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Resettling a fair proportion of Syrian Christian refugees in the UK


30 May 2017

Last year less than 2% of all Syrian refugees resettled in the UK were Christians. This is despite it being widely accepted that they constituted around 10% of the Syrian population. It is also widely recognised that they are specifically targeted by IS and other jihadi groups, with the UK parliament, European parliament and US Secretary of State John Kerry all stating that they believe Christians and other religious minorities are suffering genocide in Syria and Iraq. Of 4,175 Syrian refugees resettled in the UK in the year ending September 2016 only 64 were Christians and 18 Yazidis.

The next UK government should: i) pressure the UNHCR to take effective steps to eliminate discrimination against Christians and other religious minorities in its selection of refugees from Syria; ii) urgently consider operating its own initial selection of Syrian refugees rather than outsourcing this to the UNHCR; and iii) specifically include religious minorities, such as Yazidis and Christians, who are being explicitly targeted by jihadists, among groups prioritised for resettlement in the UK.