Within days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry promised to analyze the proper label for the actions of ISIS against Christians in the Middle East, President Barack Obama's administration has officially stated that the targeted violence in the region cannot be considered as genocide. According to a statement from the White House, the incidents in the area have not yet reached a certain point to be categorized as such.
For months now, various U.S. officials and international organizations have been calling on the government to call the persecution of Christians in the Middle East as genocide. As stated in a report issued by the United Nations Committee on Human Rights in 2015, ISIS' operations in Iraq and Syria mainly target civilians based on their religious beliefs. Due to the targeted actions against a specific religious group, the UNCHR regarded the violence in the region as a form of genocide or ethnic cleansing, Tru News reported.
Earlier this week, U.S. diplomat Kerry was grilled during a Congress meeting at Capitol Hill regarding the matter and what the White House plans to do about it, according to Yahoo News. Although Kerry acknowledge the issue and condemned the activities of ISIS, he also noted that the classification of the extremist group's actions is still subject for review.
Days after the meeting, a spokesperson from the White House released a statement regarding the issue and clarified that the persecution going on in the Middle East is not genocide.
"My understanding is the use of that word involves a very specific legal determination that has at this point not been reached," White House representative Josh Earnest said during a press briefing.
"We have long expressed our concerns with the tendency of - well, not a tendency - a tactic employed by ISIL to slaughter religious minorities in Iraq and in Syria," he added.
Despite the government's refusal to label the situation as genocide, Earnest maintained that the White House is aware of the current state of religious groups in the area. He noted that the administration knows that Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in the Middle East are being targeted by ISIS fighters which is why it has employed several operations, such as airstrikes, to create a path for escape and rescue for the victims, according to CNS News.