Fortenberry Questions Kerry on Genocide in Middle East

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) made the case for recognizing ISIL’s genocide against Christians, Yezidis, and other vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East during an exchange with Secretary of State John Kerry at a hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.

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“A growing coalition is urging the world to recognize that ISIL is committing genocide against Christians, Yezidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities,” Fortenberry said. “While Secretary of State John Kerry has not yet reached that conclusion, I was grateful for his willingness to openly engage in a thoughtful dialogue on this gravely important matter. I hope the State Department makes a comprehensive and inclusive genocide designation soon.”

Following his testimony, Fortenberry raised concerns about the need to issue a comprehensive genocide designation that encompasses all of the communities facing brutal persecution in the region.

Fortenberry introduced H. Con. Res. 75 in September 2015. The resolution’s 199 bipartisan cosponsors in the House have joined the European Parliament, Pope Francis, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and presidential candidates including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Marco Rubio, among many others, who hope to aid an ecumenical alliance in the face of ISIL’s horrific onslaught.

Fortenberry serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. He is co-chair of the Religious Minorities of the Middle East Caucus and represents America’s largest Yezidi community.