Written question HL707: The Lord Bishop of Southwark 11-07-2017

Asked on: 11 July 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Lords
Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Mark Field MP, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 4 July (HC Deb. Cols 21–23WH) concerning the "special responsibility for protecting and upholding the rights of Christian communities across the globe" and the ring-fencing of humanitarian assisstance to help protect displaced minorities, whether they will institute a programme for the secure restoration of Christian communities and other minorities in Iraq.
A
Answered on: 25 July 2017

Iraqi Christians have deep and ancient ties to the region. It is a tragedy that so many have been forced to flee their homes and been subjected to such appalling human rights abuses. We want to see Christians and other minorities continuing to live, worship and prosper in Iraq and across the Middle East.

To this end, we are providing £209.5 million in humanitarian aid to all those who have been affected by conflict in Iraq. The funding provides clean water, sanitation, essential medicines and other life-saving assistance. We are also providing over £15 million towards UN efforts to stabilise areas liberated from Daesh. In addition, through the UK's Conflict, Security and Stability Fund we are supporting community cohesion, encouraging reconciliation and promoting acceptance and tolerance between communities. We also continue to encourage political and religious leaders in Iraq to speak out publicly to condemn violence and we are working to build international consensus on upholding freedom of religion or belief.

UK funded aid is provided on the basis of need to ensure civilians are not discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, or ethnicity.

Ultimately, the best way of safeguarding Christian and other minority communities in Iraq is to establish lasting peace. That means defeating Daesh and helping the Government of Iraq to deliver political reform and reconciliation.

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