BRUSSELS — The European Parliament has passed a resolution recognizing the Islamic State’s killing of Christians and Yazidi minorities in the Middle East as genocide. The resolution passed by an overwhelming majority. Formal genocide recognition places legal obligations on all countries who are signatories to the genocide convention to take action.

According to a statement on the European Parliament website: MEPs reiterate their strong condemnation of ISIS/Daesh and its egregious human rights abuses, deliberately targeting Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Shi’ites, Shabak, Sabeans, Kaka’e and Sunnis who do not agree with their interpretation of Islam. These violations amount to “war crimes”, “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), they add.

The resolution, passed by show of hands, calls on the EU to establish a permanent Special Representative for Freedom of Religion and Belief and urges all countries in the international community to prevent war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide within their territory. All EU member states should update their legal and jurisdictional systems in order to prevent their nationals and citizens travelling to join ISIS/Daesh and other terrorist organizations and also ensure that, should they do so, they face criminal court proceedings as soon as possible, adds the text.

He told Newsweek: “It’s really important that the Parliament passed it, on a political level and a moral level. The significance is the obligations that follow by such a recognition,” he says, speaking to Newsweek by phone. “The collective obligation to intervene, to stop these atrocities and to stop the persecution in the ongoing discussion about the fight against the Islamic State.

“It gives the victims of the atrocities a chance to get their human dignity restored. It’s also a historical confirmation that the European Parliament recognized what is going on and that they are suffering from the most despicable crime in the world, namely genocide,” he said.

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