Tens of thousands of Christian genocide survivors in Iraq and Syria need our help now and it is essential that emergency humanitarian aid for the survivors be provided. 

The Christians in Iraq—who have survived unimaginable horrors—think the United States and global community have abandoned them. They are at-risk from freezing winter temperatures and require emergency help.

The Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul, Nicodemus Sharaf, who had to seek refuge in Erbil from ISIS, recently said, “We are the last people to speak the Aramaic language. Without help, we are finished.”

Many of these Christians who are currently displaced in Northern Iraq have received no assistance from the U.S. government, despite the millions of dollars our government has poured into relief efforts.

The Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil—which has been supporting more than 70,000 Christians and other minorities such as Yezidis who escaped ISIS—has received no funding from the United States or any government whatsoever. Organizations that are effectively providing aid to Christians and other minorities—such as the Archdiocese of Erbil—should be prioritized to receive U.S. humanitarian funding.

Syrian Christians are also in need of urgent assistance and protection. Cities like Aleppo—home to a significant Christian population—have been destroyed by the war.

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)—who visited Iraq last December to meet with Christian survivors of the ISIS genocide—has introduced bipartisan legislation along with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and over 22 co-sponsors to provide emergency relief to survivors of genocide and ensure accountability for perpetrators.

The Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act (H.R. 390) would help Christian survivors of genocide in three critical ways:

Raise your voice in support of H.R. 390, click here now to write to your Representative!

1) Assistance for victims of genocide 

Directs the United States to provide assistance, including cash assistance, to support entities that are effectively providing assistance to genocide survivors from Iraqi and Syrian religious and ethnic minority communities. U.S. humanitarian assistance to Iraq and Syria has been supporting the operations of the United Nations and other international organizations. Most Christians are not receiving this aid, however, since they are not going to U.N. camps because they are often targeted for violence or because they fear sectarian retaliation. As a result, these minorities often do not get “official” aid.

2) Accountability for perpetrators of genocide

Directs the United States to provide funding and other assistance to support entities that are conducting criminal investigations, building Syrian and Iraqi investigative and judicial capacity, collecting evidence, and preserving the chain of evidence for eventual prosecution in domestic courts, hybrid courts, and internationalized domestic courts, against perpetrators. It also directs the United States to review existing U.S. criminal statutes for gaps in being able to prosecute Americans, or non-Americans present in the United States for crimes against humanity. This is important because if there is not further action to develop additional documentation and preservation, the physical evidence will be lost which will jeopardize justice for the victims of genocide.

3) Asylum for victims of genocide

Amends U.S. law to enable Iraqi and Syrian genocide survivors from religious and ethnic minority communities to access the overseas US government interview process for applicants to the US Refugee Admissions Program without needing a referral from the UN, and NGO, or the US government. This is important because according to the U.S. State Department, of the roughly 20,000 Syrians referred to the U.S. for resettlement by the UN, less than 1% are non-Muslim religious minorities. This is because Christians and other minorities are not going to U.N. camps because they are often targeted for violence or because they fear sectarian retaliation.

Raise your voice in support of H.R. 390, click here now to write to your Representative!

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