Last week, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed a resolution calling on the U.S. State Department to declare the violence against Christians and other religious groups in the Middle East as genocide. However, as the number of organizations urging the government to come up with a proper label continue to rise, the deadline to call the situation as genocide is also getting nearer.
As part of condition of an omnibus bill regarding the actions against religious groups in the Middle East, which was passed in December of last year, the government only has until March 17 to formally declare the crimes as genocide, Yahoo reported.
Republican Representative Ed Royce from California, one of the supporters of the movement, stressed that the State Department must act right away in order to do something about the ongoing persecution in Middle East.
"ISIS commits mass murder, beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture, enslavement, and the kidnapping of children, among other atrocities," he said according to Catholic News Agency.
"So as ISIS destroys churches and other holy sites, they move closer towards eliminating certain communities," Royce added. "ISIS is guilty of genocide and it is time we speak the truth about their atrocities. I hope the administration and the world will do the same, before it's too late."
As explained by Nina Shea, the head of the Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute, formally declaring the situation in the Middle East as genocide is very significant because it would legally compel international governing bodies to employ various actions to help victims in the region.
These actions, however, are not restricted to military operations. Instead, it could involve the increase in humanitarian aid as well as granting victims of genocide with refugee status.
While the European Parliament passed a resolution declaring Islamic State violence against Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities, genocide, the U.S. government still has not acknowledged that genocide is really happening.
If the United States government recognizes the acts of ISIS as genocide, it could put additional pressure on the United Nations Security Council to also consider it as such. If this happens, then those suspected of committing genocide can be brought before an international court.
In late February, Secretary of State John Kerry said he will review the case regarding the declaration of genocide in the Middle East. However, last week, a representative from the White House said that the situation in the region has not yet reached a specific point to be called as genocide, RT reported.
In an email send on Saturday, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey urge their fans to take action.
"As many of you are aware, the Islamic State has been killing, enslaving and torturing Christians and other religious minorities in ways that are reminiscent of 1930's Germany. Hundreds of churches have been destroyed, over two million Christians have been displaced, their children enslaved, and many Christians murdered (including by crucifixion)," they wrote. "This must stop. We must raise our voice."
Despite the fact that both Democrat and Republican presidential candidates, numerous members of congress, international leaders and the E.U. have already done so, Sec. Kerry has been reluctant to make this important decision, wrote the Hollywood power couple.
The couple urges Kerry to declare it a genocide and promised to support his decision should he do so. In a serious decision, they have chosen to lend their names to a petition to urge the State Department to name the threat against Christians - and other religious minorities - in the Middle East as "genocide."
Click here to sign the petition and encourage others to do the same: