Declare Killing Of Christians As Genocide, Michael Sukkar says

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Coalition frontbencher Michael Sukkar
Coalition frontbencher Michael Sukkar

Coalition frontbencher, Michael Sukkar will push the government to formally recognise the Islamic State massacre of Christians in Iraq and Syria as genocide.

Mr Sukkar will call for a ­Coalition-sponsored motion to be put before parliament when it ­returns in May.

The bid to build consensus on the issue comes after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was approached last year by an ISIS survivor for the government to adopt a genocide declaration against the terrorist group.

Labor’s Treasury spokesman, Chris Bowen, last year put a ­motion to parliament to recognise the ethnic and religious “cleansing” of Christians by ISIS but it was never put to debate. Mr Sukkar, a Lebanese Christian and MP for Deakin, has now called for the government to put its own motion to the house, following the Scottish parliament’s recognition last week of the mass killings as “genocide”.

“The persecution and attempted genocide of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East has been occurring for ­centuries,” Mr Sukkar told The Australian. “It has now reached its zenith with the bloodthirsty and barbaric Daesh (ISIS) attempting to wipe all Christians and Yazidis from the Middle East.

‘‘Sadly, the silence has been deafening from large parts of the Western media and political class to these atrocities.”

Ms Bishop is still to consider a request from the Yazidi community for the Australian government to recognise ISIS as having ­engaged in genocide. The Yazidi suffered one of the worst single mass killings at the hands of ISIS when in 2014, 5000 were slaughtered at Mount Sinjar.

The Australian two weeks ago documented the case of the Yazidi in Iraq and Syria, many of whom are being brought to Australia under the government’s Syrian and Iraqi humanitarian settlement program.

Nadia Murad, a Yazidi who ­escaped ISIS and is now the UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, asked Ms Bishop late last year to promote their cause.

“Prime Minister (Malcolm) Turnbull and minister Julie Bishop listened to my story last year and they know what our women, men and children have been facing,” she toldThe Australian. “I again ask them to recognise ISIS crimes as genocide and to support an international process to hold perpetrators accountable.”

Mr Bowen’s motion last May, which is still sitting on the notice papers, recognised the “religious and cultural cleansing of the ­Assyrian people by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the systematic killings of Assyrian people and destruction of ancient Assyrian cities, churches and artefacts”. It also declared: “ISIL’s treatment of the Assyrian people is a gross violation of human rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The Australian Christian Lobby repeated its call to recognise the ISIS genocide of Christians. The British parliament and US congress had passed similar motions, ACL managing director Lyle Shelton said.

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