On 20 August Minister of State Maria Böhmer met a delegation of Iraqi Christians living in Germany to discuss the alarming plight of Christians in Iraq.
The acts of terror perpetrated by ISIS are threatening the very existence of Iraqi Christians. The Minister of State expressed deep concern about this situation and declared her clear support for the position of Christians in the Arab world:
Christians must be able to live in safety and practise their religion without fear also in Iraq and Syria. That is a matter of importance both to the Federal Government and to me personally.
The talks also focused on the dramatic humanitarian situation of refugees in Iraq. The Minister of State reported on the Federal Government’s considerable engagement in the area of humanitarian assistance and highlighted the great willingness to help among citizens, numerous non‑governmental organisations and especially the churches.
Humanitarian assistance: close cooperation with churches
The visitors expressed their concern that the humanitarian aid often failed to reach the most severely affected local Christian communities. The Minister of State emphasised the close cooperation with the churches and church relief agencies in the area of humanitarian assistance. She thanked her visitors for their offer to update her regularly on the situation of their fellow Christians in Iraq:
You have close personal contacts, family and friends in Iraq. Only via direct feedback from those affected can we learn what help is required and what is getting through. That is vital, for it is, regrettably, hard to imagine that there will be a rapid solution to the crisis. And the winter will present a major humanitarian challenge.