UN urged to label Isis crimes against Yazidi community as ‘genocide’

Over 60 parliamentarians have signed the letter

Killings of minority groups by Isis should be recognised as genocide, a group of more than 60 parliamentarians have said in a letter to the prime minister.

The call for Cameron to use his influence to persuade the UN to action comes after news of the systematic killing of Syrian Christians and Yazidis, which, if true, would mean that Isis have committed war crimes in Iraq.

The campaign, lead by labour MP Rob Flello and cross-bencher Lord Alton, includes signatures from more than 60 other parliamentarians. The letter, published by the BBC, said there was 'clear evidence of Isis assassinations of church leaders, mass murders, torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria and "the sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women’.

The letter called for UN involvement in Iraq by saying the situation was ‘more than just a matter of semantics’:"There would be two main benefits from the acceptance by the UN that genocide is being perpetrated.

"First, it would send a very clear message to those organising and undertaking this slaughter that at some point in the future they will be held accountable by the international community for their actions; they will be caught, tried and punished.

"Second, it would encourage the 127 nations that are signatories to the Convention to face up to their duty to take the necessary action to 'prevent and punish' the perpetrators of these evil acts."

The UN defines genocide as an act with the intent to ‘destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as killing members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.’

In 2014 a caliphate was announced in Iraq, which means a state governed in according with Sharia law. Muslims have condemned how Isis have treated people in Iraq and Syria - beheadings, shootings, and even crucifixions have been used to control the population.

The Independent has asked MP Rob Flello for comment.