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Iraq: Christianity

Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether any estimate has been made of the number of Iraqi Christians (a) displaced and (b) killed since March 2003; and if he will make a statement. (210489)

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered some 280,000 Iraqi refugees throughout the region. Of the total registered, approximately 42,000 are Christians.

The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) estimates that out of an assessment of over a million individuals, approximately 55,000 are Iraqi Christians who have been internally displaced since 22 February 2006.

We do not have an estimate of the number of Iraqi Christians killed since March 2003.

It is not the UK's policy to provide direct assistance to any particular religious group in Iraq. Rather, we channel our assistance through established international organisations, notably the UN, with the mandate to provide protection to all refugees regardless of ethnicity or religion. We are committed to alleviating the humanitarian situation, both for internally displaced people in Iraq and for Iraqi refugees in the region. We have committed over £149 million in humanitarian assistance to international agencies working in Iraq and the region since 2003—including £17 million for this year.