WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump has signed into law the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018, which will provide humanitarian relief to genocide victims in Iraq and Syria and hold accountable Islamic State perpetrators of genocide.
“The legislation signed today again reminds us of America’s earlier efforts to aid victims of genocide – Christian communities targeted by Ottomans a century ago and Jewish survivors of Shoah,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a Dec. 11 statement.
With the bill now law, “America speaks with bold moral clarity and political unanimity,” he added.
Anderson and other officials of the Knights of Columbus took part in a signing ceremony at the White House.
(The Knights of Columbus are a principal partner of Crux.)
As chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services praised the new law, calling it a “critical” measure and “a signal of hope for the critically vulnerable of this region.”
The law enables financial and technical assistance for the humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery needs of former and current religious minority residents of Iraq and Syria. The assistance may come through the federal government or other entities, including faith-based groups.
In addition, the act enables the U.S. Department of State – in collaboration with other federal agencies – to conduct criminal investigations and apprehend individuals identified as alleged IS members, and to identify warning signs of genocide and threats of persecution.
In Iraq, the number of Christians is below 200,000, down from 1.4 million in 2002 and 500,000 in 2013, before IS militants went on a genocidal campaign, according to figures provided by Smith’s congressional office.
Many of the remaining Christians in Iraq are displaced, mostly in Irbil in the Kurdistan region, and need assistance to return to their homes and stay in Iraq. Of the 550,000 Yezidis who remain in Iraq, about 280,000 are still displaced and also need assistance to return to their homes.
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