In a historic vote, the House unanimously threw its support behind a resolution proclaiming Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians, Yazidis and other minorities.
GOP Rep. Jeff Fortenberry forwarded the resolution, which passed 393 to 0 Monday, sending a strong message to Secretary of State John Kerry who is set to make a determination on genocide Thursday.
For Fortenberry, putting aside partisan differences is a rare feat and should not be taken lightly.
“It is my sincere hope that this trans-partisan resolution will further compel the State Department to join the building international consensus in calling the horrific ISIS violence against Christians, Yezidis, and others by its proper name: ‘genocide,’” Fortenberry said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Other international organizations have declared ISIS is committing genocide against Christians, but the Obama administration has dragged its feet, mostly because an official finding of genocide carries far more weight than a mere House resolution. The last time the U.S. made an official determination of genocide was in 2004 in response to rampant massacres in Darfur, though even in that case a declaration did not legally obligate the U.S. to engage in any positive action under the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention. But with genocide in hand, there may at minimum be a referral to the Security Council to establish some sort of tribunal to prosecute any individuals involved.
Despite the fast approaching deadline, the Obama administration said not to expect anything by Thursday, as a legal review is still in development.
House Speaker Paul Ryan thrashed the Obama administration for delaying a determination.
The Knights of Columbus is one such example of an international organization that has released a detailed report showing 1,131 Christians in Iraq have been killed from 2003 to 2014. There are only 300,000 Christians left in Iraq and Syria. Many are looking to flee, despite long-standing roots stemming back 6,700 years.
Aside from international organizations, prominent individuals like Pope Francis have labeled the attacks as a brutal genocide. Even Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton flat-out said the systemic attacks perpetrated by ISIS against Christians and other minorities constitute genocide.
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