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Recognizing a Genocide

When will it be Canada’s turn?

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is rejoicing at the announcement made this morning by US Secretary of State John Kerry, to the effect that the repeated attacks against members of religious minorities in Iraq and in Syria such as the Yezidis, Shiites and Christians constitutes the genocide of these segments of the population.

The declaration, which is non-binding, follows the unanimous adoption this past Monday of a resolution in the same vein, by the House of Representatives.

“Clearly, I think it is extremely positive that another State has reacted and that this will rapidly create a ripple effect,” declares national director Marie-Claude Lalonde of Aid to the Church in Need Canada, an international charity supporting over 6,000 projects  around the world – many of which are in Syria and Iraq.

“When will it be Canada’s turn?” she adds and specifying that “If the government of Canada recognizes this genocide, we are convinced that many countries will follow in its footsteps, even if this recognition is non-binding.”

Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of the Canadian office of Aid to the Church in Need (©Archdiocese of Montreal)
Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of the Canadian office of Aid to the Church in Need (©Archdiocese of Montreal)

She concludes saying “I hope our country will also recognize what our partners on the ground have been repeating for years, that is: the Islamic State is committing genocide.”

We remember that this past February Mrs. Lalonde sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, asking that his government recognize that the situation being lived by Christians and other the minorities in Iraq and in Syria is in fact a genocide.

The national director gave the example of the European Parliament who, on January 27, adopted a resolution recognizing the situation.  Along with its pastoral work in support of the most impoverished local Churches in the world, Aid to the Church in Need has worked for many years to provide information on the subject of religious persecution which Christians in many parts of the globe have fallen victim to.  The most recent report of Persecuted and Forgotten? 2013-2015 gives the example of 20 countries or so where religious freedom is extremely fragile, if not practically inexistent.

In 2015, the support for Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) to local Churches in Iraq rose to over 15 million dollars. The aid numbered more than 8 million dollars for Syria, not taking into account aid already provided in countries where Christians have taken refuge such as in Lebanon, Jordan and in Turkey.


 

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