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ISIS Genocide of Religious Minorities: Has the US Fallen Asleep?


The chairman of a congressional panel that oversees global human rights says the Obama administration must develop a plan to stop ISIS from continuing to commit genocide against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities.

In March, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

"There is no easy, single solution to the threats to religious and ethnic minorities and other civilians in Iraq and Syria," Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., chairman of the Africa and Global Human Rights Subcommittee, said at a May 26 congressional hearing.

Others at the hearing noted the growing scope of the tragedy and the need for relief for genocide survivors.

Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, testified that "the world's greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II is unfolding now in the Middle East."  

"In addition to millions of refugees, many of the region's indigenous communities now face extinction. These communities may disappear in less than a decade," he warned.  

Anderson said that Iraqi and Syrian genocide survivors are not receiving U.S. and U.N. aid.  

"Repeatedly, we hear from church leaders in the region that Christians and other genocide survivors are last in line for assistance from governments," he testified.  

He encouraged the U.S. to establish internationally agreed upon standards of human rights and religious freedom as preconditions for humanitarian and military assistance.

David Crane, former chief prosecutor of the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone, called for the establishments of a truth commission, domestic court or an internationalized domestic court to "start an accountability mechanism for the region." He noted that the House passed a resolution in March calling for a war crimes tribunal.

Smith also blasted the Obama administration for not admitting any Christian Syrian refugees in May.  
According to CNSNews.com, the New Jersey lawmaker said it was "unconscionable" that of the record 499 Syrian refugees that the U.S. admitted in the first three weeks of May, not one was a Christian.  

State Department data shows that of the 499 admitted, 495 are Sunni Muslims and four are described as "Moslem."   

CNSNews.com also reports that of the 2,170 Syrian refugees that the U.S. welcomed in the 2016 fiscal year, 97 percent were Sunni Muslims.  The other 3 percent included Shia Muslims, other Muslims, 10 Yazidis and one refugee described as "other religion."

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