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Middle East: Minority Groups

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 24335, tabled on 26 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has received on the interpretation and implementation of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide in relation to the killings by Daesh of Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq; what response he has made to such representations; what steps he is taking to establish an international consensus on that issue; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

29 January 2016

Adama Dieng was appointed UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide on 17 July 2012. His role is to: raise awareness of the causes and dynamics of genocide; to alert relevant actors where there is a risk of genocide; and to advocate and mobilise for appropriate action. The Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect has made a number of statements in relation to the situation in Iraq and Syria. These statements can be found on the UN website, and cover a range of issues including: incitement to violence in Syria on religious grounds; expressing concern about the on-going threat to the safety of minority groups in Syria; and expressing alarm at reports of the abduction of 1,500 Yezidi, Christian and Shabak women and girls.

Any judgement on whether genocide has occurred is a matter for judicial decision, rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies. Our approach is to seek an end to all violations, and to prevent their further escalation, irrespective of whether these violations fit the definition of specific international crimes.

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