Skip to main content

Middle East: Minority Groups

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 24334, tabled on 26 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information he holds on the number of Iraqi and Syrian Christians and other religious minorities who have been murdered or displaced from their homes by Daesh in each of the last five years; and what steps he is taking to provide practical assistance and asylum opportunities to persecuted Christians seeking to flee that region.

Answered on

29 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 practice, 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 the Foreign Affairs Committee on 26 November 2015.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.