WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today welcomed President Donald Trump signing H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act.
WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today applauded the U.S. Congress’s unanimous vote to approve H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, which was introduced in 2017 by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
The next year will be a pivotal one in Iraq. The U.S.-led fight against ISIS has yielded significant success. The military battle to defeat ISIS, a group which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson affirmed was “clearly responsible for genocide,” has come to an end. In September 2017, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) held its independence referendum, which passed with 92 percent voting in favor. The implications of the referendum for Iraq’s religious minority communities, especially those living under KRG-controlled areas or in the Disputed Internal Boundaries, remain unclear.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) praises the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of H.R. 390, the “Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017.”
H.R. 390 would promote accountability for atrocities committed by ISIS and address the urgent humanitarian needs of persecuted religious and/or ethnic minorities targeted for genocide.
USCIRF's new groundbreaking report, the first of its kind to involve in-person interviews with representatives of almost all religious minority groups in the KRI, notes that "the KRI remains far more welcoming and tolerant to minorities than its regional neighbors" and expresses hope that special effort will be taken to "preserve [the] freedoms and rights" of minorities.