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Nina Shea Interview on Genocide Determination at State Department

Nina Shea Interview on Genocide Determination at State Department Read Transcript


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Joining us with more from our Washington DC Bureau

is Nina Shea.

She's with the Hudson Institute, a longtime religious freedom

advocate.

Nina, thanks for joining us.

So what do you make of this whole State Department genocide

back off?

Are they back on now?

Thanks so much, Gary.

Yes, they were reluctant to say anything about genocide

against the Christians, against the other minorities in ISIS

territory.

And the anniversary of the designation

of genocide by the State Department

a year ago went by in silence from the State Department.

Of course, President Trump, Vice President Pence

have talked about it, acknowledged it--

but not the State Department.

And that's very important for policy.

Why did it seem like they were backing off on this?

Were these Obama administration holdovers?

Who was responsible in the legal department?

Well there was an acting legal adviser who was appointed about

three weeks before the election by President--

under President Obama's administration.

And he was suddenly saying, wait a minute.

We can't have a designation of genocide,

because it doesn't meet court standards in the United States.

And then there was others within the State Department

who were saying, oh this is fake news,

you know, sowing confusion about what the real state of play was

and what they really did determine.

I know that the designation anniversary came and went

with them being silent.

I know that the State Department Human Rights

Reports were released this spring without any mention

of genocide.

This is the most egregious human rights abuse known to man.

And there was no mention of that determination in the report.

The reports were done under the Obama administration.

And we pushed back on that.

And that was reinserted as Secretary Kerry's

personal opinion that there was genocide.

So I think this is something very--

stronger than what actually Secretary Kerry said.

This is a firm belief by the Secretary of State

acting as Secretary of State announced at an official State

Department press conference.

I think that it's a win for us.

That's a big win.

And Nina, for most of our viewers,

explain why is that it's so important that we have

this designation-- this determination of genocide

against Christians, Yazides, and others in the Middle East?

Well, it's important on a number of levels.

First of all, a moral level--

justice level-- there may be eventually

a court case that takes this up and gives justice

to these people who've had their lives

shattered, their loved ones enslaved, murdered,

and tortured.

So this is extremely important to them for that reason alone.

But also in an era where there is limited aid--

limited reconstruction aid-- with massive destruction over

there, the Christians of Erbil have testified in Congress

before Congressman Chris Smith--

subcommittee on Helsinki, saying that they have not

received any US aid that really comprehensively feeds

these people.

Over 100,000 of them-- of Christians--

who have lost everything to ISIS,

who are homeless for three years,

they have not received US aid.

That would be shocking to most Americans to know that,

because they think we're helping them.

I know that there was a billion dollars allocated by the US

Congress to help refugees.

Yet only about $10 million is going to persecuted Christians.

And they will be lucky to get that.

Gary, because in the past, this has been diverted

to other people, other pockets.

I'm not saying that this has been corrupt

in this particular situation, but what it has done

is housed and provided for the UN refugee camps.

What can we do?

Well, we can put pressure on our own members of Congress.

And there is legislation, especially in the Senate right

now.

House HR 390-- and that is to make sure

that these genocide-targeted Christians get

their fair share of aid.

I can't have you leave without commenting

on the nominee, someone that you and I

both have known for many years.

Sam Brownback, the governor of Kansas

will be, if he gets confirmed, our next Religious Freedom

Ambassador at large at the US State Department.

What do you think?

I'm absolutely delighted that they picked Sam.

I worked with him when he was in the Senate

on these issues of religious persecution

in that time in South Sudan, which was another genocide,

and in Darfur.

And he has been a leader on human trafficking and China.

So he really knows these issues.

And he was just a wonderful leader in the Senate

and is smart and dedicated.

So I think this whole problem would

have been avoided if he had been in place, actually.

Well I can't think of a better candidate for the position

other than maybe you.

I think we need you at Hudson Institute.

Well, we're all still at it, Gary--

you and me and Sam Brownback and Frank Wolf.

And Frank is traveling on these issues as we speak.

Yes, he is.

Thank you, Nina, for your insights.

We appreciate it.

God bless you.

Thank you, Gary.

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