The European Parliament has passed a resolution recognising the Islamic State’s killing of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East as genocide.
The vote by MEPs represents the first time that the body has acknowledged an ongoing conflict as genocide.
Lars Adaktusson, the Swedish MEP who tabled the resolution, called the vote a “historic decision”.
He told Newsweek: “It’s really important that the Parliament passed it, on a political level and a moral level. The significance is the obligations that follow by such a recognition,” he says, speaking to Newsweek by phone. “The collective obligation to intervene, to stop these atrocities and to stop the persecution in the ongoing discussion about the fight against the Islamic State.
“It gives the victims of the atrocities a chance to get their human dignity restored. It’s also a historical confirmation that the European Parliament recognised what is going on and that they are suffering from the most despicable crime in the world, namely genocide,” he said.
The resolution may pave the way for Britain and the US State Department to give similar recognition to ISIS’s slaughter of Christians. A motion to that effect has been tabled in the House of Commons.
The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, an advisory body made up of national MPs, recognised the ISIS killings as genocide last week.
Read Lord Alton’s cover story on why Cameron must recognise the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East as genocide.