The US government has declared that Islamic State has committed genocide against Christians and other religious groups.

Secretary of State John Kerry said on behalf of the government that Islamic State was “genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions”.

It follows the unanimous vote earlier this week in the US House of Representatives declaring atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria to “constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide”.

The House of Representative’s announcement put public pressure on the White House to step up its fight against the terrorist group. It will also give momentum to humanitarian advocates arguing for a more welcoming refugee policy.

In February, the European Parliament officially declared Islamic State’s campaign to be genocide. Under multinational human-rights agreements, formal recognition of genocide heightens the obligation of participating countries to respond.

Sources: BBC, The Atlantic