Bishop of Worcester asks Government about aid and protection for civilians in Iraq

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On the 23rd and 24th September 2015 the Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, received answers to questions of Government about Iraq – on humanitarian aid, the impact of military action on civilians and support for building an inclusive state.


WorcesterThe Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure humanitarian access to civilian communities in Iraq in need of aid who are caught up in the fighting.


Baroness Verma: The UK’s humanitarian programme in Iraq is delivered through the partners we judge are best able to access civilian communities caught up in a complex conflict. We work with the UN and other humanitarian actors that abide strictly by the key humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence, so they can gain the acceptance of parties to the conflict and access vulnerable groups. The UK is also the leading donor to the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund which supports a number of national NGOs who typically have better access too hard to reach areas of Iraq.

To date, the UK has provided £59.5m of humanitarian assistance across Iraq.


(Via Parliament.UK)


The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that military action by coalition forces in Iraq does not displace civilians.

Earl Howe: Defence’s initial involvement last summer was to deliver immediate aid in support of humanitarian objectives. The Royal Air Force dropped nearly 100 tonnes of humanitarian supplies, the majority to the besieged Yazidi community on Mount Sinjar.

Individual members of the Coalition retain responsibility for the actions of their own forces. All UK air strikes are conducted under UK rules of engagement, which have been agreed for this campaign in accordance with the law. Close observation, careful selection and approval of targets before a strike, and the use of precision weapons minimises collateral damage and the potential for civilian casualties. This is in stark contrast with ISIL’s complete disregard for human life and for the consequences of their actions for civilians.

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are supporting Kurdish authorities in Iraq to manage the civilians who have fled the fighting and are displaced in the region.


Baroness Verma: To date, the UK has provided £59.5m of humanitarian assistance across Iraq. This goes to people most in need, including those in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). We are providing funding for a Joint Crisis Centre (JCC) within the Kurdistan Regional Government as part of this support. The JCC works closely with the UN, the Government of Iraq (GOI) and the international community to provide life-saving coordination. The UK also supports Iraqi-led stabilisation activities to enable the safe return of displaced people to their homes.

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are supporting the government of Iraq to build an inclusive state that provides for the wellbeing of all its citizens.


Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We are supporting Prime Minister Abadi in his efforts to rebuild public trust in the Iraqi state, deliver the services and opportunities which all Iraqis want and deserve, and unite Iraq’s communities against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and extremism. We welcome the commitments that he has made to inclusivity, to protecting Iraqi citizens, and addressing human rights abuses and holding those responsible to account.
We have contributed £2million to the UN’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilisation, to help the Iraqi government stabilise areas recently liberated from ISIL and re-establish security, basic services and inclusive local governance. In 2015/16 we will provide funding for a number of projects designed to support community cohesion and encourage reconciliation, acceptance and tolerance between communities at a grass roots level. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has deployed or reassigned 20 officers to strengthen our efforts in helping the Government of Iraq defeat ISIL. 11 of these officers are in Iraq, to better understand and support the political process, including efforts to reach out to members of the Sunni community.


(via Parliament.uk)