The American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative law group fighting to get the United Nations to designate Islamic State's ongoing attacks against Christians as a genocide, received a letter acknowledging the brutalities victims are subjected to.
"In the strongest showing to date of progress being made to defend Christians facing genocide, the U.N. has responded to our recent letter, agreeing with our assessment regarding the growing body of evidence that the Islamic State (ISIS) is in fact committing genocide against religious minorities," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow wrote in an update on Saturday.
ACLJ and its affiliate, European Center for Law and Justice, had sent a letter in July, detailing the "gross abuses" suffered by Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities in Iraq and Syria.
In response, Adama Dieng, special adviser to the secretary-general on the Prevention of Genocide, stated, "I share your passionate call for justice and accountability for the crimes committed by [ISIS].
"Over the last three years, I have had the opportunity to meet with victims of [ISIS]'s brutality, including during a visit to Iraq in November 2015. I was horrified by the accounts they gave, which echo those included in your letter," the letter states in part.
Dieng said that he agrees that IS members who have carried out war crimes and crimes against humanity must be prosecuted by independent courts, and vowed to continue encouraging those in power to pursue accountability.
Sekulow described Dieng's letter as a "profound and unprecedented acknowledgment by the U.N." of the plight faced by Christians.
The law group has for many months been urging the U.N. to officially recognize that Christians are subjected to genocide.
In past letters it described how IS has beheaded and stoned men, women, and children for blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy, with Christians tortured and killed for refusing to deny their faith in Jesus Christ.
"It is indisputable that ISIS (the Islamic State) is targeting Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq because of their faith — with an intent to exterminate them — and these horrific acts of violence are spreading around the world," the law group wrote in April.
Sekulow stated that Dieng's response and promise to engage the international community "is yet another positive development in our efforts against the ISIS genocide."
"Here at the ACLJ we are vigorously fighting for those defenseless victims of genocide. Just this week we made yet another oral intervention before the U.N. on behalf of ISIS's victims. We will continue our efforts until ISIS is defeated and its victims are protected," he declared.
A U.S. bill looking to provide emergency aid for Christians and other victims of genocide was, meanwhile, advanced by a Senate committee vote last week.
House Resolution 390, also called the Iraq and Syria Relief and Accountability Act, looks to "provide emergency relief to victims of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Iraq and Syria, to provide accountability for perpetrators of these crimes and for other purposes."
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) who sponsored the bill, which passed the U.S. House in June, argued that it is "incomprehensible" that the U.S. government has not done more to help so far.
"Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda has been sustaining more than 95,000 Christians who escaped ISIS — almost one third of Christians remaining in Iraq," Smith noted, adding that "lives are depending" upon American aid.