This year, The United Nations Secretary General has drawn special attention to the plight of suffering Christians and Yazidis from Iraq and Syria.
“It is very important to ensure the return of the Christians, in general, to the religious minorities, and the Yazidis themselves, to their homeland,” said António Guterres
According to the Christian Journal, Guterres made his comments Monday during a meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.
During the past six years, war has caused an estimated five million Syrians to leave their country and another seven million to become internally displaced.
Starting in August 2014, Islamic State attacks in eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq caused more than 500,000 Yazidis to become refugees.
Since the defeat of ISIS, thousands of Yazidis have returned to their home villages in Kurdistan’s Sinjar Mountain region, but they are still under threat of attack.
This spring, Turkey’s President Erdogan threatened to send troops against the Yazidi people of Sinjar because some are members of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a Kurdish group that has fought for years against the Turkish government.
Erdogan believes the PKK uses Sinjar as a base of operations against his country.
Several nations – including the United States have designated the Yazidis as victims of religious genocide. International law requires their protection and punishment for their persecutors. Syrian and Iraqi Christians have received the same victims of genocide designation.
In addition to refugees, the United Nations reports there are 40-million internally displaced (IDPs) people and more than three million asylum seekers worldwide.
According to the UNHCR, 16.6 million people were newly displaced worldwide in 2017– the highest number ever recorded by the UN.
The majority to them came from Syria, the DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, and Iraq.
Most refugees are from the countries of Syria, Afghanistan. South Sudan, and Myanmar.
Of particular concern are 700,000 Rohingya ethnics who fled violence in Myanmar for Bangladesh in 2017.
Their migration is considered to be one of the largest mass migrations of a people group in modern world history.