Bishop of Coventry asks Government about Christians in Iraq and freedom of religion or belief

13.10 Bishop of CoventryThe Lord Bishop of Coventry To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the long-term future of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq; and what steps they are taking to assist Iraq’s religious minorities. [HL551]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The British Government continues to condemn in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) against all communities throughout the areas under its control. There is no doubt that religious and ethnic minorities face real dangers and great hardship in parts of Iraq. To safeguard the future of religious minorities we have to confront, drive back, dismantle and ultimately defeat ISIL and promote an inclusive and stable Iraq that recognises the importance of all its communities. We are in contact with religious leaders to discuss this issue. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), visited Iraq on 12 February and encouraged Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to continue progress on ensuring that all minorities are represented and their rights protected. I met Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil to discuss the ongoing situation in northern Iraq. In 2015/16, the recently launched Conflict, Security and Stability Fund will provide funding for a number of projects in Iraq. One key strand of this work will focus on community cohesion, encouraging reconciliation and promoting acceptance and tolerance between communities at a grass roots level. We continue to encourage influential religious leaders in Iraq to speak out publicly and condemn sectarian violence. We will continue to explore what further support we might be able to provide to vulnerable groups and internally displaced persons.

(via Parliament.uk)


The Lord Bishop of Coventry To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their most recent assessment of freedom of religion or belief in Iraq and what assessment they have made of the steps taken by the government of Iraq to protect this human right. [HL549]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We firmly believe in the importance of freedom of religion or belief. The persecution of individuals of all faiths, anywhere in the world, is of profound concern to us. The self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is seeking to stoke sectarian conflict across the Middle East and has launched a campaign of violence and terror in Iraq and carried out appalling atrocities against people from all communities. We welcome the commitments that Prime Minister alAbadi has made to inclusivity, to protecting Iraqi citizens, addressing human rights abuses and holding those responsible to account. In 2015/16, the recently launched Conflict, Security and Stability Fund will provide funding for a number of projects in Iraq. One key strand of this work will focus on community cohesion, encouraging reconciliation and promoting acceptance and tolerance between communities at a grass roots level. We continue to encourage influential religious leaders in Iraq to speak out publicly and condemn sectarian violence.

(via Parliament.uk)