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David Cameron urged to recognise ISIS slaughter of Christians as genocide

An Iraqi Christian refugee girl holds a souvenir of the Holy Family as a boy looks on at a church in Hazmiyeh, near Beirut (CNS/Reuters)

The killing of Christians and other minority groups in the Middle East should be recognised as genocide, more than 60 parlimentarians have demanded in a letter to the Prime Minister.

The letter, written by Catholics Rob Flello MP and cross-bench peer Lord Alton, urges David Cameron to push for an an agreement with the UN that ISIS’s atrocities should be described as genocide.

According to the BBC, the letter said there is evidence that ISIS has murdered Church leaders, carried out torture and mass killings and is responsible for the “the sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women”.

It added that the terrorists are carrying out “forcible conversions to Islam” and destroying churches, monasteries and Christian artefacts.

“This is not simply a matter of semantics,” the letter said.

“There would be two main benefits from the acceptance by the UN that genocide is being perpetrated.

“First, it would send a very clear message to those organising and undertaking this slaughter that at some point in the future they will be held accountable by the international community for their actions; they will be caught, tried and punished.

“Second, it would encourage the 127 nations that are signatories to the Convention to face up to their duty to take the necessary action to ‘prevent and punish’ the perpetrators of these evil acts.”

ISIS has been been systematically slaughtering minorities including Iraqi and Syrian Christians and Yazidis, the letter added.

In October, the British government agreed to consider if the slaughter and expulsion of Christians from the Middle East by Islamist terrorists constitutes genocide, but said it was reluctant to use the term.

Speaking at the time, Lord Alton said that the killing of Christians in Syria was a “genocide that dares not speak its name”.