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ICC Note: A new piece of legislation calls for the United States to take an active role in providing solutions for Christians and other religious minorities who have suffered from persecution at the hands of Islamic Extremists. The bill looks at providing not just short-term aid but focuses on rebuilding communities that have been devastated by conflict in Iraq and Syria.

09/29/2015 Middle East (Christian Today) – A landmark resolution introduced in Congress last week could mean that vital action is taken to defend Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, Christian Today has learned.

Speaking from Washington, executive director of A Demand for Action, Steve Oshana, said he hopes the resolution will be passed before the end of the year. He has worked closely with lead sponsors Congressmen Dave Trott and Brad Sherman, and believes that the legislation represents a “very strong effort on behalf of Christians in Iraq and Syria”.

The bill, House Resolution 440, calls specifically for urgent international action on behalf of those facing “a dire humanitarian crisis and severe persecution because of their faith or ethnicity” in the region.

It demands that the US Administration provides humanitarian assistance to help re-establish the livelihoods of those displaced by the crisis, and that the US Permanent Representative to the UN work with the relevant agencies to document ongoing human rights abuses.

“Recent extremist attacks on civilians in Hassake, Syria, and the Ninevah Plains have exacerbated the serious dislocations and pressures facing individuals within this population of concern, and have had a particularly severe effect on ethnic and religious minority communities such as Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac Christians, Armenians, Yezidis, Shabal and other minorities in the region, where civilians require immediate and urgent access to potable water, health care, fuel, electricity and basic security,” the resolution states. It calls for sustainable solutions to these problems, and for UN agencies to coordinate with international humanitarian organisations to develop a long-term plan.

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