Over 500 visitors of different faiths, cultures and other diversities, converged on 10 Downing Street today (13.08.14), to call for better protection for the suffering minorities facing genocide in Iraq. People of good conscience shouted slogans such as; Down down ISIS down!, Stop killing innocent Christians and Stop the crisis bring down ISIS – intent on highlighting concerns about the safety of many recent victims.
There collaborative demonstration was organised to convince the UK government to increase their current level of aid to communities fleeing their homes and livelihoods to simply continue living, after an increasing number of territorial gains made by insurgent group ISIS. Reports from Iraq have indicated a huge number of atrocities being undertaken on those captured in conquered territory, including reports of child beheading, mass killings, women being gang raped and/or sold as concubines and many other acts of torture.
Despite US Military attacks, the UK, also said to be responsible for the rise in insurgency in Iraq after an immoral and illegal war, have thus far refrained from military support. In the meanwhile the genocide simply continues to grow.
The demonstration and candlelight vigil was organised by the British Pakistani Christian Association in conjunction with Solidarity Against ISIS. Guest Speakers included;
- Adnan Kochar – Chairman Kurdish Community Centre
- Ranbir Sigh Hindu -Human Rights Group
- Elian Williams – Solidarity for all the victims of Genocide
- Lyn Julius – Harif a group representing Middle-Eastern and North-African Jews.
- Wilson Chowdhry – Brritish Pakistani Christian Association.
British Pakistani Christian Association was established to highlight the human rights abuses suffered by the Christian minority in Pakistan. Over the past few years the BPCA has become a forum for many concerned human rights and voluntary organisations to highlight their concerns at what has been a breakdown in civil society in a drift towards religious and ethnic extremism in Pakistan. The situation has become extremely precarious for Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Ahmadiyya, Shia religious minorities, as well as for ethnic groups such as the Baluch, Kailash and Muhajirs. Indeed even the majority community in Pakistan suffers because minorities act as canaries in the coal mine. Their situation and treatment reflects wider issues in society. Any nation that fails to accord its minorities full equality suffers from an inherent sclerosis which infects all civil institutions and organs of government. The situation has been aggravated by discrimination at the official level, notably the notorious Blasphemy Laws. These were designed to prevent communal strife and work towards harmony. They have achieved the diametric opposite. Christians, and other minorities find themselves targeted by these laws and often forced to abjure their faith or face jail and mob violence. Even majority community has not been immune as the Blasphemy Law has been used as a mechanism with which to settle petty disputes and old scores, far divorced from its original purpose.
It is for that reason that the BPCA looks with concern at the situation in Iraq and Syria. Minorities here from religious backgrounds such as Christian, Shia and Yezidi, as well as ethnic minorities such as the Kurds are being subject to genocide, both cultural and physical. Even Muslims are not safe from the jihadi onslaught as the ISIS declare Shias to be the enemy of their faith. Daily on new reports we see Sunni Muslim Arabs also tortured and killed, often in the most horrible manner. The tragedy thus unfolding should concern all of us. If we do not speak out then the cycle of violence will continue unabated and the loss of life, the human tragedy, the very things which this government as a signatory of the United Nations charter pledged to prevent will happen again. In fact it is happening right now. This is a human tragedy of the worst kind and we call upon the British government to live up to its obligations and prevent the vortex of genocide and killing taking any more innocent lives.