Sixty UK parliamentarians, led by Lord Alton and the convenor of the Catholic Legislators’ Network, MP Rob Flello, have written to the British Prime Minister to ask that he use his influence to come to an agreement with the UN with reference to Daesh’s (ISIS) atrocities against minorities. Their letter calls on the 127 signatories of the UN Convention on Genocide to agree to apply the definition, referring to targeted assassinations of church leaders, mass murder, sexual violence, targeted conversions and destruction of churches.

The letter comes as the US government debates whether the definition should include treatment of Christians as well as Yazidis, as requested by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). It also calls on its government to include Christians in the definition of those at risk of genocide from Islamic State’s campaign in Syria and Iraq, as well as Yazidis and other smaller groups.

At a recent conference, the leader of the UK Coptic Orthodox Church said that, if the 13 million Egyptians Copts are discounted, Middle Eastern Christians now form only 1-2% of the region, down from 25% a century ago.