It is often forgotten, despite persecution of some groups, that the Middle East has for centuries seen the largely peaceful coexistence of many religious communities; pluralism and tolerance have been strong. The current crisis, coming from the emergence of ISIS, is threatening the lives of all citizens in the region. With so many groups under threat, including women and LGBT citizens, those of all religions and none are suffering from the advance of a fundamentalist network of hate. Entire communities, including, Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and Shias, are being murdered or forcibly converted.
It has to be acknowledged that the Iraqi invasion of 2003 unleashed a spiral of misery and hostility, and while we reject US bombing campaigns or other forms of military intervention, we can call for the international community to protect the varied communities under assault in the region. The Western Governments bear much responsibility for promoting this tragic state of affairs. Bombing ISIS would only result in innocent civilians killed and land ruined further, and make the ISIS attackers yet more emboldened, so this cannot be the answer.
Even in the midst of war, killing prisoners is a crime. ISIS and all armed groups and forces on every side of the conflict must end the killing and torture of prisoners, as well as the deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians. These are all war crimes under international law and those responsible must be brought to justice. An independent and impartial legal investigation into the crimes committed against the Ezidi community by ISIS in the Sinjar region is required.
There have to be urgent efforts to protect groups facing persecution and offer to grant them refugee status in the UK. The British government is urged to step up its support for those affected by the crises in Iraq and Syria by increasing humanitarian aid to the affected areas and by opening its door to refugees.
Progressive groups everywhere are encouraged to develop and strengthen links with all areas of Kurdistan and with Kurdish communities everywhere.