Having Islamic State’s crimes accepted as genocide by the Australian Parliament isn’t semantics. If passed, such a motion would increase the existing pressure on the international community to take stronger action to prevent further atrocities and punish the perpetrators.
No nation will be able to claim that what is happening in Iraq and Syria is not their concern. It will also mean that those guilty of committing these crimes may one day face justice in the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
According to the 1948 UN Convention, genocide is defined as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
There is clear evidence that genocide is being perpetrated by Islamic State (ISIS) against minority communities including Iraqi and Syrian Christians, Yazidis, and other vulnerable groups. This genocide includes:
- Assassinations of church leaders
- Mass murders
- Kidnapping for ransom
- Sexual enslavement and systematic rape of girls and women
- Forcible conversion to Islam
- Destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and religious artefacts
- Theft of lands and wealth from minority groups
ISIS has made its own public statements taking “credit” for mass murder of Christians and other minorities, and expressing its intent to eliminate Christian communities from the region.
We will collate all the responses received and present this to Australian House of Representatives. When the Australian Parliament sees the groundswell of support from their constituents, we’re confident they will then take up this case with the UN.
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