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Justin Welby warns of 'genocide' in Christmas letter

Justin Welby warns of 'genocide' in Christmas letter

Date Published: 
Friday, 23 December, 2016

The Archbishop of Canterbury has used the word genocide to describe the treatment of suppressed Christians around the world in his Christmas message to churches. Most Revd Justin Welby writes of the "troubled, uncertain world" we live in and the need to stand alongside fellow believers as they endure suffering. Speaking of the treatment by extremist groups, he said: "In some places, this is motivated by a desire to eradicate the indigenous Christian presence completely. These are acts not only of terror but of genocide; criminal acts for which the international community must bring those guilty to account.


There have been many calls for the suffering experienced by Christians at the hands of Islamic State to be labelled genocide. Earlier this year the UK parliament voted to use the word and called on the government to refer the issue to the UN Security Council. Once referred, member states then have a legal duty to take action to stop the genocide. The UK government is yet to refer the issue.