The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice commends Secretary of State John Kerry’s declaration that the Islamic State’s actions against Yezidi, Christian, and Shiite communities constitutes genocide. Coming just days after Congress passed a unanimous joint resolution condemning the Islamic State’s actions as genocide, it is encouraging to see our leaders joining together in a bi-partisan and ecumenical way to boldly call evil by its true name, and in so doing they are honoring basic human rights and justice.
As Secretary Kerry stated in his remarks today: “Naming these crimes is important. But what is essential is to stop them.” We hope that the message sent this week by the United States Congress and by the United States Department of State will not only raise awareness of the horrific crimes being committed in the Middle East today, but will lead to strong action to stop these atrocities.
Too often the world has failed to act when helpless minorities have faced the clear threat of genocide. We hope that this time will be different. We call on the world community to act to ensure that the Yazidi, Christian, and Shiite communities in Syria and Iraq are not only saved, but also restored in the wake of the devastating trauma that they have endured. Only by working together can we overcome the evil that ISIS represents.