NEW YORK — One week after President Donald Trump signed into law a new bill committing aid to genocide victims in Iraq and Syria, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced it has signed an agreement with the Government of Hungary to coordinate relief to Middle Eastern communities devastated by ISIS.
The Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act was signed into law on December 11 after years of lobbying by faith-based groups for greater U.S. support for the region.
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The new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by USAID Acting Deputy Administrator David Moore and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Levente Magyar of the Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians of the Government of Hungary, was signed on Tuesday.
In a statement, USAID said “The MOU with Hungary is part of USAID’s continuing effort to expand its partnerships to help endangered, displaced, and persecuted religious and ethnic minorities return home and restore their communities across the Middle East, particularly in parts of Northern Iraq liberated from the tyranny of ISIS.”
“The MOU is intended to increase cooperation through sharing knowledge, experience, and resources to develop projects in fields that include private-sector growth, housing, service-delivery, conflict-mitigation, religious freedom and other human rights,” it continued.
This week’s MOU follows another agreement signed between USAID and the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest fraternal organization that has long been involved in helping rebuild Iraq. Following the rise of ISIS, the number of Christians in Iraq is now below 200,000, down from 1.4 million in 2002 and 500,000 in 2013.
(The Knights of Columbus are a principal sponsor of Crux.)
“USAID looks forward to working with the Government of Hungary to help advance religious freedom and pluralism,” the statement concluded.