United States Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green on Foreign Assistance to Religious Minorities in Iraq

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim


For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

Today, the United States announced additional assistance for the religious and ethnic minority communities that are vital to a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Iraq. Preserving Iraq's cultural mosaic, and promoting the benefits of pluralism, are essential to preventing future atrocities, securing a more peaceful nation, and providing a foundation for economic recovery.

Nearly a year ago, Vice President Pence made a commitment to support persecuted ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq directly by increasing U.S. foreign assistance through a diversity of alliances, including with local and faith-based organizations. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has since expanded its number of partners to help oppressed communities in Iraq to 36 local, 11 faith-based, and 27 international organizations. Last week, USAID also embarked on a new relationship with the Knights of Columbus, which will allow us to work together to identify those in need with greater precision; mobilize private- and public-sector resources to help them; and collaborate on efforts to prevent, and respond to, genocide and persecution in Iraq and across the region.

Last July, Vice President Pence announced at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom a new U.S. initiative to help the victims of the atrocities committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Building on that announcement, USAID has launched the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response (GRPR) program. As part of this effort, USAID has more than doubled its total assistance to support persecuted ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq since July, to over $239 million.

I have also deployed Max Primorac to the U.S. Consulate General in Erbil to serve as my Special Representative for Minority Assistance, with the specific charge to engage with local leaders and their communities, and ensure our aid is truly reaching those who need it most.

But the measure of progress is not in dollar amounts, it is in the lives and communities we have helped revive and restore, and in the concrete progress on the ground in Iraq's Ninewa Plains. One example is in the town of Bashiqa, where USAID's assistance has repaired war-damaged houses, and provided essential household goods to enable families to return. We have funded the rehabilitation of wells that provide clean water to 12,000 residents, repaired or installed transformers and electrical equipment, financed mobile medical units and primary healthcare centers, and improved safety around schools and other key areas. USAID is helping families build a future in Bashiqa by providing 21 schools in the town with the equipment necessary for students to continue their education. We are also helping residents heal by funding events to commemorate the suffering of the Yazidi community, and by supporting dialogue among people of different faiths.

Through our new partnerships and increased resources, USAID will continue to support those who are working to create an Iraq that is peaceful, diverse, and prosperous.

Last updated: September 08, 2021

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