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May 31, 2018

The Honorable Dave Trott                
United States House of Representatives        
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Adam B. Schiff
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representatives Trott and Schiff,

As Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I commend you for introducing H. Res. 220 that expresses the sense of the House of Representatives regarding past genocides.  This measure is in keeping with other legislation that USCCB has supported, e.g. H. R. 390, the "Iraq and Syrian Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act" that seeks to assist those who face persecution solely for reasons of their faith and ethnicity.  I understand H. Res. 220's goal is to prevent genocide against Christians, Yezidis, and other vulnerable people in the Middle East, by having the United States draw on lessons learned from the response to past genocides.  

The Catholic Church has consistently supported Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities facing persecution in the Middle East, many of whom are internally displaced or have fled as refugees. Saint John Paul II in his 1999 World Day of Peace message said, "Attempts to eliminate entire national, ethnic, religious or linguistic groups are crimes against God and humanity itself, and those responsible for such crimes must answer for them before justice." In a 2014 letter to the United Nations, Pope Francis said, "The most basic understanding of human dignity compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities and to protect innocent peoples."

The Committee on International Justice and Peace is committed to working with members of Congress to reject violence and protect the poor, vulnerable, and oppressed who are suffering.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop of  Military Services, USA
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace