STAND Canada Executive Director, Scott Fenwick, issued a statement today regarding the recent admission in parliament by Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion that ISIS has committed genocide against Yazidis. This admission comes just days after the government rejected a motion proposed by the official opposition to recognize ISIS’s actions as genocide. You can find the UNHCHR report cited by Minister Dion here:
Last Thursday, a United Nations human rights panel reported that Islamic State is committing genocide against Yazidis, confirming what many observers reported for months: IS is seeking to destroy the ethno-religious group through killing,sexual slavery, enslavement, torture, degrading treatment, and forcible transfer.
Because of this report, the Government of Canada has reversed its previous position from earlier in the week, confirming that IS’s actions constitute genocide. While this is a step in the right direction for our government, we will continue to strongly recommend that the response to suspected genocide should be similar in urgency to proven genocide. To constructively move forward, our government must not stop acknowledging the existence of genocide, but must find different ways to stop such acts from continuing and take steps to prevent it in the future.
As I stated last week, STAND Canada is concerned that Global Affairs Canada is reporting no “operational” humanitarian assistance operations in Syria. In light of the government’s recent statements, this fact is puzzling and requires explanation. Canada also needs to look beyond its current approach of military training and airstrikes to stop IS. The Government of Canada must take a greater role in being a global leader in genocide prevention, and take a clear, decisive position that brings together action, reason and direction.
As a youth-led anti-genocide advocacy organization, STAND Canada continues to work towards a world without genocide. Our mission is not easy, but every action taken to address the serious human rights abuses that are taking place in Iraq and Syria brings us closer to realizing that goal.