It appears that the U.S. State Department is removing the term ‘genocide’ from correspondence, speeches, and other documents when referring to ISIS’ treatment of Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities. While no official position has been released, spokesmen have said they would look into the matter. Removing the term genocide could make it difficult for laws like HR 390, a bill designed to help survivors of genocide, to pass because the U.S. government would no longer see Christians, Yazidis, etc. as victims of genocide. If true, this would be a set-back in providing aid to vulnerable religious minorities who have suffered under ISIS’ rule.
07/26/2017 Iraq (AINA) – The State Department’s top lawyers are systematically removing the word “genocide” to describe the Islamic State’s mass slaughter of Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria from speeches before they are delivered and other official documents, according to human rights activists and attorneys familiar with the policies.
Additionally, Democratic senators are delaying confirmation of Mark Green, Trump’s pick to head the U.S. Agency for International Development who has broad bipartisan support.
These efforts guarantee that Obama-era policies that worked to exclude Iraq’s Christian and other minority religious populations from key U.S. aid programs remain in place, the activists said.
Richard Visek, who was appointed by President Obama as head the State Department’s Office of Legal Adviser in October 2016, is behind the decision to remove the word “genocide” from official documents, according to Nina Shea, an international human rights lawyer who directs the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.
“I don’t think for a minute it’s a bureaucratic decision–it’s ideological,” said Shea, who also spent 12 years as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, or CIRF, from 1999 to 2012.
A State Department spokesman on Monday said he would look into the matter and respond.
The latest moves from the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser appear aimed at rolling back then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s March 2016 genocide determination. Kerry’s much-anticipated genocide designation came after months of equivocation and detailed documentation by interested parties that the Islamic State is responsible for genocide against Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.