ICC Note: The United States is weeks away from reaching its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United states. Of the 9,144 Syrian refugees that have been admitted, only 47 are Christians and only 14 are Yazidis–the two groups being targeted for genocide in the region. The reason for this is that these two religious groups have avoided registering with the UNHCR for fear of retribution from other refugees in the camps.
08/24/2016 United States (CNS): With less than six weeks of the fiscal year to go, the Obama administration is speeding towards meeting its target of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States, and is currently fewer than 900 refugees away from the goal.
A total of 9,144 Syrian refugees have now been resettled in FY 2016. Of these, 9,077 are Muslims.
Among the 9,144 refugees, 47 (0.5 percent) are Christians and 14 (0.15 percent) are Yazidis–like Christians, a non-Muslim minority targeted specifically by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) for persecution.
Meanwhile the administration has admitted 8,984 Sunni Muslims – 98.2 percent of the total number admitted this fiscal year – according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.
The remaining refugees resettled since October 1 last year are 20 Shi’a Muslims, 73 other Muslims, five refugees identified as “other religion,” and one as having “no religion.”
The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR plays an important role in the early stages of applications for refugee status in the United States.
But many Christians and other minorities fleeing Syria have avoided registering with UNHCR, for reasons that include – in the agency’s own admission – “fear that registration might bring retribution from other refugees” in its camps.
Because of this, refugee advocates say Christians and other minorities may be unintentionally disadvantaged in the process of seeking refuge in the United States. (UNHCR says living in a camp is not a prerequisite for refugees to be registered with the agency.)