Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry took the important step of calling the attacks by ISIS against the Yazidis, Christians and other minorities a genocide.
This didn’t just happen. Thousands of our supporters sent Secretary Kerry messages. Members of Congress acted. Other human rights groups joined in support. And we won – thank you!
Declaring these attacks for what they are – genocide – is an important step. The truth matters.
But what happens next is more important. Calling these attacks genocide means we should be doing more to protect these innocent men, women and children who are being targeted because of the god they pray to. We must act to hold those responsible fully accountable. And at the very least, we must be taking action now to accept more of these refugees who are literally running for their lives.
It is a bitter irony that while the House of Representatives just voted to declare ISIS’s attacks a genocide, they are also bringing to the House floor a measure to shut our borders to these same refugees who are fleeing a genocide.
This year, the U.S. has accepted less than 1,000 Syrian refugees. Meanwhile our neighbor to the North, Canada, met its emergency goal, accepting 25,000 refugees in the last four months. The Administration must do more to resettle refugees – and Congress should stop blocking attempts to help the people who have survived these horrendous attacks.
The United States and the international community must also commit the humanitarian aid that is desperately needed and accelerate diplomatic efforts to move from a ceasefire to an end to the fighting that has made Syria a living hell.
Finally, we must hold the perpetrators of these atrocities accountable. The United States should urge the United Nations Security Council to ensure full investigation and accountability of these crimes by referring the case of ISIS to the International Criminal Court.
We’ve seen the shocking aerial footage of bombed out cities in Syria, the haunting images of people starving under siege and of men, women and children who are risking their lives at sea to flee the deadly attacks. Thanks to you and others these attacks now have a name.
Now our charge is clear: we need to act to protect innocent civilians suffering these genocidal attacks.