HIAS Responds to Recent Developments in Iraq

In response to recent developments in Iraq and the U.S. government’s ongoing humanitarian efforts, HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield issued the following statement:

"We at HIAS are devastated to see once again that religion is being used to persecute rather than to welcome, and to harm rather than to heal.  Breaking the Islamic militants’ siege of Mount Sinjar doesn’t solve the larger humanitarian crisis. We are horrified to see growing numbers of displaced Iraqis fleeing extreme religious persecution following the takeover of Northern Iraq by ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and subsequent actions by the Mahdi Army and other terrorist forces.  We support the U.S. government’s ongoing humanitarian efforts, particularly those aimed to help the thousands of Yazidi Kurds, including children, who have been trapped in the mountains without food and water. The U.S. government must continue to work with the government of Iraq, its neighbors, and the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) to ensure that those who flee their homes have a safe humanitarian space until it is safe for them to return or necessary for them to be resettled to a safe third country.

At times like these, faith-based agencies like HIAS have a particular obligation to be part of a humanitarian solution, and we stand ready to work with the U.S. State Department and UNHCR to meet the needs of displaced people and new refugees."

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