The United States has abandoned persecuted Christian refugees in the Middle East by turning their care over to a U.N. agency indifferent to their plight, a leading activist against Christian persecution reports.

“Six months ago, Secretary of State John Kerry officially designated Islamic State as ‘responsible for genocide’ against Christians, Yazidis, and other vulnerable groups in areas under ISIS control in Syria and Iraq,” Nina Shea, director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, wrote in the Wall Street Journal. 

“So why has the Obama administration entrusted the survival of these people—and so much valuable American aid—to a troubled office at the United Nations, which, like its parent organization, has never even acknowledged that the genocide exists?” she asks.

Shea accused the U.N.’s lead agency for aiding refugees, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), of marginalizing “Christians and others targeted by ISIS for eradication in two critical programs: refugee housing in the region and Syrian refugee resettlement abroad.”

She refers to a press conference last year when the U.N.’s then-high commissioner for refugees António Guterres was asked to explain the “disproportionately low number of Syrian Christians resettled abroad.”

Guterres was said to have replied that Syria’s Christians should not be resettled because they are part of the “DNA of the Middle East.”

She also writes that the reason so few Christians and Yazidis are seeking shelter in U.N. refugee camps is because they fear violence from Muslims.

Shea urged the passage of the bipartisan Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act to “ensure that American aid reaches these displaced minorities, including refugee visas for the neediest.”

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