Lawmakers press for Christians to be included in ISIS genocide designation

Lawmakers press for Christians to be included in ISIS genocide designation
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A bipartisan group of 30 lawmakers is urging the Obama administration to include Christians in any official designation of genocide it may make against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“We are gravely concerned by persistent press reports that the administration is preparing a genocide finding that would apply only to Yazidis, and may avoid judgment about whether ISIL is also committing genocide against Christians and the other minorities it is eliminating,” the lawmakers, led by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), wrote in a letter to Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerrySchumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence Trump threatens Iran with increased sanctions after country exceeds uranium enrichment cap The 'invisible primary' has begun MORE dated Wednesday.


The administration is reportedly close to labeling ISIS’s slaughter of Yazidis genocide, with Assistant Secretary of State Anne Paterson telling the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month that “there will be some announcements on that very shortly.”

The genocide designation is a rare move that would have legal implications for doing more to protect the religious group.

The designation, though, will reportedly not include Christians, who are also a target of ISIS.

Critics have said the administration is not doing enough to protect Christians from ISIS, including admitting few Christian Syrians as refugees to the United States.

On Thursday, presidential candidate Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLiberal think tank: GOP paid parental leave proposals are too narrow GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist House passes bills to boost small business cybersecurity MORE (R-Fla.) also called for more aid for persecuted Christians.

In their letter, the lawmakers highlight that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) included Christians in its call for a designation of genocide.

“USCIRF calls on the U.S. government to designate the Christian, Yazidi, Shi’a, Turkmen and Shabak communities of Iraq and Syria as victims of genocide by” ISIS, the commission said in a statement earlier this month.

The lawmakers argued that only including Yazidis in a genocide designation would discount the violence faced by other minorities.

“At the hands of ISIL, Christians and other minorities have faced mass murder, crucifixions, sexual slavery, torture, beheadings, the kidnapping of children and other violence deliberately calculated to eliminate their communities from the so-called Islamic State,” they wrote, using an alternate acronym for the group.

Because an official designation of genocide is rare, the lawmakers said Congress should be involved in the process.

“An official genocide determination by the administration is a rare and weighty occasion — one that should include thorough consultation with Congress,” they wrote. “As members of Congress, we will continue to insist that any genocide finding must reflect the actual experience of all minorities whose communities are being erased and whose families are being slaughtered because of their faith.”

In addition to Royce, the letter was signed by Republican Reps. Chris Smith (N.J.), Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryHouse Appropriations passes defense bill that would limit funds for border wall, pull US support from Yemen war Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Nearly 40 percent of species worldwide face extinction — unless we reverse wildlife crisis MORE (Neb.), Dave Trott (Mich.), Michael McCaul (Texas), Randy WeberRandall (Randy) Keith WeberCurrent, former lawmakers celebrate release of new book on Jack Brooks, 'The Meanest Man in Congress' House passes bill expressing support for NATO Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall MORE (Texas), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Sean DuffySean Patrick DuffyKeep our elections free and fair Fox News contributor Campos-Duffy compares abortion to slavery Carson on HUD eviction plan: 'You take care of your own first' MORE (Wis.), Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresOvernight Energy: GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new bill | House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill | Park Service chief grilled over shutdown House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill Seven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter MORE (Texas), Luke Messer (Ind.), John Shimkus (Ill.), Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (Ariz.), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Peter King (N.Y.), Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Andy BarrAndy Hale BarrMcConnell's Democratic challenger says she likely would have voted for Kavanaugh On The Money: Fed chief hints strongly at rate cut | Powell lays out 'serious concerns' over Facebook crypto project | Trump official to investigate French tech tax | Acosta defends Epstein deal Fed chief strongly hints at July rate cut in House testimony MORE (Ky.), Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtHouse advances B agriculture bill Dems advance bill defying Trump State Department cuts Maryland raises legal tobacco purchasing age to 21 MORE (Ala.), Dave Brat (Va.), David Joyce (Ohio) and Ander Crenshaw (Fla.), and Democratic Reps. Juan Vargas (Calif.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (Calif.), Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSanders praises Gen Z for being 'profoundly anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic' Next Generation foreign policy: Time for the Democrats to embrace restraint 3 reasons billionaire activist Tom Steyer is running for president MORE (Hawaii), Doris Matsui (Calif.), Bill Keating (Mass.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Sam FarrSamuel (Sam) Sharon FarrMedical marijuana supporters hopeful about government funding bill Marijuana advocates to give away free joints on Capitol Hill DEA decision against reclassifying marijuana ignores public opinion MORE (Calif.), Mike Honda (Calif.) and Steve Cohen (Tenn.).