Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is considering H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Accountability Act, legislation which passed the House in June and would provide much needed humanitarian assistance to groups targeted by ISIS for genocide. Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities suffered greatly at the hands of ISIS. The terror perpetuated by the group caused thousands to flee, leaving entire families without the means capable of providing for themselves. They are desperately in need of assistance as they work to heal and rebuild their lives.
09/19/2017 Iraq (Forbes) – On June 6, 2017, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed the House Resolution 390 (H.R. 390), also known as the Iraq and Syria Relief and Accountability Act. The Act put forward by Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. Anna Eshoo is meant to be the ultimate response to the genocidal atrocities of Daesh in Syria and Iraq “to provide emergency relief to victims of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Iraq and Syria, to provide accountability for perpetrators of these crimes and for other purposes.”
The Act endeavours at assisting all victims of Daesh genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Syria and Iraq, and notably, Christians and Yazidis specifically targeted by Daesh for destruction. The provision of humanitarian assistance and justice for the victims are at heart of the Act – steps that are still long overdue and urgently needed.
Currently, the Act is stuck in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. However, on Friday, Chairman Bob Corker, Republican Tennessee, announced the next Senator Foreign Relations meeting agenda which listed H.R. 390 as the first order of business. This comes after a long delay some have blamed on the tension between Sen. Corker and the President after Corker said the President had not demonstrated enough competence to be a successful leader. The situation improved after President Trump met with Sen. Corker at the White House at which they agreed to put the past behind them. President Trump and his Administration have already expressed their willingness to assist the victims of Daesh atrocities. It’s time to put the words into action. The hearing on H.R. 390 is scheduled for September 19.
Victims of the Daesh genocide desperately need humanitarian help, medical support and resettlement. Under the Act, the US Administration is to fund organizations providing humanitarian assistance to the communities affected by Daesh and giving victims priority in the complex resettlement process.
Considering the predicament of the minorities affected by Daesh, this assistance is crucial. Looking at the situation of Christians, for example, it is clear that humanitarian assistance is an overdue response.
Since the Daesh attack on Nineveh Plains in Summer 2014, over 100,000 Iraqi Christians have left Iraq, between 100,000 and 150,000 Iraqi Christians were forcibly displaced to Erbil, and many remain internally displaced in other parts of Iraq. NGOs assess that between 200,000 and 250,000 Iraqi Christians remain in Iraq. However, between 50 and 75 families per week continue to leave Iraq (with some reports suggesting that the numbers may be even higher with 50 families per day). Iraqi Christians who have fled Iraq moved predominately to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. NGOs assess that around 250,000 Iraqi Christians live in the Middle East (outside of Iraq).