Trump signs new law to help religious minorities

US President Donald Trump has signed a new law to help ensure humanitarian relief reaches the members of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria.

The legislation aims particularly to help groups targeted for genocide by Islamic State militants.

It enables financial and technical assistance for the humanitarian, stabilisation and recovery needs of former and current religious minority residents of Iraq and Syria.

In addition, the act enables the US State Department – in collaboration with other federal agencies and other entities, including faith-based groups – to conduct criminal investigations.

It also enables them to apprehend individuals identified as alleged IS members and to identify warning signs of genocide and threats of persecution.

“In recent years, IS has committed horrifying atrocities against religious and ethnic minorities in Syria and Iraq, including Christians, Yazidis, Shia and other groups,” Trump says.

Trump says the legislation directs US assistance to persecuted communities.

In addition, it will enable government agencies to help groups that are investigating and prosecuting what he calls Islamic State’s “despicable acts.”

Officials of the Knights of Columbus took part in a signing ceremony at the White House.

“The legislation signed today again reminds us of America’s earlier efforts to aid victims of genocide – Christian communities targeted by Ottomans a century ago and Jewish survivors of Shoah,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson says.

With the bill now law, he says “America speaks with bold moral clarity and political unanimity.”

The Chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, Archbishop Timothy Broglio says the new law is a “critical” measure and “a signal of hope for the critically vulnerable of this region.”


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