The U.S. recognizes the desperate needs of the persecuted religious and ethnic communities of the Middle East and is sending immediate help. The U.S. “will not rest, until these oppressed people receive the help they need to thrive again,” wrote U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has been tasked with providing more effective and direct support to persecuted religious and ethnic minorities, including Christians and Yazidis. To this end, Administrator Green announced that USAID had redirected more than 60 million dollars in humanitarian and stabilization assistance to provide infrastructure support and lifesaving aid in Northern Iraq. “The money,” said Administrator Green, “has helped rebuild schools, hospitals, power stations and wells, and eased the transition of those returning home.”
However, in too many instances the aid has taken too long to arrive. Many of the communities with the greatest need have yet to be reached. To overcome bureaucratic and other obstacles, USAID is now redoubling its efforts to distribute the aid Iraq’s persecuted religious communities desperately need.
Every delay brings these religious communities one day closer to extinction. In Iraq, nearly 90 percent of Christians have fled in the past 15 years, emptying entire villages that had stood for more than a thousand years. The Yazidi population has been similarly decimated.
“The time to act is now” declared Administrator Green. “Christians, Yazidis, and other persecuted religious communities in the Middle East have suffered unspeakable harm for too long. Their plight has touched the hearts of the American people and stirred this nation to step up with compassion and conviction.”
“The ancient faith communities in Iraq and across the Middle East are counting on us,” said Administrator Green. “We will not let them down.”