On 20 August, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Maria Böhmer met a delegation of Iraqi Christians living in Germany for a discussion about the alarming situation of the Christians in Iraq. Christians have been living in the region since the dawn of Christianity. Their existence is now severely threatened by ISIS terrorism. The Minister of State said that she was deeply concerned and expressed her clear support for Christians stay in the Arab world:
Christians must be able to live in safety in Iraq and Syria and practice their religion without fear of being attacked. This is very important to the Federal Government and to me personally.
The discussion also focused on the refugees’ dramatic humanitarian situation. The Minister of State described the Federal Government’s great commitment in the area of humanitarian aid and stressed the overwhelming willingness of citizens, numerous non-governmental organisations and churches in particular to help.
The visitors complained to the Minister of State that the humanitarian aid was often not reaching the Christian communities most severely affected. The Minister of State highlighted the close cooperation with the churches and church aid organisations in the provision of humanitarian assistance. She nonetheless thanked the Iraqi Christians in Germany for offering to keep her informed about the situation of their fellow Christians on the ground.
You have direct personal contacts, relatives and friends in the region. It is only thanks to reports coming directly from those affected that we can work out what is needed and what supplies are getting through. This is important as, unfortunately, a quick solution to the crisis does not seem to be on the horizon. And the winter in particular will pose a major humanitarian challenge.