United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: [email protected]
Yesterday, President Trump signed into law the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018, sponsored by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA). The bill, which received broad bipartisan support in the Congress, is another tangible demonstration of the United States’ support for international religious freedom and survivors of genocide in Iraq and Syria.
At the direction of the Trump Administration, and as part of a wider U.S. Government effort, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has engaged survivors of the genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to rebuild, recover, and return to their ancestral homes. USAID-funded projects are helping children return to school, doctors to reopen clinics, families to reconstitute livelihoods, municipalities to restore essential services, and communities to reconcile. USAID will continue to work hand-in-hand with local communities, to address barriers that impede the delivery of assistance that they desperately need.
Yet, there is still much left to do. The Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act is a positive next step, as it provides authorization to enhance recovery aid, and to pursue transitional justice. This is a vital piece needed to ensure that the component communities of Iraq and Syria are able to return home, recover from their trauma, and thrive.
The Iraq and Syria Genocide Accountability Act affirms the policy of the United States to ensure that ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria receive humanitarian, stabilization and recovery assistance. It also directs the Department of State and USAID to support entities that are working to address the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes perpetrated by ISIS against religious or ethnic groups. Included in the Act is an assessment to address barriers to the safe and voluntary return of ISIS-affected communities.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Congressman Chris Smith, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, and countless other advocates for religious freedom, USAID will continue to work alongside other U.S. Government partners in order to further advance the United States’ commitment to help these ancient communities heal.