The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has adopted a resolution qualifying the actions of ISIS against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East as genocide. The resolution “Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq” states that ISIS “has perpetrated acts of genocide and other serious crimes punishable under international law.”

Genocide is considered the most heinous of crimes in international law. According to the UN Genocide Convention of 1948, the term refers to specifics acts committed with the intent to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” The PACE resolution was drafted in response to the persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East by Muslim terrorist gangs. The number of Christians has dropped from 1.25 million to 500,000 in Syria and from 1.4 million to under 275,000 in Iraq in just a few years.

The resolution, unequivocally condemning the actions of ISIS as genocide, was passed by 117-1 votes. Such clear support for the persecuted Christians and other minorities in the Middle East stands in stark contrast to the disappointingly vague statement of Ms Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, addressing the European Parliament last week. Despite calls from more than forty Members of the European Parliament, the High Representative avoided using the appropriate word: genocide.

Next week on 4 February 2016 the European Parliament will also vote on a resolution on the plight of Christians in the Middle East.