Monday, March 28, 2016

No genocide, says Britain

In Iraq, Christians, who totalled 1.4 million, are down to about 30,000. In Syria, where there were 1.25 million Christians, figures are down to about 500,000. 

Pictures may no longer appear regularly in the newspapers, who have other themes to take their interest. But the rape and the butchery at the hands of ISIS continue. Even children are crucified and beheaded. One Iraqi Christian woman reported last week how she saw her husband crucified on their front door.

Last month the European Union decided unanimously that the persecution of Christians by ISIS in Syria was genocide - an attempt to exterminate an entire group of people. Two weeks ago the US House of Representatives voted by 393 to nil to call on the Obama administration to declare ISIS guilty of genocide.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has described ISIS actions as genocide. (Although  President Obama has not yet managed to do the same.)

A UN decision that ISIS activities constituted genocide would demand action from signatories to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and require prosecution of perpetrators when hostilities were over.

Last week Lord David Alton proposed an amendment to the Immigration Bill in the House of Lords which would have led to a High Court ruling on whether ISIS' actions amounted to genocide. The decision would have had implications on priority for asylum seekers.

The Lords voted against the amendment 148 to 111. The Government is said to have imposed a whip on Conservative peers to vote against the amendment. Lord Carlile described Labour's refusal to support the amendment as "supine" and "chickening out." 

"Surely parliaments such as this should recognise the suffering of victims of genocide, and not merely by wringing our hands with rhetoric about those victims. Where else have they to turn to if not to parliaments and governments such as ours?"

Many of the Lords were said to be furious over lack of support for the amendment. 

Lord Alton said  "This was a day when Britain neither salved its conscience or offered practical help, but chose to look the other way. When historians come to consider the lamentable failure of both Parliament and Government to speak and act they will surely conclude that we failed to recognise the crime above all crimes."

A Home Office spokesman said the amendment would have created a dangerous loophole. The presumption of status could have made it more difficult to exclude those that were a threat to our communities.

Pray for Christians who are still suffering in the Middle East. Please sign Barnabas Fund's petition for the genocide of Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq to be recognised. You will find it here.    

No comments: