Austria has become one of the first countries in the world to not only formally recognize the genocide being committed against Christians in Iraq and Syria, but also to advance a seven-point plan aimed at helping victims.
The American Center for Law and Justice reported on Tuesday that the Austrian National Council formally recognized earlier in June the "heinous atrocities" being committed by the Islamic State terror group against Christians and other religious minorities, and committed itself to carrying out at least three steps of a seven-point plan to help those who are displaced.
"Austria has become one of the first countries to take a decisive stand," the ACLJ wrote, calling it a "major step forward" in the conservative group's campaign to rescue followers of Christ.
The legal group launched its seven-point plan last year, the details of which are available on the ACLJ website, and has urged U.N. member states to join the fight against genocide.
The plan in question calls for the establishment of in-region "safe zones" for genocide victims fleeing radical terror, along with expanding military efforts as part of the international coalition to defeat IS.
"It is imperative that we continue to pressure the U.N. and the international community in order to provide the relief these victims so desperately need," the ACLJ urged, calling on people to join the cause as the legal group expands its "largest global legal advocacy campaign in defense of Christians facing jihadist genocide."
In its letters to the U.N., the group has highlighted the urgency of cooperation when it comes to fighting IS.
"In Syria, the Islamic State has beheaded and stoned men, women, and children for blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy. One Christian Syrian woman described 'Christians being killed and tortured, and ... children being beheaded in front of their parents,'" the law group has said.
It added that Assyrian Christians have faced mass kidnappings; children and adults have been tortured for refusing to deny their faith in Christ; and other Christian children have been raped and burned to death by the radicals.
An investigative report by Christian groups Open Doors and Served and Middle East Concern has warned that at least 50 percent, but possibly as much as 80 percent, of Christians in Syria and Iraq have fled the region since 2011.
"Factors for leaving included the violence of conflict, including the almost complete destruction of some historically Christian towns in the Nineveh plains of northern Iraq, the emigration of others and loss of community, the rate of inflation and loss of employment opportunities, and the lack of educational opportunities," the alarming report stated.
"While direct violence, such as the movements of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, was the tipping point for displacement, the ultimate decision to leave the countries was portrayed as an accumulation of factors over time."