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Substitute for resolutions 45, 55, 71, 79, 86,
176, 187, 225, 291 and 316

In Solidarity with Persecuted Christians

      WHEREAS, Christians are the group most targeted for persecution around the world according to the Pew Research Center, and are the target of a genocide by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); and

      WHEREAS, Pope Francis has urged the international community to respond to this immense humanitarian tragedy; and,

      WHEREAS, the Holy Father has expressed his appreciation to the Knights of Columbus for our support of those “brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world suffering from…violent persecution” through our Christian Refugee Relief Fund which has now raised more than $13 million; and,

      WHEREAS, the Knights of Columbus developed the 300-page report detailing the genocide being waged against Christians and other minorities, and undertook massive publicity, advertising, and advocacy efforts which led to the Secretary of State’s official declaration of genocide in March 2016; and

      WHEREAS, the Knights of Columbus’ advocacy and report was decisive not only in securing this declaration of genocide, but also in securing the unanimous passage of two bipartisan resolutions, House Concurrent Resolution 75 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 33, both expressing Congress’ belief that a genocide was occurring and that the international community must respond; and

      WHEREAS, despite this declaration of genocide, these Christian communities facing imminent extinction are often being unconscionably overlooked by national and international governmental bodies in a manner that is tantamount to de facto discrimination against the most vulnerable victims of ISIS; and

      WHEREAS, Congressional testimony by the Supreme Knight laid the blueprint for the introduction of House Resolution 390, the Iraq and Syria Refugee Relief Act, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) that would ensure the U.S. Government takes the necessary steps to provide aid to these targeted communities and bring the perpetrators of this genocide to justice.

      NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Knights of Columbus stands in solidarity with all Christians around the world who are suffering from violent persecution, and we call on all Christians and people of good will to do the same; and

      FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commend the nations protecting those religious minorities seeking refuge from persecution in Iraq and Syria, and call on all governments and legislative bodies around the world to recognize the ongoing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities and to assist these persecuted communities; and

      FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on the Government of the United States and the relevant agencies to take immediate action to ensure government aid is directed to these vulnerable communities facing genocide consistent with the statutory obligations found in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 and the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Act, 2017; and

      FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on the Government of the United States to take the following three steps: (1) to demand the United Nations assist the communities that have suffered genocide by including them in humanitarian and reconstruction aid; (2) to demand the appropriate international body prosecute those guilty of genocide in Iraq and Syria; and (3) to continue to work with the international community to defeat the Islamic State; and

      FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on the United States Senate to quickly pass House Resolution 390 and for the President to sign it into law; and

      FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Knights of Columbus pledges to continue to provide assistance to those who are victims of atrocities, especially those Christians who have been violently persecuted because of their faith.