This evening, the House of Representatives are scheduled to vote on a bipartisan resolution that declares Islamic State crimes against religious minorities and Christians as genocide.
The vote is scheduled just three days before Secretary of State John Kerry must deliver the administration’s view on the issue to fulfill a requirement outlined by the omnibus spending bill.
The resolution was unanimously approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 2nd, who agreed that “those who commit or support atrocities against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities, including Yezidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka’e and Kurds, and who target them specifically for ethnic or religious reasons, are committing, and are hereby declared to be committing, ‘war crimes,’ ‘crimes against humanity,’ and ‘genocide.’”
The resolution was sponsored by Representatives Jeff Fortenberry and Anna Eshoo and lists “mass murder, crucifixions, beheadings, rape, torture, enslavement, the kidnapping of children” as the atrocities committed by ISIS.
Last year, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Robert George pushed the State Department to prioritize Syrian refugee applicants who fled Syria out of fear of religious persecution. George stated that these minorities were being targeted by ISIS for persecution and genocide “because of their faith.”
Also on the table this evening is a vote on a resolution that discusses the “gross violation of international law amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity” by the Assad regime in Syria. This resolution asks Obama to establish a war crimes tribunal to seek justice for these crimes.