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Iraq: Minority Groups

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL551, tabled on 16 June 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the long-term future of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq; and what steps they are taking to assist Iraq's religious minorities.

Answered on

25 June 2015

The British Government continues to condemn in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) against all communities throughout the areas under its control. There is no doubt that religious and ethnic minorities face real dangers and great hardship in parts of Iraq. To safeguard the future of religious minorities we have to confront, drive back, dismantle and ultimately defeat ISIL and promote an inclusive and stable Iraq that recognises the importance of all its communities.

We are in contact with religious leaders to discuss this issue. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), visited Iraq on 12 February and encouraged Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to continue progress on ensuring that all minorities are represented and their rights protected. I met Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil to discuss the ongoing situation in northern Iraq.

In 2015/16, the recently launched Conflict, Security and Stability Fund will provide funding for a number of projects in Iraq. One key strand of this work will focus on community cohesion, encouraging reconciliation and promoting acceptance and tolerance between communities at a grass roots level. We continue to encourage influential religious leaders in Iraq to speak out publicly and condemn sectarian violence. We will continue to explore what further support we might be able to provide to vulnerable groups and internally displaced persons.