‘Still Living in Fear and Desperation’: Don’t Forget About Christians, Religious Minorities Facing Genocide

The numbers are staggering: the U.S. Agency for International Development director reports nearly 90 percent of Christians have fled Iraq in the past 15 years, but thankfully, USAID and the American Center for Law and Justice say help is at last on the way.

The ACLJ calls brutal attacks at the hands of ISIS on Christian victims of genocide because of their faith “unprecedented.”

“We have a moral obligation to offer all the assistance we can,” the ACLJ wrote in an article on Thursday. “We have demanded ‘recognition and declaration of the atrocities committed by ISIS against Christians as genocide, in order to trigger the provisions of the Genocide Convention and provide relief and aid to religious minorities facing genocide.'”

Mark Green, USAID director, wrote earlier this month in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that the Christian exodus from Iraq alone has left villages that have existed for more than a thousand years deserted.

Green explained that the Yazidi population also has been devastated, making the need for aid tremendous.

The United States and President Donald Trump have not just pledged to defeat ISIS, but also to assist victims going back to their home countries.

Last year, Vice President Mike Pence told people attending the annual summit of In Defense of Christians in Washington, DC, that the US would step-up helping persecuted Christians and minorities.

“We will no longer rely on the United Nations alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities in the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups,” he said.

“The United States will work hand-in-hand from this day forward with faith-based groups and private organizations to help those who are persecuted for their faith,” Pence continued.

“This is the moment, now is the time, and America will support these people in their hour of need,” he said.

Then, earlier this year, the ACLJ reported the Trump Administration started backing up those words.

“It may be the biggest step forward in our genocide campaign since the U.S. officially recognized the ‘genocide against . . . Christians,'” ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow wrote.

“The U.S. government has just secured a major concession from the U.N. allowing relief aid to be delivered directly to Christians and other religious minority victims of genocide in Iraq – something we have been aggressively advocating for since we began our genocide campaign,” he continued.

Green now is vowing to provide more humanitarian aid to Christians and other religious minorities in Northern Iraq, writing in the op-ed, “At the direction of the president and vice president, USAID is now redoubling its effort to swiftly deliver and distribute the aid that Iraq’s persecuted religious communities desperately need,” the ACLJ reported.

“The delays must end, and they will,” Green continued.

The ACLJ reports the US has already delivered more than $60 million in aid to the area. The funds went toward rebuilding hospitals, schools, power stations and wells.

“This is a huge victory we have been advocating for, delivering help to Christians trying to sift through the devastation wrought by ISIS,” the ACLJ wrote. “USAID will provide much needed resources and assistance for these innocent victims.”

The United Kingdom has also agreed to help, responding to a legal letter sent by the ACLJ, asking the American ally for assistance.

A representative for the UK’s prime minister wrote a letter, stating that Great Britain was contributing more than “£90 million in Conflict, Stability and Security Fund funding to Iraq, including over £25 million helping to make areas that have been affected by conflict safe . . . so that civilians can return to their homes,” the ACLJ reported.

“But there is still so much work to be done,” the legal organization wrote. “Many Christians in the region are still living in fear and desperation. The need for support is still great and America and the U.K. cannot shoulder it alone.”

The ACLJ recently filed a written submission at the UN, calling on the international body to acknowledge the genocide in Iraq and Syria and protect Christians and other religious minority victims heading back home.

“We will continue to reach out to the international community and advocate on behalf of the victims of ISIS until every one of them receives the aid they need to safely return home, rebuild their life, and live out their faith without fear,” the ACLJ wrote.

That support also includes a petition drive, “Protect Christians. Recognize and End Genocide” – a petition that as of now has nearly 750,000 signatures.