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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 April 2019

Trump signs bill to help religious minorities in Iraq and Syria

The bill directs US assistance toward persecuted communities, including through faith-based programmes

Archbishop Bahar Matti Warda, Archbishop of Erbil and the Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Erbil, holds the pen given to him by President Donald Trump after he used it to sign the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018. Reuters 
Archbishop Bahar Matti Warda, Archbishop of Erbil and the Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Erbil, holds the pen given to him by President Donald Trump after he used it to sign the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018. Reuters 

President Donald Trump signed legislation on Tuesday to help ensure humanitarian relief reaches the members of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria who have been targeted for genocide by ISIS militants.

"In recent years, IS has committed horrifying atrocities against religious and ethnic minorities in Syria and Iraq, including Christians, Yazidis, Shia and other groups," Mr Trump said.

He said the bill directs US assistance toward persecuted communities, including through faith-based programmes. It also allows government agencies to help groups that are investigating and prosecuting ISIS' "despicable acts."

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., introduced the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act. He said the measure also urges foreign governments to help apprehend ISIS perpetrators by adding identifying information on suspects to their national security databases.

"The future of endangered religious and ethnic minorities targeted by ISIS for genocide, and pluralism in the Middle East, will depend on help from the United States." Rep. Smith said.

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Updated: December 12, 2018 08:55 AM

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