Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom following the United States State Department declaration of Genocide for Christians, Yazidis, Shiite Muslims and other minorities in the Middle East
17 March 2016
We have received very welcomed but unexpected news today from the United States of America, through Secretary of State John Kerry, acknowledging that ISIS “is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims”.
This announcement has come after individuals and organisations in the United States, some of which I have personally worked with, have advocated tirelessly to shed light on this important issue of human suffering and the violation of human dignity.
Through this recognition, an important precedent has been set demonstrating that the international community has real concern for those who have suffered and continue to suffer under these conditions, and that we will work together to ensure, to the best of our ability, that these atrocities are not repeated. This also sends a very clear message to all those suffering: Yazidis, Christians, Shia and others, that we not only feel their pain, but that we stand together to recognise their suffering and support them in whatever way we can.
This is a significant step, that follows the European Union recognition of Genocide, that I hope will encourage Her Majesty’s Government to also recognise these unacceptable acts of Genocide against vulnerable communities in the Middle East.
Today is a day of thanksgiving; a day on which we recognise those who have worked tirelessly on this issue, and a day in which we remember those who continue to suffer. It is also a day in which we recognise the sanctity and dignity of God-given human life, and that the violation of either of these is a violation against us all.