STRASBOURG (SE): The Council of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe has given its support to a resolution of the European Parliament to label the persecution of religious minorities by the Islamic State as genocide.
The secretary of the conference, Father Partick Daly, said in a statement, “We warmly welcome this resolution of the European Parliament as a significant step forward in facilitating measures to prevent the on-going incipient genocide against Christians, Yazidis and other ethnic and religious minorities and communities across the Middle East.”
On January 20, the foreign policy minister of the parliament, Federica Mogherini, called on the international community to take action against what she described as a systematic massacre of religious minorities by the Islamic State.
The parliament used terminology from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, describing the persecution as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
On July 9 last year, Pope Francis also used the word genocide in describing systematic and lethal attacks on Christian communities, as well as other vulnerable groups in the Middle East.
“Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus,” the pope said.
He continued, saying, “This too needs to be denounced; in this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing as a form of genocide––I insist on the word––is taking place, and it must end.”
The European bishops called the fact that the parliament would make such a pronouncement a significant step, adding that it paves the way for the member nations to intervene.
The resolution has weight, as it has cross-party consensus. It expresses the ever widening concern for the gravity of persecution of minority groups.
The parliament also called for the appointment of a permanent representative for the freedom of religion.