Text: H.Con.Res.75 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (03/15/2016)

[Congressional Bills 114th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 75 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

  2d Session
H. CON. RES. 75



                             March 15, 2016

      Received and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

  Expressing the sense of Congress that the atrocities perpetrated by 
ISIL against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria include 
           war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Whereas Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities have been an 
        integral part of the cultural fabric of the Middle East for millennia;
Whereas the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and associated 
        extremists are committing egregious atrocities against ethnic and 
        religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, including Christians 


(including Assyrian Chaldean Syriac, Armenian, and Melkite communities, 
among others), Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabak, Sabaean-Mandeans, and Kaka`i, 
among others;

Whereas ISIL specifically targets these religious and ethnic minorities, 
        intending to kill them or force their submission, conversion, or 
Whereas religious and ethnic minorities have been murdered, subjugated, forced 
        to emigrate, and subjected to grievous bodily and psychological harm, 
        kidnapping, human trafficking, torture, and rape;
Whereas ISIL engages in, and publicly argues in favor of, the sexual enslavement 
        of non-Muslim women, including pre-pubescent girls;
Whereas ISIL atrocities against Christians, Yezidis, and other minorities have 
        included mass murder, crucifixions, beheadings, rape, torture, 
        enslavement, the kidnaping of children, and other violence deliberately 
        calculated to eliminate their communities from the so-called Islamic 
Whereas ISIL has deliberately destroyed and looted numerous cultural sites, 
        religious shrines, churches, monasteries, and museums in order to 
        eradicate the cultures of ethnic and religious minorities from the 
        territory it attempts to control;
Whereas these atrocities have been undertaken with the specific intent to bring 
        about the eradication of those communities and the destruction of their 
        cultural heritage;
Whereas ISIL operations have in fact driven minority religious and ethnic 
        communities from their ancestral homelands;
Whereas under applicable international law referenced in section 2441 of Title 
        18 of the United States Code, murder, torture, mutilation, rape, cruel 
        treatment, and hostage-taking of non-combatants constitute war crimes;
Whereas crimes against humanity, as defined by the International Military 
        Tribunal convened at Nuremberg in 1945, and in various international 
        instruments since then, include murder, extermination, enslavement, 
        deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian 
        population, as well as persecution on political, racial, or religious 
        grounds in connection with such crimes;
Whereas the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the 
        Crime of Genocide, signed and ratified by the United States, defines 
        genocide as ``any of the following acts committed with the intent to 
        destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious 
        group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious 
        bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately 
        inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its 
        physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended 
        to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children 
        of the group to another group'';
Whereas on August 7, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that ``ISIL's 
        campaign of terror against the innocent, including Yezidi and Christian 
        minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the 
        warning signs and hallmarks of genocide'';
Whereas in August 2014, the United States conducted targeted airstrikes and 
        humanitarian assistance operations to help break the siege of Mount 
        Sinjar, saving the lives of thousands of Yezidi men, women, and 
Whereas His Holiness, Pope Francis, has noted that ``entire communities, 
        especially--but not only--Christians and Yezidis have suffered and are 
        still suffering inhuman violence because of their ethnic and religious 
        identity'' and that, for Christians being killed for their faith in the 
        Middle East, ``a form of genocide--I insist on the word--is taking 
        place, and it must end'';
Whereas a March 13, 2015, report by the Office of the United Nations High 
        Commissioner for Human Rights detailed ``acts of violence perpetrated 
        [by ISIL] against civilians because of their affiliation or perceived 
        affiliation to an ethnic or religious group'' and stated that ``[i]t is 
        reasonable to conclude that some of these incidents, considering the 
        overall information, may constitute genocide'';
Whereas in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 13, 2015, 
        Dominican Sister Diana Momeka, whose convent was driven from Mosul, 
        Iraq, described the ISIL offensive as ``cultural and human genocide'' 
        and stated that today ``[t]he only Christians that remain in the Plain 
        of Nineveh are those who are held as hostages'';
Whereas in December 2015, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Simon-
        Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide issued a report focused on 
        the treatment of minorities in Nineveh from June to August 2014, which 
        found that ISIL had ``targeted civilians based on group identity, 
        committing mass atrocities to control, expel, and exterminate ethnic and 
        religious minorities'' and, in that context, ``committed crimes against 
        humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing against [Christian, Yezidi, 
        Turkmen, Shabak, Sabaean-Mandean, and Kaka'i] communities in Nineva'' 
        and ``perpetrated genocide against the Yezidi people'';
Whereas on December 7, 2015, the United States Commission on International 
        Religious Freedom called on the United States Government ``to designate 
        the Christian, Yezidi, Shi'a, Turkmen, and Shabak communities of Iraq 
        and Syria as victims of genocide by ISIL'' and urged world leaders ``to 
        condemn the genocidal actions and crimes against humanity of ISIL that 
        have been directed at these groups and other ethnic and religious 
Whereas on February 3, 2016, the European Parliament expressed the view that 
        ISIL ``is committing genocide against Christians and Yezidis, and other 
        religious and ethnic minorities'';
Whereas Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's violence against the Syrian people 
        has attracted foreign fighters from around the world, who have supported 
        and committed ISIL atrocities; and
Whereas according to some estimates, the conflict among all parties to the 
        Syrian civil war has killed 470,000 and displaced 11 million people: 
        Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), 
            (1) the atrocities perpetrated by ISIL against Christians, 
        Yezidis, and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and 
        Syria constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and 
            (2) all governments, including the United States, and 
        international organizations, including the United Nations and 
        the Office of the Secretary-General, should call ISIL 
        atrocities by their rightful names: war crimes, crimes against 
        humanity, and genocide;
            (3) the member states of the United Nations should 
        coordinate urgently on measures to prevent further war crimes, 
        crimes against humanity, and genocide in Iraq and Syria, and to 
        punish those responsible for these ongoing crimes, including by 
        the collection and preservation of evidence and, if necessary, 
        the establishment and operation of appropriate tribunals;
            (4) the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Lebanese Republic, 
        the Republic of Turkey, and the Kurdistan Regional Government 
        in Iraq are to be commended for, and supported in, their 
        efforts to shelter and protect those fleeing the violence of 
        ISIL and other combatants until they can safely return to their 
        homes in Iraq and Syria; and
            (5) the protracted Syrian civil war and the indiscriminate 
        violence of the Assad regime have contributed to the growth of 
        ISIL and will continue to do so as long as this conflict 

            Passed the House of Representatives March 14, 2016.


                                                 KAREN L. HAAS,


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