West Europe

UK government is ‘breaking the law’ over Syrian refugee policy

The British government is breaking the law and its own election promises in failing to provide aid and asylum to Syrian and Iraqi Christians facing genocide at the hands of Islamist terror groups, claimed a group of British Parliamentarians  led by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.

Lord Carey said that the disproportionately small percentage of Christians among Syrian refugees resettled in the UK points to “an institutional bias against Christians”. He cited Barnabas Fund research that Christians constituted up to 10 per cent of Syria’s pre-war population but less than two per cent of refugees coming to the UK.

He said that the government was breaking manifesto promises of “supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East”.

He claimed: “In my experience, ministers’ efforts to correct this imbalance are being blocked by often well-meaning but often hopelessly politically correct officials who claim that to support Christians is to discriminate against others. They claim they have legal advice not to tackle discrimination against Christians. I would like to see it, so I understand, would their ministers.”

The group of senior Parliamentarians including religious liberty campaigner, Lord Alton, and the Labour Peer, Lord Andersen, previously a chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, have taken legal advice which suggests that the government is breaking the law in discriminating against minorities.

Lord Anderson said:  “The evidence is clear Christian minorities are being chased out of the Middle East, the birth place of the Christian faith and the British Government in their aid policies are not responding adequately to this crisis. Government ministers must get a grip on the problem and instruct aid and other officials to focus on those who now suffer from such discrimination which also includes other minorities such as the Yazidis. This is surely what the British taxpayers would rightly expect and demand from their Government.”

Responding to the report the crossbench peer Lord Alton of Liverpool said “British foreign policy has led to the replacement of Middle East dictators with populist Islamic theocracies resulting in brutal persecution of non-Muslim minorities. The paradox is that diversity was far healthier under the dictators than it is today.”