Charity claims Christians fleeing ISIS are facing discrimination

Tue 31 Oct 2017
By Premier Journalist

According to Christian charity The Barnabas Fund, Christians who want to flee Islamic State in Syria have been placed lower than Sunni Muslims on the list for receiving asylum.

Last week Barnabas Fund obtained figures that claim that the UN has only recommended "tiny token" numbers of Syrian Christians, Yazidis and other minorities for resettlement in the UK.

The charity said the overwhelming majority of refugees recommended by the UN have been Sunni Muslims who form the majority in Syria. But Christians, and other minorities have been repeatedly targeted for attack by Islamist groups such as IS.

The new statistics, obtained in a Freedom of Information Request to the Home Office by Barnabas Fund, of the religious background of Syrian asylum seekers recommended by the UNHCR for resettlement in the UK revealed:

  • In 2015 out of 2,637 refugees there were only 43 Christians, just 13 Yazidis and only one Shia Muslim.
  • In 2016 the statistics were even worse. Out of 7,499 refugees there were only 27 Christians, five Yazidis and 13, Shia Muslims.

Christians make up 10 per cent of Syria’s pre-war population and Shia’s make up around 1.5 per cent.

Martin Parsons, Head of Research at Barnabas Fund said: “This is shocking behaviour by both UN and UK officials. In 2005 the UN formally adopted the responsibility of states to protect citizens from genocide and crimes against humanity.

"These statistics show that the UN has itself failed miserably and inexcusably in this respect.

“Christians and other minorities in the Middle East have been treated shamefully by the UN. And the UK government has abjectly outsourced its own responsibilities to the victims of genocide in spite of repeated representations."

Several national parliaments and the US State Department have declared that Christians have been specifically targeted and possibly subject to genocide.

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