archbishop Kurtz, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops urged Catholics in America to sign a pledge calling for an end to the slaughter of Christians and minority groups in the Middle East.

"The very future of the ancient Christian presence in the Middle East is at stake," Archbishop Kurtz said in his statement.

Monday’s vote followed the release of a 278-page report produced by the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organisation, the Knights of Colombus, and American charity, In Defense of Christians, documenting the persecution of Christians in Syria and Iraq.

In a statement released after the House vote, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson called the overwhelming support for the genocide resolution "historic and welcome”.

The European Parliament has passed a motion that labelled the atrocities a genocide but the UK Parliament has yet to do so, despite significant pressure from parliamentarians, led by Catholic peer Lord Alton, and campaign groups.

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