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Volume 714: debated on Thursday 5 November 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the impact of the Iraq war on the number of Christians in Iraq. [HL6101]

The number of Christians in Iraq has declined since 2003. Some have been targeted and killed by religious extremists; others became refugees as a result of a deteriorating security situation and sought help in the neighbouring countries of Jordan and Syria; some have emigrated further afield, and some have relocated elsewhere in Iraq. Improvements in the security situation in Iraq have allowed many Christians to return to their homes; however further improvements are needed.

The Government of Iraq have condemned violence against Christians and have advocated tolerance. The Iraqi constitution guarantees the rights and freedoms of minorities and the UK continues to press the Iraqi Government to ensure these freedoms are observed. We are supporting the international agencies which provide assistance to all the vulnerable groups in Iraq, including those displaced internally and those now in neighbouring countries—both to Christians and other minorities. Our contribution amounted to £16 million in 2008-09.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our missions in Baghdad are in regular contact with Christian leaders in Iraq.