Fianna Fáil has called on the European Union to act now in co-operation with the United States to aid Christians and other minorities in Iraq who are at risk from the barbaric actions of the Islamic State militia. Currently, there are thousands of Iraqis trapped on Sinjar Mountain, having fled from the advancing Isis forces for fear of severe discrimination and possible death as a result of their religious beliefs.
“The European Union has, at the very least, a humanitarian role to play in this awful situation. What we are witnessing in Iraq is truly shocking and has disturbing similarities to the beginning of many other atrocities in recent history such as Rwanda and the Balkans War. The United States has decided to engage in strategic air strikes which will hopefully halt any further advance by Isis and prevent a potential genocide occurring,” Deputy Smith stated.
“The EU has the capacity both politically and logistically to help ease the crisis in Iraq by joining with the United States in providing humanitarian aid to those thousands of Iraqis currently trapped in a most inhospitable area. Europe must start to act in a more proactive manner in addressing the serious unrest and humanitarian crises which are currently troubling many parts of the world. The failure to appoint a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union in July undermines EU foreign policy. It is a massive failure on the part of current EU Leaders who appear to be satisfied with a “hands off approach” to the many challenges on Europe’s doorstep.
“The Irish Government too must play its part. In July, I called on Minister Charlie Flanagan to prioritise the escalating displacement crisis in Iraq and to move this situation up the European agenda at the next meeting of EU Foreign Ministers. I reiterate that call again today. Fianna Fáil has raised this issue in the Dáil with the former Tánaiste, but we have been deeply disappointed by the Government’s continued disinterest in what is happening.”