US denounces Boko Haram and ISIS 'genocide' of Christians, Shiites, Yazidis

The US government also expressed concern at the issue of religious repression in Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sudan.

Washington: The United States on Wednesday denounced the "genocide" carried out by the Islamic State group against Christians, Shiites and Yazidis, as the State Department unveiled its somber annual report on religious freedom around the world.

In its comprehensive look at the situation in more than 200 countries in 2015, the State Department singled out its usual bugbears on the issue of religious repression: ally Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sudan.

And as in previous years, the US government expressed concern at the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Europe, against a backdrop of the continent's migrant crisis and an uptick in jihadist attacks.

But the report denounced non-state actors like the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, and the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, which "continued to rank amongst the most egregious abusers of religious freedom in the world."

ISIS "continued to pursue a brutal strategy of what Secretary (John) Kerry judged to constitute genocide against Yazidis, Christians, Shiites, and other vulnerable groups in the territory it controlled," the State Department said.

Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who formally unveiled the report, recalled that Kerry in March "made clear his judgment that Daesh is responsible for genocide against religious communities in areas under its control."

Daesh is an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

"Daesh kills Yazidis because they are Yazidi, Christians because they are Christian, Shia Muslims because they are Shia," Blinken told reporters.

He also accused the Sunni jihadists, who control swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, of being "responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing."

Kerry and United Nations experts had previously used the term "genocide" – that has legal implications in the United States – to refer to crimes carried out by ISIS jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

In the two war-torn countries, jihadists were "responsible for barbarous acts, including killings, torture, enslavement and trafficking, rape and other sexual abuse against religious and ethnic minorities and Sunnis," the report said.

( Source : AFP )
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