Latest news > US State Department lawyers removing references to “genocide” against Christians

US State Department lawyers removing references to “genocide” against Christians


26 July 2017

A leading American newspaper has claimed that US State Department lawyers are systematically removing the word “genocide” from government material relating to the slaughter of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq. The Washington Free Beacon quoted Nina Shea, an international human rights lawyer who directs the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, as saying, “I don't think for a minute it's a bureaucratic decision—it's ideological."

They also quoted Shea, a former commissioner on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, as suggesting the policy was initiated by the new Head of the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser. This person was appointed by President Obama just three weeks before the US presidential election.

The Harry S. Truman Building, the headquarters of the US Department of State
The Harry S. Truman Building, the headquarters of the US Department of State

The newspaper suggested that this was the latest move by some factions within the US State Department to “roll back” the declaration of genocide that former US Secretary of State John Kerry made in March 2016. As Barnabas Fund argued at the time, failure by Western nations to take practical action to protect and help those facing genocide risks, repeats the mistakes made by the West in the 1930s and early 1940s when the Nazi attacks on the Jews were beginning. As we reported last month, there is at least a measure of cross-party support in the US Congress for ensuring that aid reaches Christians and others who were specifically targeted by Islamic State. It is vital that those who, for whatever reason, wish to block this, must not be allowed to succeed.