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Testimony Calls for Policy Changes to Protect Christians and Other Minorities in the Middle East

Contact: Andrew Walther, Knights of Columbus, 203-752-4253, andrew.walther@kofc.org 

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization, Carl Anderson, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Knights of Columbus today provided four policy recommendations to address the on-going crisis of Christian and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.

  1. That Congress adopt House Concurrent Resolution 75, which names and decries the ongoing "genocide" against Christians and other vulnerable minorities in Iraq and Syria.
     
  2. That the U.S. State Department publicly acknowledge that genocide is taking place against the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria, including them in its reportedly impending statement on genocide that, according to reports, refers only to Nineveh's Yazidi community.
     
  3. That the United States insist on proper security inside the camps and identify ways to ensure that Christians and other vulnerable minorities from Iraq and Syria are not subject to violence inside UNHCR facilities, including the possibility of providing separate facilities for minorities and hiring professional staff that would include members of the minority communities.
     
  4. That the U.S. government take immediate action to implement its stated policy of "prioritizing" the resettlement of vulnerable minorities, including Christians. In addition, we recommend that the U.S. government end its sole reliance on the UNHCR for refugee referrals and engage private contractors to identify, document and refer Christian, Yazidi and other vulnerable minority refugees from Syria and Iraq who are in need of resettlement. 

The Knights of Columbus has donated more than $5 million to assist Christian and other religious minority refugees in the Middle East.  Last week, Anderson and other prominent signatories urged the State Department to classify persecution of Christians as genocide.  Anderson's testimony and letter can be read here.