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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

ACN urges politicians to recognise Daesh’s actions as genocide

Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need has welcomed the intervention of US Secretary of State John Kerry and supported Lord Alton’s on-going campaign to force the UK Government to declare Daesh atrocities a genocide against faith minorities.

At the same time, the charity has reiterated its own calls for world governments to recognise the attempted annihilation of Christians, Yahzidis and other minorities by Daesh and other extremist groups as genocide.

ACN’s executive President Johannes Heereman said: “Death is not the only condition which justifies the term genocide, the UN Convention (for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide) states that the declared intention to destroy in whole or in part an ethnic, cultural, racial or religious group means that the act of the perpetrator is genocide.

“One does not have to – and indeed should not – wait until nobody is left to tell the story in order to call it genocide.”

ACN project partner Maronite Bishop Antoine Chbeir of Latakia, Syria concurred with the charity’s assessment.

He said: “There is no need to create new terms to describe what is happening to us. All acts of genocide are crimes against humanity but not vice versa.

“And [if a situation is declared to be a genocide] the UN has clearly prescribed actions to follow with its members that do not necessarily include sending soldiers on the ground”.

The recognition of the attacks on Christians and other religious minorities as genocide – which has a technical meaning in international law – means that there is an obligation to help the victims.

According to the UN Convention, the international community has a duty to stop unfolding genocides by protecting its victims and punishing those perpetrating the crimes.

Photo: Melkite Archbishop Jean Abdou Arbach holding an icon from Yabroud vandalised by extremists in Syria. © Aid to the Church in Need.

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