In a profound and deeply moving speech on Tuesday, US Vice President Mike Pence said that the United Nations had failed to help Christians and other religious minorities facing genocide in the Middle East or even to treat them equitably.
Pence went beyond US Secretary of State John Kerry’s March 2016 statement, affirming that the US government believed that Christians, Yazidis and Shi’a Muslims had suffered genocide in Iraq and Syria at the hands of Islamic State. Mr Pence described persecuted Christians as having suffered “genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups” implicating other jihadist groups in attacks on Christians.
He went on to say that although the US government had directed “the lion’s share” of US$1 billion through the UN:
“Christians and persecuted peoples of the Middle East have not been getting the relief they need.”
As a result, the USA would now seek to fund directly those working with persecuted Christians and other minority groups in the Middle East:
Yet the United Nations has too often failed to help the most vulnerable communities especially religious minorities. The result has been that countless people continue to suffer and struggle needlessly. Here’s the sad reality. The United Nations claims that more than 160 projects are in Christian areas, but for 1/3 of those projects there are no Christians to help. The believers in Nineveh, Iraq have had less than 2% of their housing needs addressed and the majority of Christians and Yazidis remain in shelters. While faith based groups with proven track records and deep roots in these communities are more than willing to assist, the United Nations too often denies their funding requests.
My friends those days are over. Our friends and all who are persecuted in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly. And tonight it is my privilege to announce that President Trump has ordered the State Department to stop funding ineffective relief efforts at the United Nations and from this day forward America will provide support directly to persecuted communities directly through USAID. We will no longer rely on the United Nations alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities. In the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups, the United States will work hand in hand from this day forward with faith based groups and private organisations to help those who are persecuted for their faith. This is the moment, now is the time – and America will support these people in their hour of need.