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Senator Lankford Statement on State Department’s Recognition of Genocide in Middle East

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today made the following statement on the Obama Administration’s decision to officially recognize that ISIL has committed genocide, as required by Congress:

“Today, State Department Secretary John Kerry finally announced that ISIL is responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing of Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. The Secretary was right to note that ISIL kills Christians because they are Christians; Yezidis because they are Yezidis; and Shia because they are Shia. While the recognition of these horrific crimes is important, we must not lose focus of the need to protect the fundamental right to religious freedom as a source of stability for all people around the world. America must lead the world in calling out human rights abuses wherever they exist. Much more needs to be done, but calling genocide genocide is a step in the right direction.”

Secretary Kerry’s announcement comes on the day the State Department was directed to submit a report to Congress regarding whether the persecution of religious groups in the Middle East constitutes genocide.