Monday, December 19, 2016

Dáil failure to condemn genocide against Christians ‘outrageous’

Image result for bishop john mcareaveyBishop John McAreavey has described as “outrageous” the failure of Irish politicians to condemn the persecution of Christians on an equal footing with other groups in the Middle East.

On December 9, notice was given by the Oireachtas of a proposed amendment to a Dáil motion which seeks to have all parties in the chamber condemn the brutal activities of so-called-Islamic State (ISIS) against the Yazidi minority community in Iraq.

Format

In its original format, there is no mention of Christians under persecution in the same country by ISIS. An amended motion does add that the Dáil “notes” that Christians and other religious minorities “in Iraq and Syria will be exterminated or forced to migrate solely for their religion by the ‘Islamic State’.

It goes on to note that “Christians, Yazidi and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria have been murdered, subjugated, and suffered grievous bodily and psychological harm, including sexual enslavement and abuse, inflicted in a deliberate and calculated manner.”

Reacting to the amendment, Bishop McAreavey told The Irish Catholic it would be “disappointing if Dáil Eireann could only ‘note’ what happens to Christians in Syria and Iraq rather than raise its voice in solidarity, protest or even sorrow at the systematic suffering and breach  of human rights of Christians in the Middle East and other countries.”

Describing the scope of the motion as “narrow and very weak”, Bishop McAreavey added: “We don’t look for privilege for Christians, we just ask western governments to express solidarity with Christian communities all across the world that are subjected to persecution and discrimination at so many different levels. It is outrageous that the Dáil cannot raise its voice on this.”

Tellingly in the latest version of the Dáil motion, the document  “notes that the British Parliament and the European Parliament have passed motions recognising that ISIS have committed genocide against the Yazidis”, but fails to add that in both cases, Christians were also included and on an equal footing with the Yazidi community. 

Similarly, the US Congress in March included Christians alongside Yazidis as suffering genocide at the hands of ISIS. 

Where the Dáil motion mentions genocide, it is only to ‘note’ that “genocide is a crime under international law that shall be punished, whether committed by ‘constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals’ as provided by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”.

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