Today, US government officials announced that the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) has committed genocide against Yezidi, Christian, and Shia Muslim populations in areas under its control across Syria and Iraq. This is the first time in more than a decade that the United States has declared genocide.
The State Department’s announcement comes after the Museum published a report from our trip to Iraq, which documented IS’s violent campaign against religious and ethnic minorities. Bearing witness to atrocities is a central part of our institution’s mandate to be the voice that European Jews did not have during the Holocaust.
Learn more about this historic announcement and the Museum’s critical work to confront genocide.
In Iraq, we heard harrowing accounts of displacement, forced conversion, rape, torture, kidnapping, and murder. We found that IS and affiliated groups forced more than 800,000 men, women, and children from their homes and deliberately destroyed mosques, shrines, temples, and churches.
Today’s declaration and the Museum’s Bearing Witness Trip report should serve as a call to action to protect and defend at-risk populations from crimes that IS continues to perpetrate today.
Watch this short video to find out more.
Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide
Photo: Young displaced Iraqis wait for food distribution at a camp on the outskirts of Erbil. Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum