The below Parliamentary question was asked by Robert Flello on 2016-01-26.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information he holds on the specific role and responsibilities of the UN Special Advisor on Genocide; whether he holds any information on the work undertaken by the Special Advisor in relation to the genocide being perpetrated against Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq; and if he will make a statement.
Mr Tobias Ellwood
Adama Dieng was appointed UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide on 17 July 2012. His role is to: raise awareness of the causes and dynamics of genocide; to alert relevant actors where there is a risk of genocide; and to advocate and mobilise for appropriate action. The Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect has made a number of statements in relation to the situation in Iraq and Syria. These statements can be found on the UN website, and cover a range of issues including: incitement to violence in Syria on religious grounds; expressing concern about the on-going threat to the safety of minority groups in Syria; and expressing alarm at reports of the abduction of 1,500 Yezidi, Christian and Shabak women and girls.
Any judgement on whether genocide has occurred is a matter for judicial decision, rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies. Our approach is to seek an end to all violations, and to prevent their further escalation, irrespective of whether these violations fit the definition of specific international crimes.