Washington, DC– January 26, 2017 – IDC shares the U.S. government’s concern for the plight of refugees and displaced persons – Muslim, Christian, Yazidi and others – across the Middle East. IDC applauds the Trump Administration’s call for the creation of safe zones for the victims of conflict across the Middle East.

“The creation of these zones in the Middle East demonstrates a renewed commitment of U.S. leadership in the world, which will advance the national security and humanitarian interests of the U.S.,” said IDC Senior Adviser, Andrew Doran.

IDC believes that vulnerable groups in war-torn, disintegrating states should be assisted in the promotion of local security and governance structures that stabilize communities, protect civilians, and permit peace and reconciliation to take root.

IDC hopes for the swift implementation of improved security screening methods by the U.S. government to ensure the safety of both refugee communities and U.S. citizens. IDC also calls upon governments across the Middle East to identify and punish those in their jurisdiction who provide resources to radicalize refugees and displaced persons.

“For many years, private individuals across the Middle East have seized upon the suffering of refugees to radicalize these victims,” said IDC’s President, Toufic Baaklini. “This private financing of violent extremism has led to more terrorism, destabilization, and untold human suffering. IDC urges the Trump Administration to pressure states in the Middle East to crack down on those radicalizing refugees immediately.”

The exploitation and radicalization of these victims has led directly to concerns across the Western world about welcoming refugees who may have been radicalized.  This has had the result of making other nations hesitant to welcome those in need.

IDC further urges those states with the means, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, to contribute materially to the safe relocation of refugees from Lebanon, Jordan, and elsewhere into havens in Syria.  Similar steps should be taken to help ISIS victims in northern Iraq.  These nations should also take the lead in the funding the reconstruction of these communities. Those refugees who cannot be safely relocated in safe zones in their home countries should be welcomed by the Gulf states.

IDC has long supported a safe haven for ethnic and religious minorities in northern Iraq, where last year the U.S. government recognized that ISIS had perpetrated genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others.  The ISIS genocide in both Iraq and Syria continues.  For this reason, IDC supports all efforts aimed at the protection of distinct, vulnerable groups, including the creation of safe havens.

Addressing the refugee crisis in the Middle East, regionally and internationally, is at the heart of U.S. national interest.  The Christian communities and other minorities in the Middle East have always been a pillar of stability and voice of moderation in the region.

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