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Nina Shea Interview on Tillerson and Genocide Determination

Nina Shea Interview on Tillerson and Genocide Determination 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 long time 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, 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 the acting legal adviser

who was appointed about three weeks

before the election 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 this is fake news.

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 a genocide.

So I think this is something stronger than what

actually Secretary Kerry said.

This is a firm belief by the Secretary of State,

acting as Secretary of State, announced at a 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 it so important that we

have this designation, this determination of genocide

against Christians, Yazidis, 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,

and 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.

So we're sending--

Nina, 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'll 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, HR390 and that is to make sure that these

genocided-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.

Well, thank you, Nina, for your insights.

We appreciate it.

God bless you.

Thank you, Gary.

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