Bishop of Winchester calls on the Government to support religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and

    20 March 2015
    Bishop of Winchester

    The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, called on the Government to shows its support for religious and ethnic monitory communities in Iraq and Syria in a question asked in the House of Lords on 19 March 2015. The full text of the question, and the Government's response, is below.

    The Lord Bishop of Winchester:

    My Lords, even if the current operations to clear Daesh prove successful, the ancient religious and ethnic minority communities in Iraq have an uncertain future. Does the Minister agree with the statement recently submitted by the Holy See to the United Nations Human Rights Council? It said that a future without these communities in Iraq and the Middle East risks,

    “new forms of violence, exclusion, and the absence of peace and development”.

    Therefore, what steps are being taken to secure the future of those communities, and in particular, their human right to religious freedom?

    Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

    I can respond first by saying that the motion before the Human Rights Council was presented by the Vatican jointly with Russia. We are a signatory to that and fully support it. The work that we are doing with regard to humanitarian aid and our work with the International Committee of the Red Cross is fully aimed at supporting all minorities. The Christian church is clearly an important part of that. I pay tribute to those who use the £800 million of aid we provide in Syria to provide support to keep communities safe in the future and to keep them able to stay there. But it is bleak at present.