LONDON — The United Kingdom Parliament voted unanimously to condemn the treatment by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) for Yazidis and Christians amounted to genocide and refer the issue to the UN Security Council.
The House of Commons voted by 278 votes to 0, with backing from all major parties, despite official Government opposition. The Foreign Office directed ministers and Government aides to abstain from the vote.
The Government has said that genocide is a legal term not to be used without legal authority. The motion calls on the government to refer the matter to the UN Security Council with a view to involving the International Criminal Court, to bring ISIS leaders to justice.
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, declared last month that ISIS was committing genocide. He had previously resisted such calls, but came under pressure after a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives.
In her speech, Fiona Bruce, the MP who proposed the motion, said: “never before during a genocide has the international community had such a full record of what was happening”.
ISIS has carried out a fierce campaign of murder, violence and repression against Christians and the Yazidi ethnic and religious minority after they seized large swaths of northern Iraq and Syria.
According to the Guardian, the United States, the European parliament and the Council of Europe have all declared the terror group’s treatment of the Yazidi community as genocide, but the UK Foreign Office legal department has a long-standing policy dating back to the passage of the genocide convention in 1948 of refusing to give a legal description to potential war crimes.