June 16, 2016 11:52 am
Updated: June 16, 2016 2:34 pm

Islamic State committing genocide, UN says

Displaced Yazidis are pictured in the Qandil mountains near the Turkish border, northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014.

AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed

The United Nations has officially declared that the so-called Islamic State is committing genocide against Yazidis in Syria and Iraq, a move that has prompted the Trudeau government to also begin using the term.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion told the House of Commons on Thursday afternoon that his government believes the UN’s findings to be valid.

“Given this evidence, our government believes that genocide against the Yazidis is currently ongoing, and that is why, as I said a month ago, we call once again for urgent action on the part of the (UN) Security Council,” Dion said

Just a few days ago, the Liberals voted down a motion in the House of Commons that would have declared that the violence perpetrated by the terror group constitutes genocide.

WATCH: Rona Ambrose explains why the ‘genocide’ label is important


Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose’s motion accused ISIS not only of genocide and crimes against humanity targeting Yazidis, but also Christians, Shia Muslims and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

The Conservatives are still pushing for the government to widen their use of the term to apply to these groups as well.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has argued that any determinations of genocide must be made in an objective way by international authorities.

WATCH: Justin Trudeau says it’s not a politician’s place to classify something as genocide


“We do not feel that politicians should be weighing in on this,” Trudeau told the House of Commons earlier this week.

In a report unveiled Thursday in Geneva, members of a UN investigative panel on Syria were unequivocal in their characterization of the horrors visited on the Yazidis, a religious group whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions.

The UN maintains that concrete evidence gathered on the ground shows a genocide against the group is ongoing.

There are approximately 400,000 Yazidis living in the war-torn region, and the panel found that ISIS has been systematically attempting to wipe out the religious minority through targeted mass killings and enslavement.

The crime of genocide was officially defined by the UN in Article II of the 1948 Genocide Convention. 

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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