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Last week, ISIS militants killed 16 people, including four Catholic nuns, at a retirement home in southern Yemen. These Christian missionaries were simply caring for the poorest of the poor, but that meant nothing to ISIS. This is the latest in a string of brutal attacks committed by ISIS against Christian and other minorities. Yet the administration still has not called this what it is: A genocide.

Next week will mark a congressionally mandated deadline requiring the Obama administration to make a determination regarding whether ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are guilty of genocide or mass atrocities. This follows the administration’s failure to comply with a separate deadline to submit a clear strategy to defeat ISIS.

Pressure is mounting on the administration to call the heinous crimes of ISIS and Assad what they are—genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The House will make it clear exactly where the American people stand on this issue with votes on two bills next week:

  • First is Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s (R-NE) H. Con. Res 75, which designates ISIS’s persecution and mass murder of minorities in Iraq and Syria as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This bill specifically highlights the terrorist organization’s atrocities against Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka’e, and Kurds.
  • Secondly, H. Con. Res 121, offered by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), condemns Assad’s brutal human rights violations against his own people as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

These bipartisan resolutions were unanimously approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this month. Passing these measures will send an unequivocal message that ISIS and Assad’s targeted assaults on religious and ethnic minorities constitute genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

As Speaker Ryan explained last week, “The Obama administration is still not ready to say that ISIS and the Assad regime are committing crimes against humanity. We are. We are ready to say this. We need to recognize these atrocities with clear eyes. And we need to continue to pray for the persecuted.”

Excerpt from H.R. 2029: