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house Bill H. Con. Res. 75

Does the U.S. Need to Call ISIS Atrocities Against Ethnic and Religious Minorities "Genocide"?

Argument in favor

ISIS is carrying out a campaign of terror against ethnic and religious minorities in Syria and Iraq in an attempt to eliminate them from the region. That’s the definition of genocide, and Congress should call it what it is to mobilize a response.

BTSundra's Opinion
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03/11/2016
As ISIS is specifically targeting groups for death to eliminate them, yes.
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GrumpyMSgt's Opinion
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03/11/2016
Yes, PC Politicians need to acknowledge yet another fine attribute of the "Religion of Peace" along with throwing gays off rooftops, beheading infidels, mutilating women, raping children, stoning, burning people in cages, and finally, honor killings. Like the President says, "A great religion woven in the fabric of American History." I guess I missed the picture of Martha Washington, or Abigail Adams in a burka.
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Sid's Opinion
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03/12/2016
I think we should call it "Radical Islamic Terrorism" as well as "genocide" and wipe them from the face of the earth.
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Argument opposed

It would be a mistake for Congress to call these atrocities “genocide” and “war crimes” while the State Department will be soon be completing an investigation into whether the situation meets the definition of genocide.

Dinnerandamurder's Opinion
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03/15/2016
It obviously is genocide, but it's not Congress's place to make that call. This is an International matter and Congress is meant to legislate domestically. They are not the State Department or the executive branch, despite how much they try to act like it. Do your job of getting America back on track and stop holding up every bill that comes through that wasn't written by a republican!
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Steven's Opinion
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03/14/2016
There's a lot to unpack here. Congress is the IS legislative branch. So being our countries voice in the international community falls to the executive branch. So this is not their lane in the road. So an attempt to weigh in on this is an attempt to make themselves relevant in a situation where they are not. Next, if this bill passes do they (Congress) imagine that the rest of the civilized world will go out and take up arms against ISIS because of a US Congressional declaration? Countries with the resources and interest to take up arms against ISIS have done so. Those that haven't for whatever reason money, politics or disinterest, haven't. Will Congress branding them war criminals change this? No, so get your collective heads out your @$$'s and worry about your lane in the road, namely what's going on in this country and leave foreign affairs to the Executive branch like the Constitution says.
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David's Opinion
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03/16/2016
Another intrusion by Congress into foreign policy -- the Constitutional Provence of the Executive. And another waste of time. Shouldn't Congress more fruitfully use their time to fund fixing our infrastructure?
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What is House Bill H. Con. Res. 75?

This resolution would declare that those who are committing atrocities against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities in Syria and Iraq are committing “war crimes”, “crimes against humanity”, and “genocide”. Among the ethnic and religious groups that have been targeted by the so-called Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) include Yezidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka’e, and Kurds.

The resolution calls for the United Nations (U.N.) and the Secretary-General to call the atrocities war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. It also reminds all 147 countries that have ratified the Genocide Convention of their obligations under that treaty, especially the governments of countries and their citizens that are in anyway supporting these crimes. Further, it adds that the member states of the U.N. should collaborate with Arab states that want to uphold religious freedom to prevent further war crimes and genocide, while also establishing tribunals to punish those responsible.

The governments of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Lebanese Republic, and other countries are commended by this resolution for having provided shelter and protection to those fleeing extremist violence.

Additionally, this resolution calls for the prosecution of those who force religious communities to flee from their ancestral homelands in the Nineveh Plain and Mount Sinjar under local and international law.

As a concurrent resolution, this legislation could be taken up by the Senate after being passed in the House, but it wouldn't have the force of law if approved by both chambers.

Impact

Those committing atrocities against ethnic and religious minorities in Syria and Iraq; minority groups in that region including Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka’e, and Kurds; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H. Con. Res. 75

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) introduced this bill to promptly recognize that ethnic and religious minorities in Syria and Iraq are the target of an ongoing genocide in the hopes of mobilizing an international response:

“Christianity in the Middle East is shattered. The ancient faith tradition lies beaten, broken, and dying. Yet Christians in Iraq and Syria are hanging on in the face of the Islamic State’s barbarous onslaught. This is genocide. The international community must confront the scandalous silence about their plight. Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities have every right to remain in the ancestral homelands.”

This legislation was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee by unanimous consent in March 2016. It currently has the bipartisan support of 202 cosponsors in the House — including 141 Republicans and 62 Democrats.


Of Note: The U.N. Genocide Convention defines genocide as the following:

“Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, 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.”

The decision of whether to designate a situation as “genocide” can be a politically contentious decision. The federal government doesn’t formally recognize the Armenian genocide due to its relations with the government of Turkey, although 43 U.S. states and 23 countries have called it genocide.

During the Clinton administration, the U.S. was slow to respond to the Rwandan Genocide as it developed and as many as one million people were killed in the span of several months. Former President Clinton has expressed deep regret over his failure to mobilize a timely intervention, estimating that doing so may have saved at least 300,000 lives.

Thus far, the Obama administration has declined to call the situation facing ethnic and religious minorities in Syria and Iraq a genocide. However, the State Department will be deciding on March 17, 2016 if the targeting of those groups by ISIS meets the legal definition of genocide. The State Department was required to consider designating the situation as a genocide by a provision in the December 2015 omnibus appropriations bill that give the agency 90 days to make a determination.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user DFID - UK Department for International Development)

Official Title

Expressing the sense of Congress that the atrocities perpetrated by ISIL against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria include war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

concurrent resolution Progress


  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house Passed March 14th, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 393 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedSeptember 9th, 2015

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    As ISIS is specifically targeting groups for death to eliminate them, yes.
    Like (42)
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    It obviously is genocide, but it's not Congress's place to make that call. This is an International matter and Congress is meant to legislate domestically. They are not the State Department or the executive branch, despite how much they try to act like it. Do your job of getting America back on track and stop holding up every bill that comes through that wasn't written by a republican!
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes, PC Politicians need to acknowledge yet another fine attribute of the "Religion of Peace" along with throwing gays off rooftops, beheading infidels, mutilating women, raping children, stoning, burning people in cages, and finally, honor killings. Like the President says, "A great religion woven in the fabric of American History." I guess I missed the picture of Martha Washington, or Abigail Adams in a burka.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    There's a lot to unpack here. Congress is the IS legislative branch. So being our countries voice in the international community falls to the executive branch. So this is not their lane in the road. So an attempt to weigh in on this is an attempt to make themselves relevant in a situation where they are not. Next, if this bill passes do they (Congress) imagine that the rest of the civilized world will go out and take up arms against ISIS because of a US Congressional declaration? Countries with the resources and interest to take up arms against ISIS have done so. Those that haven't for whatever reason money, politics or disinterest, haven't. Will Congress branding them war criminals change this? No, so get your collective heads out your @$$'s and worry about your lane in the road, namely what's going on in this country and leave foreign affairs to the Executive branch like the Constitution says.
    Like (11)
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    I think we should call it "Radical Islamic Terrorism" as well as "genocide" and wipe them from the face of the earth.
    Like (10)
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    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Do we really have to wait for the State Department to complete an investigation on a duck to call it a duck? What an absurd waste of my tax dollars and yours too.
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    The facts are indisputable that this is genocide. If American "representatives" are so mired in political correctness they refuse to clearly identify it as such, they are complicent .
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    ISIS is slaughtering innocent people of other religions. I think its ok to call this genocide.
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    They are killing, beheading, drowning, and much more.
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    Genocide, terrorism vest bombing are all atrocities!
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    ISIS has clearly declared that they are acting against Christians and Christianity itself. This is no longer a simple crusade of one religion against another, it is pure genocide.
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    Label them in whatever way justifies neutralizing/eliminating them. No more word games. Just take action now! They have given up their right to peacefully co-inhabit this planet, with life loving human beings. Track them down and kill them. No way to make it sound pretty.
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    Allen, where in the world does that have any relevance to this bill? Really, get a grip. That is what ISIS is doing and that is what we should call it when asked. Am so tired of PC hypocrites. They want to be PC on little insignificant issues but want to run and jam their head in the sand when it comes to big issues and significant events. Their excuse,"we don't want to offend anyone.". Think on this PC hypocrites. You offend people when you make extra effort not to offend people. Someone is always going to be offended. Do you GET IT?
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    It is obvious that that is what they are attempting to do. By not calling it that we are sugar coating things that ought not to be sugar coated.
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    Arbitrary!! Do you guys seriously waste your time like this?
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    Another intrusion by Congress into foreign policy -- the Constitutional Provence of the Executive. And another waste of time. Shouldn't Congress more fruitfully use their time to fund fixing our infrastructure?
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    We need to work together with the international community through the UN to promote human rights and end genocide.
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    Assyrian Christians and Yezidi minorities are being killed and eliminated from their homeland. This absolutely qualifies as Genocide, and needed to be recognized as such, a long time ago. Washington's snail like pace when acting on this has been disheartening.
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    There's no reason to wait for the State Department's bureaucracy to catch up with us; ISIS wants to eliminate all Christians, Kurds, and other religious and ethnic minorities of Iraq and Syria through murder if they refuse to convert to the Wahhabist Sunni faith. This fits the definition of genocide.
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    Or congress could stop trying to be the world police and take care of America
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