The UK House of Lords to Consider the Situation in Ethiopia

The following Private Notice Question will be considered later today:

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the war in the Ethiopian province of Tigray and what action it is taking to coordinate international action to prevent further conflict.  To be answered by Baroness Sugg (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office).

The Coalition for Genocide Response is deeply concerned at reports suggesting that atrocity crimes are underway in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

End of August 2020, Genocide Watch issued a genocide warning for Ethiopia ‘due to the government’s inaction to stop ethnically motivated violence between Oromo, Amhara, Tigrayan and Gedeo peoples.’
In October 2020, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, US Holocaust Memorial Museum warned about the high risk of further atrocities: ‘The multiple conflicts currently roiling Ethiopia and the willingness of antagonists to use violence against civilian populations indicates a risk of further atrocities. As more separatist actors and armed groups take advantage of unrest spreading to further regions of Ethiopia, state security could again target civilians. Leaders in the Tigray region have already defied the central government by conducting regional elections in advance of the delayed national elections, now slated for 2021. The armed youth-led mobs who targeted and killed Oromo and Amhara community members in July have not faced justice. Resentment directed at the Abiy administration from the Oromo opposition is only growing.’

On 20 November 2020, UNHCR reported that ‘the numbers of people fleeing Ethiopia’s Tigray region for eastern Sudan now exceed 33,000.’ (Read the full report here:

On 22 November 2020, The Sunday Telegraph warned that Ethiopia ‘may be on the edge of genocide.’ 

While the atrocities are yet to be analysed against the legal definition of genocide, the above reports are highly concerning.

The Coalition for Genocide Response would like to draw your attention to the duty to prevent genocide under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The International Court of Justice confirmed that ‘a State’s obligation to prevent, and the corresponding duty to act, arise at the instant that the State learns of, or should normally have learned of, the existence of a serious risk that genocide will be committed. From that moment onwards, if the State has available to it means likely to have a deterrent effect on those suspected of preparing genocide, or reasonably suspected of harbouring specific intent (dolus specialis), it is under a duty to make such use of these means as the circumstances permit.’ [emphsis added]

In order for the UK Government to fulfil its duties under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the UK must assess the risk of genocide and act upon.

In 2011, the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, in cooperation with the Office of the UN Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide developed the Compilation of Risk Factors and Legal Norms for the Prevention of Genocide (the Compilation). The Compilation identifies 22 risk factors specific to genocide under two sub-groups: 1) discrimination-related risk factors, and 2) risk factors related to violations of the right to life and personal integrity.

These should be used to help to assess the situation and inform the UK Government’s response.

The Question of Mass Atrocity Monitoring and Determination

There are, at least, two states which currently stand accused of playing a role in genocide against religious minority groups; Myanmar, where the military stands accused of perpetrating genocide against the Rohingya Muslims and China whose government is allegedly perpetrating genocide against the Uighur Muslims. In both cases, the allegations are disputed by their respective governments and it is correct to say that the allegations are yet to be proven. Such a (final) legal determination needs to be made by an independent tribunal. This may take years. Yet, in the meantime, the nature of the atrocities roam the grey space as states do little to make their interim determinations of genocide to inform their responses. The question is then how do states fulfil their duties under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to prevent and suppress genocide and punish the perpetrators. Specifically, how do states fulfil their duty to prevent that, according to the International Court of Justice, should be triggered ‘at the instant that the State learns of, or should normally have learned of, the existence of a serious risk that genocide will be committed.’ 

Speakers include: 

Lord Alton of Liverpool, Peer at the UK House of Lords, Patron of the Coalition for Genocide Response 

Nadine Maenza, Advocate for International Religious Freedom, USCIRF Commissioner

Aarif Abraham, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers 

Erin Farrell Rosenberg, Senior Advisor, Ferencz International Justice Initiative at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide

The Persecution Of The Uyghur Muslims In China – Where To Go To From Now? (Side event to the FoRB Ministerial)

On 16 November 2020, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Uyghurs and the Coalition for Genocide Response organised a webinar on the situation of Uyghurs and the needed responses.

Speakers included:

Alistair Carmichael MP, Member of the UK House of Commons, Co-chair of the APPG on Uyghurs

Lord Alton of Liverpool, Peer at the UK House of Lords, Patron of the Coalition for Genocide Response

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, British barrister and former prosecutor at the ICTY

Nury A. Turkel, American Attorney and USCIRF Commissioner

Erin Farrell Rosenberg, Senior Advisor, Ferencz International Justice Initiative at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide.

Watch it here:

Lord Alton And The Coalition For Genocide Response Mark The International Day Commemorating The Victims Of Acts Of Violence Based On Religion Or Belief

On 21 August 2020, Lord Alton and the Coalition for Genocide Response hosted a webinar to make the The International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief (22 August). Speakers included:

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK Minister of State (Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth) and Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

Ambassador Sam Brownback, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

Prof. Ahmed Shaheed, Prof. at Essex Law School and UN Special Rapporteur on FoRB

Prof. Mariz Tadros, Director of the Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID), Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

Nadine Maenza, Commissioner with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

See full video here:

Coalition For Genocide Response Joins Over 50 NGOs Calling For Action In Iraq

The Coalition for Genocide Response joins over 50 NGOs from around the world calling upon the Iraqi government to commemorate victims of violence based on religion or beliefs.

Joint NGO Statement on Iraq to Commemorate International Day for Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, 22 August 2020

On this day set aside to commemorate victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief around the world, we stand together as civil society actors to honour those who have been persecuted and killed in Iraq for their religion or beliefs. Since the 2003 US-led invasion, Iraq has suffered internecine conflict and state collapse, degrading a once rich cradle of ancient ethno-religions and cultures. The Christian population, including ethnic Assyrians,
which numbered around 1.5 million at the start of this century, has been reduced to a mere 200,000 today. Other minority communities such as Yazidis, Sabean-Mandaeans, Turkmen, Kak’ais, and Shabaks have faced existential threats in recent years.

ISIS exploited the concomitant deterioration of religious freedoms as part of their genocidal campaign against ethno-religious minorities across the Sinjar region and the Nineveh plains. The targeted violence sought to erase the presence of religious minorities in Iraq altogether, and particularly of the Yazidis, decried by ISIS as devil-worshippers. ISIS executed those who refused religious conversion, and destroyed countless shrines, churches, temples, and other cultural sites. The effects of religious discrimination against minorities are widespread and intergenerational, as many of the displaced are reluctant to return to their ancestral lands for fear of religious persecution. This situation is compounded by the presence of militia groups in the Sinjar region and Nineveh plains and failures to meaningfully address governance concerns.

We welcome the efforts already taken to safeguard religious freedom and to counter narratives of violent extremism in Iraq, such as the Interfaith Statement on the Victims of ISIL endorsed by religious leaders from the Christian, Sunni, Shia and Yazidi communities, and supported by the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) and the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. However, without justice and accountability for past atrocities, religious communities will continue to face persecution and the threat of repeated violence. Improving religious freedom is linked to holding perpetrators of genocide accountable, to providing secure conditions of return for minority communities, and to supporting those who have experienced the trauma of religious violence that drove them from their homeland.
We urge the Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government, the United Nations, and the wider international community to take the following steps:
1) To adopt legislation that ensures reparations for survivors and delivers justice for victims of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
2) To empower groups working towards social cohesion such as the Yazidi Survivor Network and the Iraq Religious Freedom Roundtable to advocate for their own interests.
3) To promote religious education across Iraq by means of cultural events and activities that inform the population about minority communities; integrate education about religious minorities in the Iraqi school curriculum to combat misinformation.
4) To implement innovative approaches to promote religious and cultural diversity, including community-based approaches using art and virtual reality technology, such as the Nobody’s Listening exhibition.
5) For UNITAD and the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect to facilitate a follow-up conference to broaden the endorsement for the Interfaith Statement by other religious communities. The international community should expand its support for the investigative activities of UNITAD.


  1. Aegis Trust (Rwanda/United Kingdom)
  2. Air Bridge Iraq – Luftbrücke Irak (Germany)
  3. AlRafidain Peace Organization (Iraq)
  4. American Islamic Congress (United States of America)
  5. Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (Australia)
  6. Assyrian Policy Institute (United States of America)
  7. AdvanceUSA (United States of America)
  8. Central Council of Yazidi in Germany – Zentralrats der Êzîden in Deutschland (Germany)
  9. Citizen Power Initiatives for China (United States of America)
  10. CSW (United Kingdom)
  11. Coalition for Genocide Response (United Kingdom)
  12. Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience (France)
  13. Défense sans frontière Avocats solidaires (France)
  14. European Interreligious Forum For Religious Freedom (France)
  15. Eyzidi Organization for Documentation (Iraq)
  16. Ezidis Worldwide – Eziden Weltweit e.V (Germany)
  17. Genocide Alert (Germany)
  18. Ghasin Alzaiton Organization for Youth (Iraq)
  19. Global Jothoor Foundation (United States of America)
  20. International Christian Foundation for Democracy (United States of America)
  21. International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (United States of America)
  22. International Dialogue Research and Awareness Centre (Pakistan)
  23. International Organization to Preserve Human Rights (United States of America)
  24. Institute for Global Engagement (United States of America)
  25. Iraq Religious Freedom Religious Roundtable (Iraq)
  26. Iraqi National Center for Counter Hatred (Iraq)
  27. Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights (Germany/Iraq)
  28. Jubilee Campaign (United States of America)
  29. Masarat (Iraq)
  30. Minority Rights Group International (United Kingdom)
  31. Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (Canada)
  32. Nadia’s Initiative (Iraq/United States of America)
  33. Nineveh Center for Minority Rights (Iraq)
  34. Nuhanovic Foundation (The Netherlands)
  35. Operation Hope (Australia)
  36. Panaga Organization for Education (Iraq)
  37. Project Abraham (Canada)
  38. RASHID International e.V.
  39. Refcemi (United Kingdom)
  40. Religious Freedom Coalition (United States of America)
  41. Religious Freedom Institute (United States of America)
  42. Roads of Success (United States of America)
  43. Shlomo Organization for Documentation (Iraq)
  44. Sunrise Organization for Civil Society Development (Iraq)
  45. TAJDID Iraq Foundation for Economic Development (Iraq)
  46. Trauma Treatment International (United Kingdom)
  47. World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (United States of America)
  48. Voice Of Ezidis (France)
  49. Yazda (Iraq/United States of America)
  50. Yazidi Legal Network (The Netherlands)
  51. Yezidi Emergency Support (United Kingdom)
  52. Youth Bridge Development Organization (Iraq)
  53. Zarok e. V. (Germany/Iraq)

“Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied – Daesh Fighters Still Enjoying Impunity Six Years On” Webinar

On 5 August 2020, we were honoured to host a distinguished panel of experts incl. Sareta Ashraph, Abid Shamdeen, Pieter Omtzigt and Lord Alton discussing the failures to prosecute Daesh fighters six years after they unleashed genocide. Watch the webinar here:

Six years after Daesh unleashed genocide in Iraq and Syria, survivors and the families of the victims are still waiting for justice being served. Some Daesh fighters have been prosecuted for their atrocities, in Iraq and other countries. While the number of prosecutions is very small, even these proceedings cannot be regarded as unproblematic. Some of the challenges can be summarised as the prosecutions being conducted predominantly for terror-related offences only and often conducted without due process and in violation of the rule of law. Furthermore, victims and survivors are not involved in the process and so deprived of their day in court. 

As the evidence of the Daesh atrocities is being collected, it is crucial to consider how Daesh fighters can be brought to account to ensure that victims and survivors will see justice being done. 

Speakers include:

Lord Alton of Liverpool, UK House of Lords

Pieter Omtzigt, Member of the Dutch Parliament

Sareta Ashraph, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers

Abid Shamdeen, Executive Director of Nadia’s Initiative

UN HRC Adopts A Resolution On Genocide, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing And Crimes Against Humanity

On 17 July 2020, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome.

The resolution stresses:

‘that States have the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind, and reiterating the responsibility of each individual State to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, which entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means, and that the international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability.’

The resolution:

  1. Decides to convene, before its forty-seventh session, an intersessional panel discussion to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome, on the exchange of best practices on strengthening national policies and strategies to implement the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity through national mechanisms and other stakeholders;
  2. Requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to liaise with States, relevant United Nations bodies and agencies, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, the Special Adviser to the SecretaryGeneral on the Responsibility to Protect, treaty bodies, special procedures and regional human rights mechanisms, and the Global Network of the Responsibility to Protect Focal Points, as well as with civil society, including non-governmental organizations, and national human rights institutions, with a view to ensuring their participation in the panel discussion, and to make the panel discussion fully accessible for persons with disabilities;
  3. Also requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a summary report on the panel discussion and to submit it to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session and to the General Assembly.

The resolution can be found here:

The results of the vote are as follows :

In favour (32) : Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Libya, Marshall Island, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Togo, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Against (1) : Venezuela.

Abstentions (14) : Angola, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sudan.

Without Justice And Recognition The Genocide By Daesh Continues

Joint NGO Statement to Commemorate International Justice Day, 17 July 2020

Following its capture of Mosul on 10 June 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) began to target northern Iraq’s ethno-religious minorities, as well as members of the Sunni community who stood in opposition or were perceived to be insufficiently supportive of ISIS and its ideology. In August 2014 ISIS swept across Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains, attacking indigenous Yazidis, Christians (including ethnic Assyrians), Turkmen and other ethno-religious minorities. Daesh went to considerable lengths to eliminate the Yazidi people, killing the men and adolescent boys, and abducting thousands of women and children. Young boys were indoctrinated and forced to fight for Daesh, while women and girls as young as nine were enslaved and sold as chattel to Daesh fighters.

Those held captive suffered sustained sexual violence under an organized system of sexual enslavement, were beaten, and forced to labour. Daesh had long been explicit about its intention to wipe out the Yazidi community, which it reviled as infidels and idol-worshippers. This intent, visible in the violations and public utterances of Daesh, is also evident in the group’s systematic destruction of Yazidi religious and cultural heritage sites. As determined by a United Nations Commission of Inquiry, Daesh committed genocide in its multi-faceted attacks on the Yazidis, whose suffering is ongoing.

Communal cohesion has been significantly undermined, and there is a considerable risk that cultural heritage and religious traditions may disappear forever. Countless temples, churches, and holy sites have been destroyed, while tens of thousands of civilians remain in squalid IDP camps across northern Iraq, too fearful to return to their ancestral lands. Nearly 3,000 women and children remain missing, with many believed to be in captivity. Recent attacks by residual elements of Daesh highlight the grave threat faced by civilians in Iraq today.

It is the legal and moral responsibility of all governments to act in accordance with the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The new Iraqi Government and the international community must work together to bring ISIS to justice. This includes supporting and working closely with UNITAD in fulfilling its mandate to investigate the atrocities and empowering survivor groups such as the Yazidi Survivor Network. In addition, all governments should undertake the necessary legal analysis to recognize the genocide and prosecute their citizens who joined ISIS and perpetrated atrocity crimes in Iraq and Syria. The prosecution of perpetrators – as in the trial of Taha A.J. in Frankfurt, Germany – and the formal recognition of the genocide are key measures in preventing future atrocity crimes and in countering violent extremism.

International Justice Day should serve as a warning to all perpetrators that they will face their time in court and be brought to justice for their heinous crimes. Daesh cannot be considered a defeated enemy whilst it continues to escape justice. Now is the time to put an end to impunity.

List of signatories:

  1. Air Bridge Iraq – Luftbrücke Irak (Germany)
  2. Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (Australia)
  3. Assyrian Policy Institute (United States of America)
  4. Center for Justice and Accountability (United States of America)
  5. Central Council of Yazidi in Germany – Zentralrats der Êzîden in Deutschland (Germany)
  6. Coalition for Genocide Response (United Kingdom)
  7. Défense Sans Frontière Avocats Solidaires (France)
  8. European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (United Kingdom)
  9. Eyzidi Organization for Documentation (Iraq)
  10. Families of the Missing (United States of America)
  11. Free Yezidi Foundation (Iraq/The Netherlands)
  12. Genocide Alert (Germany)
  13. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (United States of America)
  14. (Germany)
  15. Hope Makers Organization for Woman (Iraq)
  16. International Council for Diplomacy and Dialogue (France)
  17. Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights (Iraq)
  18. Minority Rights Group International (United Kingdom)
  19. Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (Canada)
  20. Nadia’s Initiative (Iraq/United States of America)
  21. Nineveh Center For Minority Rights (Iraq)
  22. Nuhanovic Foundation (The Netherlands)
  23. Project Abraham (Canada)
  24. Rainbow Organization for Child Protection (Iraq)
  25. Road to Peace (United Kingdom)
  26. Society for Threatened Peoples – Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker-International (Germany)
  27. Shlomo Organization for Documentation (Iraq)
  28. STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities (United States of America)
  29. Sunrise Organization for Civil Society Development (Iraq)
  30. Trauma Treatment International (United Kingdom)
  31. Women’s Refugee Commission (United States of America)
  32. Voice Of Ezidis (France)
  33. Yazda (Iraq/United States of America)
  34. Yazidi Legal Network (The Netherlands)
  35. YES- Yezidi Emergency Support (UK)
  36. Youth Bridge Development Organization (Iraq)

For The 25th Anniversary of The Genocide in Srebrenica, UN Experts Remind Us That Genocides Are Not Spontaneous

For the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, UN human rights experts urged governments to honour victims by building peaceful, inclusive and just societies to prevent such atrocities from happening again:

‘Genocides are not spontaneous. They are the culmination of unchallenged and unchecked intolerance, discrimination and violence.  They are the result of sanctioned hatred fostered in permissive environments where individuals first spread fear, then hatred for material or political gain, fracturing the pillars of trust and tolerance between communities and resulting in devastation for all…’

‘On this day of reflection, 25 years on, we also remember other communities that have been subjected to or are facing mass atrocities purely on the basis of their identity. We urge States and the international community to uphold their obligations, take urgent and effective action to protect those in danger, fend off the virus of hate and discrimination (including online), and ensure accountability…’

See full statement at:

Remembering The Lives Lost In Srebrenica 25 Years Ago

Today, on 11 July, we remember ‘the worst [case of genocide] on European soil since the Second World War’, the case of Srebrenica. In only five days, 8,372 men and boys in Srebrenica were killed by Bosnian Serbs. 

The story of Srebrenica is a tragic one. It is tragic not only because of the mass-cleansing in Bosnia at the time but because Srebrenica was meant to be the safe haven for the persecuted.

On 6 April 1993, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 819 requiring all parties to the conflict to treat ‘Srebrenica and its surroundings as a safe area which should be free from any armed attacks or any other hostile act.

In March 1994, a Dutch battalion, Dutchbat, was sent to Srebrenica to protect Muslim communities in the region. Dutchbat acted under the UN command. 

On July 5, 1995, the southern part of Srebrenica came under attack.  

The shelling of the zones continued over the next days, including Bosnian Serbs shelling Dutch positions in the zone. Ultimately, on 11 July 1995, the attacks led to the fall of Srebrenica. 

Over 20,000 people were fleeing to the Dutch base at Potočari.

The base of the Dutchbat troops filled out. The 20,000 refugees who walked for over three miles to seek refuge in the base were stuck outside. They sought safety in factories and fields. Only about 5,000 were allowed to stay in the base. 

Less than half an hour after taking over Srebrenica, Bosnian Serbs arrived at the Potočari base. 

By midnight, around 15,000 men left the safe zone to walk for 63 miles to Tuzla, the closest Muslim area. Over the following days, these 15,000 men were subjected to a systematic massacre and horrific conditions. ‘Bosnian Serb soldiers brutally slaughter 8,372 men in Srebrenica alone.’ 

(More details can be found at:

11 July was officially recognised as the Srebrenica Remembrance Day by the European Parliament in its resolution of 15 January 2009. The UN Security Council considered recognising the Srebrenica massacre as genocide in 2015. However, the attempt was blocked by Russia. The draft resolution proposed, among others, to: 

2. Condemn in the strongest terms the crime of genocide at Srebrenica as established by judgments of the ICTY and ICJ and all other proven war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the course of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina;

3. Agree that acceptance of the tragic events at Srebrenica as genocide is a prerequisite for reconciliation, calls upon political leaders on all sides to acknowledge and accept the fact of proven crimes as established by the courts, and

in this context, condemns denial of this genocide as hindering efforts towards reconciliation, and recognises also that continued denial is deeply distressing for the victims.

The 8,372 lost lives must be remembered. The atrocities of Srebrenica must be recognised as genocide.