Yesterday the State Department released its 2016 International Religious Freedom Annual Report (full text). In remarks on the Report, Secretary of Sate Tillerson highlighted concerns about religious liberty in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain, China, Pakistan and Sudan. Importantly, Tillerson also emphasized the State Department’s conclusion that ISIS is engaged in genocide as well as in crimes against humanity:As we make progress in defeating ISIS and denying them their caliphate, their terrorist members have and continue to target multiple religions and ethnic groups for rape, kidnapping, enslavement, and even death.To remove any ambiguity from previous statements or reports by the State Department, the crime of genocide requires three elements: specific acts with specific intent to destroy in whole or in part specific people, members of national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups. Specific act, specific intent, specific people.Application of the law to the facts at hand leads to the conclusion ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims in areas it controls or has controlled.ISIS is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities. More recently, ISIS has claimed responsibility for attacks on Christian pilgrims and churches in Egypt.The protection of these groups – and others subject to violent extremism – is a human rights priority for the Trump administration.We will continue working with our regional partners to protect religious minority communities from terrorist attacks and to preserve their cultural heritage.The full report surveys the state of religious freedom in some 195 countries around the world.



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