With Genocide, Words Are Not Enough

Last year, former Secretary of State Kerry declared that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities, however the Administration fell short on necessary follow through. Today, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House panel on global human rights, urged the new Trump Administration to step in and close the gap created by its predecessor.

Even after acknowledging the genocide, the previous Administration refused to support criminal investigations of perpetrators,” said Smith, author of the bipartisan Iraq and Syria Emergency Genocide Relief and Accountability Act (H.R. 390).Staff from non-governmental organizations are risking their lives to conduct these investigations. Without our help, evidence that can be used in trials will be lost. Proving these perpetrators are criminals—murderers, child abusers, rapists, slavers, drug dealers and more—will support our efforts to combat support for terrorist groups like ISIS.”

Smith, along with Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-07), Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), today sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, requesting an update on actions the U.S. has taken to investigate and hold accountable perpetrators, urging the U.S. to take the lead on related efforts at the U.N. and emphasizing the need to seek justice for all the victims, including Christians. Click Here to Read the Letter.

President Trump personally committed his Administration to confronting the genocide that ISIS has been committing against Christians and other religious minorities,” said Smith. “Only a few months ago, I met with Christian survivors in Iraq and saw that aid and action is needed, and needed right now. For the previous three years, the United States had abandoned these and the other survivors from religious and ethnic minorities. H.R. 390 is a blueprint for making sure these genocide victims finally get aid from the U.S. and perpetrators are punished.”

At the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump stated “We have seen a campaign of ISIS and genocide against Christians…All nations have a moral obligation to speak out against such violence. All nations have a duty to work together to confront it.”

Smith’s legislation, co-led by Eshoo, will direct the U.S. government to:

  • Identify threats of persecution and other early warning indicators of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes against Iraqi and Syrian religious or ethnic minorities that ISIS targeted for these crimes, or against other religious or ethnic minorities that are persecuted.
  • Provide humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery assistance to these communities, through entities that are effectively assisting them, including faith-based entities.
  • Support criminal investigations of perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes in Iraq, specifically ones collecting evidence that can be used in criminal trials.
  • Review U.S. relevant law and recommend how to close statutory gaps in being able to prosecute in the U.S. American citizens, or foreign nationals who come to the U.S., who have committed these crimes abroad.

The legislation is supported by more than 20 groups, including the Knights of Columbus, Family Research Council, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (Southern Baptist Convention), 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, In Defense of Christians, ADF International, Baylor University, Open Doors, Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Business Alliance, A Demand for Action, Yezidi Human Rights Organization International, Religious Freedom Institute, Center for Religious Freedom (Hudson Institute), Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Community of Sant’Egidio, International Christian Concern and the Religious Freedom Coalition.

It is also supported by all the former US Ambassadors-at Large for War Crimes, David Scheffer (1997-2001), Pierre Prosper (2001-2005), Clint Williamson (2006-2009) and Stephen Rapp (2009-2015), as well as the Founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, David Crane; Director of the Center for Religious Freedom Nina Shea; and the author of Defying ISIS, Rev. Johnnie Moore.

Smith added, “Any legitimate effort to prosecute ISIS for genocide must follow the evidence and include crimes against Christian victims. I urge the Administration to ensure that international prosecution initiatives recognize the genocide against Christians and thereby ensure justice for all victims.”

Smith has held nine related Congressional hearings since 2013 and last December led a mission to Erbil (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) at the invitation of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda, to see first-hand the plight of the 70,000 Christians – almost 1/3 of Christians remaining in Iraq – who escaped ISIS and have been sustained by the Archdiocese of Erbil with support from organizations like the Knights of Columbus and without any support so far from the U.S..

[su_button url=”https://www.faxcongress.com/Stop-Genocide-of-Christians-Now-MTE3NQ%3D%3D.html/”]Sign here to stop the genocide of Christians now![/su_button]

New Christian refugees arriving in Erbil, Iraq camps

By William J. Murray

Camps for displaced persons swelling during Mosul assault: Over the last two weeks I have received emails and urgent calls about the situation in northern Iraq. Refugee camps are being overrun by refugees from Mosul. In 2004 the city of Mosul had a population of 1.6 million. It is estimated that about 700,000 still remained after the takeover by the Islamic State in 2014. Most of the Christians fled to the Erbil area. Shia Muslims moved to other towns. Many of the Sunni Muslims stayed. Tens of thousands are now fleeing because of house to house fighting.

The Iraqi Army along with Shia Muslim militias have entered Mosul and the fighting is intense. When I was in Iraq in December, standing in the decimated town of Qaraqosh, I was close enough to Mosul to here artillery strikes in the city.

Christians who were trapped in Mosul in 2014 are now fleeing along with tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims. The result is chaos, as the Kurdish Authority who controls the area does not know who to trust.

Meanwhile the need is great.

Instead of the refugee camps we support in Erbil thinning out, there are more displaced persons arriving, many of them with babies. The Diapers for Refugees program does need to expand but the funds are not available now. The program is filling the needs of about 300 families and that is the best we can do.

Female refugees have an unmet need: One of the greatest needs is sanitary pads for women. As part of the Christmas for Refugees program last December, the family of every child who participated received hygiene materials. In these heavy plastic bags filled with soaps, shampoos, disinfectants, laundry soaps and other supplies, there were feminine sanitary pads. Some of the women visibly cried when they saw what they were getting.

The financial goal for the month of March for the Diapers for Refugees program was reached early, and I have been working to put together a program for the sanitary supplies needed for women. Our Iraqi partner is obtaining quotes for different quantities from various suppliers in Turkey. That is the only place, for now, where we can obtain high quality supplies without the expense of shipping from the United States.

This is such a taboo subject in the Middle East that even getting the men who run the ministry in Iraq to make calls to suppliers was difficult. This is not America, where products to enhance sex are advertised on TV during family hours. (I wish at least some subjects were taboo here, but it seems in the age of “gay is great” nothing is taboo in the US.)

I may travel to Iraq and Jordan in May or June to assess what is being done and how our capacities may be able to help.  The need is very great and we must make sure that the small amounts we have to help with serve the needs of persecuted Christians in the most useful way.

Please continue to pray with me for the Lord to guide us as to how best to help the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

Diaper Delivery Set for This Month in Iraq

The need is greater than we can fill: I really wanted to expand the Diapers for Refugees program in 2017 but for now we are staying with our initial program of delivering 160,000 diapers every three months to Christian refugees families with infants in the Erbil area.

The program is filling the needs of about 300 families. Tight records are kept by our ministry partner. With the help of refugee camp leaders, a list is maintained of every family with a child needing diapers. On that list is the name of the parents; the name of the child or children; the age of the child or children; the village they came from; and the number of the caravan they have been assigned to live in.

I watched the process when I was there in December. Our diaper deliveries are conducted in March, June, September and December. Because of that schedule, I was present for diaper distribution while there for the Christmas for Refugees events held for the older children.

During one of my visits to a refugee center, I saw two young children dressed in red and white for Christmas carrying home diapers for their mother who is to the left behind them in the photo at right. Parents do their best to try to make Christmas normal for their children.

The families try hard and the men who are still with their families look for work every day or volunteer for ministry work. These are hardworking, caring Christian people. Given the chance the Christians of Iraq will rebuild as they have every time since 638 when Muslims first invaded and destroyed their homes and churches.

Women’s personal needs: One area I have wanted to expand the Diapers for Refugees program in was to help with women’s feminine pads. This is a taboo subject in the Middle East and as a result there is a great need.

As part of the Christmas for Refugees program the family of every child who participated received a large box or heavy plastic bag of hygiene materials in December. In with the soaps, shampoos, disinfectants, laundry soaps and other supplies were feminine pads. Some of the women visibly cried when they saw what they were getting.

At some point, funds permitting, I want to add feminine products as a part of the Diapers for Refugees program. This is just the second year of the program and we do not want to expand too fast, particularly in an unpredictable year of a brand-new presidency.

Please pray with me for the Lord to guide us how best to help the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

Trump’s Revised Refugee Ban Doesn’t Prioritize Persecuted Christians

Christians wishing to flee the Middle East in search of asylum will not take first priority under the updated version of President Trump’s executive order on travel and refugees, which was signed Monday morning.

The new executive order does away with language about explicitly prioritizing religious minorities and loosens initial limits on who’s allowed to enter the US.

According to Christianity Today, “Current visa holders, refugees already granted asylum, and travelers from Iraq no longer face restrictions, and the indefinite ban on refugees from Syria was reduced to 120 days – same as the overall refugee population. The executive order goes into place next Thursday.”

Surveys have found that most self-identified white evangelicals approve of Trump’s temporary moratorium on refugees, but most evangelical leaders oppose it.

[su_button url=”http://diapersforrefugees.org/helping-christian-refugees/”]Babies of Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the Islamic State need diapers – Please help![/su_button]

Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief, the evangelical refugee resettlement agency, said “The issuance of a new executive order on refugees and immigrants acknowledges that there were significant problems with the first executive order that caught up green card holders and others as they tried to enter the United States.” World Relief was forced to close five offices and lay off 140 employees after Trump’s decision to decrease America’s intake of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000.

Breene added: “However, this new executive order does not solve the root problems with the initial order—the cutting of refugee admissions by 55 percent and the inability for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees to come to the United States. It is more of the same.”

Christianity Today reported:

“Trump’s new order considers “fear of persecution or torture” without explicitly calling out religious factors. The earlier one contained a provision to prioritize persecuted religious minorities once the refugee program resumed, and the president spoke in a TV interview about helping Christians in particular.

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, raised concerns that religious minorities in the Middle East need refuge more than ever.

‘There’s a dire need for President Trump to issue a separate executive order—one specifically aimed to help ISIS genocide survivors in Iraq and Syria,’ she wrote. ‘For three years, the Christians, Yizidis and others of the smallest religious minorities have been targeted by ISIS with beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture and sexual enslavement …. The Christian community is now so shattered and vulnerable, without President Trump’s prompt leadership, the entire Iraqi Christian presence could soon be wiped out.’ …

‘How do we take care of our Christian sisters and brothers in Syria and Iraq? Have we stopped to ask them what that would look like?’ wrote executive director Jeremy Courtney following Trump’s first order. ‘I don’t mean just being a safe haven to run to when their churches and homes are destroyed by violence, but whether we as a nation are pursuing the policies and diplomacy that give them the greatest chance of surviving and flourishing where they are—so they don’t have to flee their homeland.’”

Iraq 101: Christians and Other Religious Minorities

The latest in Clarion’s series explaining the situation in Iraq. This time a look at the religious groupings with a focus on the Christians.

The Diapers for Refugees program is preparing for the first diaper delivery of 2017 in March. The aim of the Diapers for Refugees program is to provide 160,000 disposable diapers every three months to displaced Christian families living in refugee camps.

These families have little-to-no access to soap and warm water to clean cloth diapers. Because of this, diseases spread quickly and families across these camps are dying from diaper rash and they need our help.

To find out more about the Diapers for Refugees program, click here.

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