Barbara Keeley MP

LABOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

Christians in Iraq

I share the concerns that have been raised by many international organisations about human rights abuses against Christians and ethnic groups in Iraq and Syria.

The UK Against Daesh Coalition has campaigned to raise awareness of the suffering of Christians at the hands of Daesh in Iraq. We know that Daesh has perpetrated the most heinous of crimes including mass murder, torture, enslavement and unimaginable sexual violence. The UK Against Daesh Coalition has prioritised humanitarian aid and the preservation of Human Rights in its fight against Daesh.

I firmly believe that people should be able to practice and profess their religious faith freely. It is a fundamental element of the peace process and I feel that we have an international responsibility to protect religious minorities across the world.

The persecution of Christians, and other religious groups and minorities, is entirely unacceptable. The work of human rights organisations and charities is important in highlighting human rights abuses and in reminding us that in certain parts of the world religious freedom is still ruthlessly oppressed. The Conservative Government must commit to supporting these organisations by providing proper levels of funding as well as raising public awareness.

Upholding human rights should be a driving force of the UK's foreign policy and I believe that Conservative Ministers should use the UK's influence to stand up for the rights and freedoms that every person is entitled to.

In Iraq, it is incumbent on the UK to remind the Iraqi Government consistently about the importance of upholding the rights of all Iraq's minorities, including Christians. The UK must continue to encourage political and religious leaders to publicly condemn sectarian violence.

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