LONDON–More than 60 members of the British parliament have sent a letter to the prime minister urging that the killing of minorities by the Islamic State should be recognized as genocide.
They urge David Cameron to use his influence to reach an agreement with the UN that the term genocide be used.
This would send the message that those responsible would be caught, tried and punished, the letter adds.
IS has been systematically killing minority groups including Iraqi and Syrian Christians and Yazidis, it said.
The letter, written by Parliament members Rob Flello and Lord Alton, said there was clear evidence of IS assassinations of church leaders, mass murders, torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria and “the sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women”.
It also said the group was carrying out “forcible conversions to Islam”, the destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts, and theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy.
The letter said: “This is not simply a matter of semantics.
“There would be two main benefits from the acceptance by the UN that genocide is being perpetrated.
“First, it would send a very clear message to those organizing and undertaking this slaughter that at some point in the future they will be held accountable by the international community for their actions; they will be caught, tried and punished.
“Second, it would encourage the 127 nations that are signatories to the Convention to face up to their duty to take the necessary action to ‘prevent and punish’ the perpetrators of these evil acts.”