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Middle East: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 56689, tabled on 7 December 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of persecution and displacement of religious minorities in (a) Syria and (b) Iraq; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

15 December 2016

We remain very concerned about appalling crimes being committed against religious minorities, as well as the majority Muslim population in Iraq and Syria. Minorities have suffered at the hands of Daesh in both Syria and Iraq. In Syria they have also suffered at the hands of the Asad regime, whose war against the Syrian people has killed over 400,000 Syrians. We are committed to defeating Daesh and bringing them to justice. We continue to work towards a sustainable political settlement in Syria, based on transition away from Asad. Protection of minorities is a key pillar of international agreements on transition in Syria and also of proposals by the Syrian Opposition. We are using our aid budget to alleviate the immediate humanitarian suffering of the most vulnerable people in the region, including minorities. The UK has pledged £169.5 million in humanitarian aid for Iraq and £2.3 billion in response to the Syria crisis.