September 9th, 2014
Iraqi Christians: Baroness Cox writes a Letter to the Editor of The Times
On 8th September a letter from Baroness Cox appeared in The Times signed by herself and six other peers commenting on the displacement of Iraqi Christians and urging government response.
Sir, We urge the government to respond to the plight of 100,000 displaced Christians living in life-threatening conditions in Erbil in northern Iraq, who have been forced to flee from the Islamic State’s brutal persecution.
Although local Christian communities have established a handful of refugee centres, thousands of people, including newborn babies and the elderly, are packed into church halls or tents. Others live in steel structures and on the concrete floors of unfinished buildings; many people have no adequate shelter from temperatures as high as 45C.
Although the UN, the Department for International Development and British non-government organisations have responded quickly to humanitarian needs, supported by the British public, there is an urgent need for a longer-term solution to ensure lasting safety and stability: either “safe havens” for those who wish to remain in their own land (which has been their home for 2000 years), or an organised exodus. Many countries have taken Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Britain is conspicuous by its refusal. We therefore urge the government to grant some Iraqi Christian refugees asylum in Britain.
UK bases in Cyprus would be an ideal staging post to assist transport from northern Iraq for those seeking refugee status in other countries. Our participation in the two Iraq wars has implicated us in creating the current situation. Hence, becoming intimately involved in resolving the crisis would help to rebuild good relations with the Iraqi people.
LORD ALTON OF LIVERPOOL
LORD GRIFFITHS OF BURRY PORT
LORD CURRY OF KIRKHARLE
LORD MCCOLL OF DULWICH
Published in The Times on Monday 8th September.
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