Fortenberry Introduces Security Plan for Religious Minorities in Iraq

Oct 17, 2018
Press Release

(Lincoln, NE) – Congressman Jeff Fortenberry today provided the following statement after introducing a resolution in the House of Representatives for the development of a security plan for religious minorities in Northern Iraq:

“The United States Government is accelerating, expanding, and focusing humanitarian support for Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities who have suffered genocide at the hands of ISIS,” Fortenberry said.  “At the same time, facts on the ground require a proper security settlement.  Financial assistance must be combined with a clear plan that ensures sustainable security in the Nineveh Plain and Sinjar.  At least three million Iraqis have been displaced from northern Iraq, and many are urgently seeking stability and safety in their ancestral homelands.

“Much is at stake.  Iraq and the region risk losing entire minority communities and, with them, the centuries-old healthy pluralism that played the quiet but essential role of holding people of diverse faiths together,” Fortenberry added.  “More immediately, Iran continues to expand its influence in the area, and the regeneration of ISIS remains a potential threat.

“This is why I introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives that calls on our government to develop a coordinated and implementable plan for a stabilization and security mission in the region.  The proper approach incorporates regularized national military structures, indigenous police units, and local Christian, Yazidi, and other minorities into the security forces.  Re-securitization is necessary to ensure the success of our humanitarian support for restoring the once-rich tapestry of ethnic and religious diversity that existed in the region.”

Christians in Iraq used to total 1.5 million.  Now, in the wake of ISIS, only a few hundred thousand remain.  Approximately 400,000 Yazidis are now internally displaced persons living in tent structures.  To this day, 3500 Yazidi women remain as ISIS sex slaves.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry is a member of House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations and is co-chair of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus.  He represents America’s largest Yazidi community.