Across the globe, religious minorities have long histories of being persecuted. The conflicts and growing religious extremism in the Middle East have rendered many religious minorities more susceptible to abuse than at any time in recent history. In Syria and Iraq, IRAP has worked with several different populations subject to targeted violence, particularly amid the rise of the Islamic State, including: Assyrian Christians, Chaldeans, Sabean-Mandeans, and the Yazidis. We work with these populations regardless of their religious affiliation, helping them escape immediate threats, find safe harbors, and seek resettlement.
Many of these cases receive expedited treatment, enabling these refugees to build new lives in the United States and several European countries. IRAP is currently working with the European Union and U.S. authorities to decrease processing times for threatened religious minorities. We also participated in drafting and introducing to the U.S. Congress the Protecting Religious Minorities Persecuted by ISIS Act of 2015, which, if passed, will provide special protection to religious minorities fleeing persecution by the Islamic State.