A reporter, citing the atrocities and murders in Iraq and Syria, asked White House spokesperson Josh Earnest Thursday, “Why won’t the Obama administration call this genocide, Christian genocide?”
Earnest responded that the term genocide has “legal ramifications.”
“There are lawyers considering whether or not that term can be properly applied in this scenario,” Earnest said. “What is clear and what is undeniable and what the president has now said twice in the last 24 hours is that we know that there are religious minorities in Iraq and in Syria, including Christians, that are being targeted by ISIL terrorists because of their religion and that attack on religious minorities is an attack on all people of faith and it is important for all of us to stand up and speak out about it.”
The reporter followed up, “The distinction of genocide provides people persecuted with the ability to come to the United States seeking refuge. When will this happen?”
Earnest said the lawyers will sort it out.
“This is an open question and one that continues to be considered by administration lawyers,” Earnest said. “I can tell you that the president was quite blunt in talking about the responsibility that all people of faith have in standing up for individuals who are targeted for their faith, particularly religious minorities and particularly the people who are marginalized because of their minority status based on the religion they practice.”
Earnest added that the Islamic State has also targeted Yazidis and Shia Muslims.
“This administration has worked hard to try to protect religious minorities who are being victimized by ISIL. There is no doubt that Christians are among those who have been and are being targeted,” Earnest said. “As it relates to the specific use of this word — the decision to apply this term to this situation is an important one, it has significant consequences and it matters for a whole variety of reasons both legal and moral. But it doesn’t change our response. The fact is that this administration has been aggressive even though that term has not been applied in trying to protect religious minorities who are victims or potential victims of violence.”
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260. The convention entered into force on 12 January 1951.
It defines genocide in legal terms, and is the culmination of years of campaigning by lawyer Raphael Lemkin. All participating countries are advised to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and in peacetime. The number of states that have ratified the convention is currently 147.
Under the Convention, Article 2, any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
It’s hard to imagine how Christians wouldn’t fit under this definition but Obama seems intent on not recognizing the possibility of genocide against Christians.
Obama’s frequent refrain is ISIL is killing more Muslims.
In 2001, Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in The Atlantic that “[a] determination of genocide turns not on the numbers killed, which is always difficult to ascertain at a time of crisis, but on the perpetrators’ intent.”
Then why does Obama refuse to label these killings of Christians as genocide? In December, the State Department shared its plans to designate only Yazidis as victims of genocide.
We now have our answer – it’s up to the lawyers and more Muslims are being killed. Obama has probably asked his lawyers how he can label the Yazidi massacre as genocide without labeling the Christian massacre the same way.
Barack Obama has been out beating the pavement this week telling people to respect all faiths. He gave his speeches in a terror-tied Mosque, from the White House and at the National Prayer Breakfast.