WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice President Mike Pence announced the establishment of the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program on Thursday “to rapidly deliver aid to persecuted communities, beginning with Iraq.”
Speaking July 26, at the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Pence said that he hopes that the genocide recovery program “will not only deliver additional support to the most vulnerable communities,” but also “embolden civil society to help stop violence in the future.”
The Christian and Yazidi minorities of northern Iraq were decimated by the Islamic State in 2014. While these communities are beginning to rebuild, the mass atrocities and ethnic cleansing they endured cannot easily be overcome.
Nadia Murad, a young Yazidi girl, was in the audience listening as the vice president shared her story.
“Four years ago, the butchers of ISIS entered her village and slaughtered more than 600 Yazidi men and boys, including six of Nadia’s brothers and step-brothers. Then they stole Nadia away and all the young women, and subjugated them to the most degrading form of human slavery.”
“Thousands of Yazidis remain missing to this day or in ISIS captivity,” he continued. The Yazidi women who have survived and escaped the Islamic State, like Nadia, have returned with stories of rape and torture.
The new initiative will bring together funding from the U.S. government and “the vast network of American philanthropists and believers,” said Pence. The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development will partner with local faith and community leaders to ensure “this support will flow directly to individuals and households most in need of help.”
Read more at Crux.