British Member of Parliament, Nadhim Zahawi, recently wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron on behalf of the Kurdish Genocide Task Force (KGTF) urging the British Government to recognise the genocidal acts perpetrated by ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Mr Zahawi has welcomed the Prime Minister’s response and commitment to explore all options to tackle the threat posed by ISIL and to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice.
Given the United Kingdom’s Presidency of the United Nations Security Council during August 2014, and its influential role on the Human Rights Council, Mr Zahawi sought to highlight the role the British Government could play in ensuring that all of the necessary steps are taken to end, prosecute and punish the commission of acts of genocide and crimes against humanity by ISIL.
On the 1st September, the Human Rights Council met in a special session that focused on the human rights situation in Iraq, in light of the abuses committed by ISIL. A resolution mandating the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to despatch an urgent mission to investigate and report on ISIL abuses was passed by consensus with strong UK influence and backing.
British Prime Minister, the Right Honourable David Cameron MP, wrote: “I welcome the work of the Task Force to draw attention to the terrible crimes that have been committed against the Kurds in recent decades. It is tragic that similarly brutal crimes continue to be perpetrated today by ISIL against both the Kurds and other minority groups.”
“ISIL’s actions in Iraq and Syria are simply barbaric. […] I have been clear that we must use all of the resources at our disposal to tackle them. That includes considering all options on how those responsible for crimes and abuses can be held to account.”
Mr Zahawi commented: “The Kurdish Genocide Task Force has worked extremely hard over the past three years to gain recognition for the acts of genocide that took place against the Iraqi Kurds over recent decades, and it is heart breaking to see minority groups throughout Iraq under threat of genocide from the brutality of ISIL.
It is extremely encouraging to see the Prime Minister’s support for our work and the British Government’s commitment to tackling the threat posed by ISIL and bringing those responsible for their crimes to justice.
The UK has a long held position as a protector of liberty and human rights across the world; we need to be clear that those who commit horrendous and appalling acts will not be immune to justice.”
The letter was also welcomed by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s High Representative to the UK, Ms Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman. Ms Rahman commented: “The British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s very helpful letter to Nadhim Zahawi provides important support for the work of the UK-based Kurdish Genocide Task Force, which unites activists, academics, legal figures, Kurds and Britons and people from other countries in the common cause of seeking recognition of the genocide against the Kurds and justice for them.
Mr Cameron’s active backing for an urgent UN Human Rights Council mission to investigate the brutal crimes of Isil against the Kurdish Yezedis, Assyrian Christians and others is very welcome and reflects the good standing of the UK as a guardian of democracy and human rights. The KRG will co-operate fully with this mission.
We are seeing terrible crimes being committed by ISIL but they will not be immune from justice forever. It is of the utmost urgency that evidence is collected now to enable a better chance of prosecuting Isil leaders, activists, enablers and financiers involved in genocide, rape and slaughter. That in turn makes it more credible for the international community in the future not to turn a blind eye to such awful crimes and for potential perpetrators to understand that there will be a reckoning and they will have to pay for their inhumanity.
It is crucial that we all support the Kurdish city of Kobane in Syria and prevent it from falling to Isil who will rape, pillage and murder those there. I congratulate our good friend Nadhim Zahawi on his diligence in securing such commitments from the British Prime Minister.”
Notes to Editors:
• The Kurdish Genocide Task Force was established in London in 2011 with the aim of gaining recognition for acts of genocide that took place against Iraqi Kurds.
• The KGTF is comprised of independent experts and British parliamentarians.
• Nadhim Zahawi MP is a member of the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Iraq.