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Moment of Truth for ISIS Genocide Survivors

03-17-2017
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One year after then-Secretary of State John Kerry designated the actions of ISIS as genocide, a growing number of Middle Eastern and American Christians say they're concerned that little has been done to stop it from continuing.

The Trump administration has pledged to help persecuted Christians and Yazidis. But critics say so far the administration is all talk and no action.

The Hudson Institute's Nina Shea, a longtime religious freedom advocate says "the next six months will be the moment of truth" for the ancient Christian and Yazidi genocide survivors in northern Iraq.

Shea says the defeat of ISIS in Mosul and Ninevah Province is not enough and "…these genocide survivors need more help and protection if they are to survive."

Shea says testimony before Congress last September showed that no U.N. or U.S. State Department USAID-administered humanitarian aid for Christians and Yazidis has gone to the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese since 2014. Only Christian charities and others have assisted the church in providing help for displaced people in Iraqi Kurdistan.

And one year later, the Jubilee Campaign reports Christians in northern Syria are also expressing concerns. They say one way the Trump administration can protect them from further acts of genocide is to prevent jihadists backed by Turkey from joining the fight against ISIS in Raqqa. 

Raqqa is the Islamic State capital city in northern Syria. American troops and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces are massing nearby in preparation for a possible military offensive there this spring.

The Syriac Christians of North Syria say if the Turkish jihadists become part of the Raqqa campaign "they would become an equal threat like ISIS to our men and women."

The Christians claim the Turkish-backed rebels have "explicitly stated they want Christians removed from Syria."

The creation of safe zones in Syria and Iraq is one option for support by President Trump. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently talked about that when he responded to a question asked by CBN News White House Correspondent Jennifer Wishon. 

Watch the video of Spicer's remarks at the top of this story.

Today, on the one-year genocide designation anniversary, U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R- Okla., urged the president to take steps to "address this atrocity through advocacy for religious freedom, the provision of humanitarian aid, the pursuit of justice against perpetrators, and assistance with economic revitalization."

Lankford says the genocide victims can also be helped by "prioritizing the nomination of the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom within the State Department."

However, CBN News has learned that the religious freedom ambassador nomination may not come quickly. Sources say the president may wait until at least summer to make an appointment—after a deputy Secretary of State is appointed and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

 

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