The atrocities committed by Daesh against Christians and other minorities, as well as the majority Muslim population in Iraq and Syria must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Britain has been at the forefront of efforts to rally wider international support against Daesh. Work with international partners must continue both to assist the victims and bring those responsible to justice.
It is, however, a long-standing Government policy that any judgements on whether genocide has occurred are a matter for the international judicial system rather than legislatures, governments or other non-judicial bodies. The UK’s approach is to seek an end to all violations of International Humanitarian Law, and to prevent their further escalation, irrespective of whether these violations fit the definition of specific international crimes. That said, I am pleased that there has been discussion in the House of Commons about whether these acts constitute a genocide against Christians.
Ultimately, the best way of preventing future atrocities against Christians is to defeat Daesh and its violent ideology. That’s why the UK is playing a leading role in a Global Coalition of 66 countries and international organisations to respond to Daesh’s inhumanity. The Coalition is attacking Daesh militarily, squeezing its finances, disrupting the flow of fighters, challenging its poisonous ideology and working to stabilise areas liberated from Daesh.
Britain is using its aid budget to alleviate the immediate humanitarian suffering. The Prime Minister recently announced that the UK would double its commitment and has now pledged a total of over £2.3 billion, the UK’s largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis. The funding is providing support, such as food, medical care and relief items, to over a million people including Christians affected by the fighting in Syria and refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.