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Middle East: Christianity

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL2494, tabled on 12 October 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the welfare and security of the Chaldean Catholic communities in the Middle East; and whether any Chaldean Christians have been afforded refugee status in the United Kingdom since 2010.

Answered on

19 October 2015

Conflict and instability in the Middle East and North Africa has made the plight of many minorities, including Chaldean Catholics, a significant concern. We have witnessed systematic and deliberate attacks against religious and ethnic minorities in the region, and some countries tragically risk seeing the disappearance of communities that have existed there peacefully for centuries. We deplore all discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities and constraints on their freedom to practise their faith. We regularly urge all governments in the region to ensure the protection of all religious minorities. We encourage them to develop inclusive political systems that represent all of their citizens. We also work proactively in the region to promote community cohesion and inclusive governance.

On the granting of refugee status to Chaldean Catholics, the British Government does not divulge which groups are granted asylum in order to protect their identities. The Refugee Convention requires asylum to be granted to those who are outside their countries of origin and have a well-founded fear of persecution on return for reasons which include religion or ethnic origin. The UK has a proud tradition of providing refuge to those who come here in need of protection and we are ready to assist those who come here to seek asylum. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), recently announced that the UK would resettle a further 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.