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H.R. 390 Takes Another Key Step Forward Toward Assisting Christians in Dire Need

9/19/17 Washington D.C., (International Christian Concern) – Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act. This bipartisan bill allocates funds to directly assist persecuted religious groups in Iraq and Syria that are victims of ISIS’s genocide, while also providing resources for holding the perpetrators of these crimes accountable in a future tribunal.

The bill was amended to include S. 905, the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act, which seeks to provide justice for victims of these crimes.  The amended bill will now go back to the House to be considered.

Approval from the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee is a critical step in the legislative process. In June, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the legislation, and the administration has been vocal in supporting attempts to provide relief to the refugees from this region.

In total, according to House findings, the number of Christian and Yezidi refugees fleeing Iraq and Syria have numbered in the hundreds of thousands, with more leaving each week. Author and human rights advocate Ewelina Ochab asserted that between 50 and 75 families continue to flee Iraq on a weekly basis. She estimates that more than 250,000 Iraqi Christians currently live outside of Iraq, having fled their homeland to escape religious persecution. Relief provided by H.R. 390 will give assistance to those who are most in need, allowing for more religious minorities to remain in their homeland.

Nate Lance, ICC’s Advocacy Manager, stated, “I am encouraged to see this bill move forward as it provides urgent and vital support for people who have been through so much. This is a strong step toward providing the relief that they desperately need to remain in Iraq and Syria.  This carries numerous positive ramifications for the future stability of a more religiously diverse Iraq and Syria.  I remain optimistic that H.R. 390 will urgently be ushered through the remaining legislative hurdles so that those who have suffered under ISIS can receive the aid that they need and deserve.”