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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights Violations Committed by the Islamic State

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 2:00pm
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the ongoing human rights violations committed by the Islamic State (IS).

The Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS) has expanded its control over areas of parts of Iraq and Syria since 2013, threatening the wider region. Since then, IS forces have massacred Syrian and Iraqi adversaries, including some civilians, often from ethnic or religious minorities, and murdered hostages, including U.S. citizens. Islamic State offensives in Iraq's Anbar province and against Kurdish enclaves continue. The group's tactics have drawn international condemnation, and raised U.S. attention to Iraq's political problems and to the war in Syria.

The humanitarian situations in both Iraq and Syria have been described as a "mega crisis". Taken together, it is estimated that 17.4 million people living in either Iraq or Syria are affected by conflict and in need of humanitarian assistance. An estimated 3.6 million Iraqis reside in areas under the control of the IS and other armed groups. In the words of a UN Commission of Inquiry, IS has made “calculated use of public brutality and indoctrination to ensure the submission of communities under its control” and has become “synonymous with extreme violence directed against civilians and captured fighters.”

As Congress is expected to debate an authorization for use of military force against the group, join us as experts discuss the ongoing conflict and human rights violations, including violence targeting religious and ethnic minorities and women. Panelists will also provide recommendations on what the United States Congress can do to alleviate human rights abuses and mitigate suffering caused by the crisis.

For any questions, please contact Carson Middleton at 202-225-2411 or

Hosted by:

Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Panel I

  • David N. Saperstein, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State

Panel II

  • Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa, Amnesty International USA
    Written testimony
  • Erin Evers, Iraq Researcher, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
    Written testimony
  • Rami Abdelrahman, Director, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
    Written testimony
  • Bassam Ishak, President, Syriac National Council of Syria
    Written testimony




114th Congress