Saving Christians

A Christian family who fled violence in Mosul, Iraq. (CNS photo/Jamal Nasrallah, EPA)

Speakers addressing the Helsinki Commission, a Congressional advisory group that monitors global human rights conditions, on Sept. 22 called upon the United States to step up efforts to provide financial support to nongovernmental organizations that serve thousands of displaced people in northern Iraq. William Canny, executive director of Migration and Refugee Services at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, implored a comprehensive approach, including robust aid to private organizations and host governments. Such action could result in the safe return of the displaced communities, including Christians, to their traditional homelands when the conflict ends, he said. Canny also welcomed the resettlement of 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States. He expressed concern, however, that only an extremely small percentage of those resettled—about 0.53 percent—were Christians. He urged the U.S. government to create a new “Priority 2” classification in the U.S. refugee admissions program’s priority system for religious and ethnic minority victims of genocide so they can be relocated more quickly.

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