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Islamic State

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL4828, tabled on 11 January 2016

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of Iraqi and Syrian Christians and other religious minorities who have been murdered or displaced from their homes by the actions of ISIS in each of the last five years; and what specific plans they have to provide practical assistance and asylum opportunities for persecuted Christians seeking to flee that region.

Answered on

19 January 2016

We do not hold figures for the numbers of minorities who have been murdered or displaced by Daesh. The situation is desperate for many communities within Syria and Iraq. We condemn in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by Daesh against all civilians, including Christians, Mandeans, Yezidis, and other minorities, as well as the majority Muslim population in Iraq and Syria who continue to bear the brunt of Daesh’s brutality.

The persecution of Christians, and individuals of all faiths, anywhere in the world is of profound concern to us. The freedom to practise, change or share your faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a fundamental human right that all people should enjoy.

The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), announced that the existing Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) scheme would be expanded to resettle 20,000 refugees during this Parliament. The Syrian VPR scheme is based on need and does not discriminate on religious grounds. As many Christians are likely to be particularly vulnerable it is highly likely that some will qualify under the scheme’s criteria.

Ultimately, the only way to protect Christians and other religious minorities from Daesh is by defeating this terrible organisation, which in turn requires, amongst other things, ending the conflict in Syria. The Prime Minister set out the UK’s comprehensive strategy for defeating Daesh and finding a political settlement to the Syria conflict in his response to the Foreign Affairs Committee on 26 November 2015.