House Unanimously Puts Pressure on White House, Declares Killing of Christians Genocide
Ahead of a St. Patrick's Day deadline for the Obama administration to deliver to Congress an assessment of ISIS' culpability in genocide, the House on Monday unanimously approved a resolution calling the murder of Christians and other religious minorities genocide.
The bill from Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) states that "the atrocities committed against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities targeted specifically for religious reasons are, and are hereby declared to be, 'crimes against humanity', and 'genocide'."
"Each of the Contracting Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, signed at Paris on December 9, 1948, and other international agreements forbidding war crimes and crimes against humanity, particularly the governments of countries and their nationals who are in any way supporting these crimes, are reminded of their legal obligations under the Convention and these international agreements," the resolution continues.
"Every government and multinational body should call the atrocities being committed in the name of religion by their rightful names: 'crimes against humanity', 'war crimes', and 'genocide'."
Another resolution from Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) urges the president "to direct the United States representative to the United Nations to use the voice and vote of the United States to immediately promote the establishment of a Syrian war crimes tribunal, a regional or international hybrid court to prosecute the perpetrators of grave crimes committed by the Government of Syria, its allies, and other parties to the conflict."
Three lawmakers voted against the resolution: Libertarian Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Tom Massie (R-Ky.), and Bernie Sanders supporter Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on the House floor that too often in history "the world was too afraid to see the truth" and millions perished as a result.
"What matters is that people were dying and the world didn’t notice. Evil does exist. But ignoring it or refusing to call it by its name does not make it go away," McCarthy said. "ISIL is murdering Christians. They are targeting people who share my faith -- the faith of many people in this House -- people who believe in Jesus Christ. And because of that belief, they are being marked for execution. ISIL is murdering and enslaving religious and ethnic minorities everywhere they gain power, and we know it."
“We know what they are doing, and if we don’t say it, we should be ashamed. ISIL is committing genocide. They are targeting non-Muslims --- Christians, Yazidis, and more -- and pushing them to extinction."
But, McCarthy stressed, "we also can't ignore what else is happening in Syria."
"The Assad regime and its allies are indiscriminately killing on a breathtaking scale. Torture, rape, chemical weapons, barrel bombs, forced starvation. The Syrian regime is targeting civilians, and millions are suffering," he said. “The world cannot look away. The Obama administration can’t dance around the question."