Wednesday, 1 October 2014

asylum #Iraq

Last Friday the government decided that it does have a responsibility to intervene in Iraq with military force.  I have today written to my local Member of Parliament Simon Burns asking him to request that relevant government departments ensure that additional steps are taken to alleviate suffering in Northern Iraq and to provide refuge and sanctuary to those most in need. I would encourage as many people as possible to do the same. It is shameful that our country lags behind so many European and other countries in responding to this need. Put quite simply, if we have a 'moral' obligation to bomb then we have a moral obligation to offer sanctuary to those who are the innocent victims of violence in Iraq.

If you wish to join me in lobbying your local MP on this matter details can be found here.

The full text of my letter is as follows:

Dear Mr Burns

Responding to the humanitarian crisis in Northern Iraq

I am deeply concerned by the gross human rights abuses being committed in Northern Iraq that is seeing thousands of religious and ethnic minorities displaced from their ancestral homes. The forced and bloody exodus of Christians and other religious minorities underlines most graphically that freedom of religion and belief, a right set out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is being denied in the most violent and systemic way possible.

I welcome the humanitarian steps the Government has taken to date, but given the distressing pictures and reports that continue to come from Northern Iraq, I fear that our collective efforts are failing those most in need.
The level of humanitarian aid must be increased significantly and its delivery must be accelerated. No effort should be spared to protect all groups forcefully displaced by this conflict. The Government should follow the example set by other European governments and make provision to provide asylum to those that are unable to return to their homes for fear of persecution and death.

As a constituent in your area, I ask you to raise these concerns with the Secretary of State for International Development and other relevant departments to ensure that additional steps are taken to alleviate the humanitarian suffering in Northern Iraq and to provide refuge and sanctuary to those most in need.

Yours sincerely,

Revd Canon Philip Ritchie

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