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UK formally recognizes genocide against Yazidis by Islamic State

The United Kingdom is the latest country to recognize the 2014 mass slaughter of Yazidis by the Islamic State as genocide.
ZAID AL-OBEIDI/AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom joined the United Nations and 17 other governments and international bodies today in formally acknowledging that acts of genocide were committed against the Yazidi people by the Islamic State in 2014. 

The Minister of State for the Middle East, Lord Tariq Ahmad, announced the decision ahead of the Aug. 3 anniversary marking the jihadis’ killing spree that claimed the lives of at least 7,000 Yazidis, mostly men and boys, as they captured large swathes of Iraq and Syria and declared their now dismantled caliphate.

Ahmad said the United Kingdom would “continue to play a leading role in eradicating [the Islamic State], including through rebuilding communities affected by its terrorism and leading global efforts against its poisonous propaganda.” Alongside France, the United Kingdom is among the most active members of the US-led global coalition against the Islamic State. It is among a handful of coalition members that has troops on the ground in northeast Syria as part of ongoing efforts to degrade and destroy IS remnants.

However, it has been sharply criticized for refusing to repatriate UK nationals who joined the jihadis and are currently held in overcrowded and underfunded prisons and internment camps in northeast Syria and most controversially for stripping Shamima Begum, an IS bride, of her UK citizenship.

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