Experts on genocide: ‘Now is the time to act’
Feb 18, Brussels: ADF International co-sponsored an event Wednesday at the European Parliament in Brussels, where members were invited to meet with experts on international criminal law and eyewitnesses to the ongoing genocide in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS, also known as Da’esh.
“Now is the time to act,” said Sophia Kuby, director of EU advocacy for ADF International. “Officially describing the atrocities committed by ISIS as genocide is only the first step. We need determined action at the United Nations Security Council, including a referral to the International Criminal Court.”
Following a historic resolution adopted by the European Parliament highlighting the plight of Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq, the presentation attracted significant attention amongst MEPs and representatives of civil society. More than 80 people and over 15 members of Parliament were present when Swedish MEP Lars Adaktusson gave his introductory remarks, explaining that “we have to do everything in our power to stop the extinction of all those in Syria and Iraq who don’t agree with Da’esh.”
Dr. Gregory Stanton, president of Genocide Watch and research professor in genocide studies and prevention at George Mason University, gave his opinion on the plight of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, saying that “when the dialogue shifted and started using the word ‘genocide’ in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo, the international community was willing to act firmly to stop it. If the term is applied here, it means that we have a very strong case to take to the International Criminal Court. We have a strong duty to act, because we don’t want to be asked some years from now: Why did you abandon us?
The Syrian bishop of Latakia, His Excellency Antoine Chbeir, gave an account of the situation, deploring that “scattered throughout the entire country, the Christians have no land, no military force, no help. We need peace; we need to stop this war now. Christians continue to be witnesses of hope, but they lack the necessary things to live,” he said.
Father Douglas Yousif Al-Bazi, a priest with the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq, who was himself taken hostage by Islamic groups in 2006 and lives in Erbil today, witnessed that “in one single day, 125,000 people were displaced; four dioceses disappeared over night. They lost everything in one day. My people are dying. How much longer does the international community want to wait to recognize what happens as genocide? We are not looking for land; we are looking for a future.”
Dr. Simon Najm, a surgeon who has set up micro clinics along the Turkish-Syrian border, urged the international community to recognize the “daily terror of Christians who are given three choices by ISIS: convert to Islam, flee, or die. Europe has a pivotal role to play to end this conflict. If it doesn’t, Europe will be the first to suffer.”
The Oslo Times