U.S. Confirms Crimes Committed by ISIS are Genocide

Assembly Urges Obama Administration to Affirm Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that ISIS (Daesh) is “responsible for genocide,” against groups in Syria and Iraq, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. The recognition was prompted by H.Con.Res.75, which includes Armenians as one of the Christian groups persecuted by ISIS.

“We know that in areas under its control, Daesh has made a systematic effort to destroy the cultural heritage of ancient communities آ­- destroying Armenian, Syrian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches…” Kerry stated.

In his statement, Kerry also invoked one of the criteria of genocide as defined by the 1948 UN Convention.  "One element of genocide is the intent to destroy an ethnic or religious group, in whole or in part. We know that Daesh has given some of its victims a choice between abandoning their faith or being killed, and that for many is a choice between one kind of death and another,“ Kerry said.

"Confronted with harrowing reports of similar crimes and atrocities, U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau in 1915 alerted the State Department and the world to the horrors taking place in the Ottoman Empire, stating that a ‘campaign of race extermination’ was underway against the Armenian people, and urged action to stop the slaughter,” observed Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

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“Today, Secretary Kerry responded to the unspeakable crimes carried out by ISIS.  ‘Naming these crimes is important. But what is essential is to stop them,’ Kerry stated. His statement recalls Morgenthau’s warning and the need to act. As President Obama has said, ‘America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides.’ We therefore call upon the Obama administration to also unequivocally affirm the Armenian Genocide,” Ardouny continued.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) stated today: “This morning, Secretary Kerry declared ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and religious minorities…now that our government is recognizing this crisis, it needs to do more to stop it. I hope the president will seize this opportunity to present a very clear strategy to defeat this enemy.”

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Earlier this week, the Assembly welcomed passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of H.Con.Res.75, a resolution condemning ISIS atrocities and stated in part: “Whereas the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and associated extremists are committing egregious atrocities against ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, including Christians (including Assyrian Chaldean Syriac, Armenian, and Melkite communities, among others), Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabak, Sabaean Mandeans, and Kaka’i, among others.”

Click here to watch the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement on March 17, 2016.

Click here to watch the live footage of H.Con.Res.75 on the House Floor on March 14, 2016.

Photo Caption 1 (L-R): U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau and Secretary of State John Kerry

Photo Caption 2: Father Yeprem Kelegian, Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian discussed importance of H.Con.Res. 75 with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)

About Armenian Assembly of America

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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