By: Emily Conley
A father of six children taken in by a Lebanese Archbishop said, "My house is burned down... I'm left with nothing... May God forgive them for they don't know what they are doing."
A 16-year-old boy reported being arrested by government forces in March 2012 and detained with 20 other children. They were then “beaten with metal bars, their fingernails were pulled out and their fingers were cut; or they were beaten with a hammer in the back, sometimes until death.”
These are just a couple of the many examples of the targeted persecution Christians face in Syria from the hands of ISIS/Daesh and other extremist groups that prompted ADF International to file a report for the 26th session of the Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations in Geneva. The report calls for Syria to respond to the evidence of the genocide of Christians (and other religious minorities), protect the right to life of all, and prosecute unlawful killings and executions.
“Syria must prioritize its obligation to uphold freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and go after the perpetrators of genocide on its territory,” said Ewelina Ochab, ADF International legal counsel, who drafted the report.
The Syrian Government has “failed to take the necessary measures to prevent these atrocities,” states the ADF International report. The report highlights contradictions in the Syrian Constitution and outlines the steps necessary to protect all of its citizens. Syria is number 4 on the 2015 World Watch List, which ranks the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
Where to begin? Start by calling it what it is: genocide.
According to the ADF International report, the evidence abounds of assassinations, mass murders, torture, kidnappings, sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women, forcible conversion to Islam, the destruction of churches, monasteries and cemeteries, and the theft of land and wealth. As a result of the extermination campaign against Christians and Yazidis in Syria, their population has decreased dramatically.
“To date, no adequate steps have been taken to respond to the situation of Christians in Syria. In order to change the situation, the international community first must recognize the persecution of Christians as genocide and not as unrelated single events of persecution or discrimination. Once the genocide is recognized, the international community will be better positioned to come to the aid of persecuted minorities by way of international cooperation.”
ADF International also submitted detailed reports on the following countries: South Sudan, Moldova, Haiti, Lithuania, Iceland, Togo, and Uganda.
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