Humanitarian Situation (Iraq)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:12 pm on 9th July 2014.

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Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Labour, Cynon Valley 4:12 pm, 9th July 2014

I will attempt to do so, Dr McCrea, as soon as I can. I am obviously not very good at timing myself. I have several questions that I am sure the Minister will be able to answer.

A recent Guardian report states that ISIL has been looting antiquities from the region and selling them in the international marketplace. That happened previously after 2003 when many of Iraq’s antiquities were looted; I understand that many of Syria’s antiquities have also gone. Some $36 million of antiquities, up to 8,000 years old, were allegedly taken from the al-Nabuk area alone. Given that the UK is an important antiquities market and to stop funding for terrorist organisations and impoverishing Iraqis of their heritage, should the Government not ensure that “blood antiquities”, like blood diamonds from conflict zones, are not sold here?

Many families are in need of water, food and shelter, and want to feel safe. I hope that the international community will react with generosity, as it normally does, when the UN asks for funds. I know that the UN does not have enough money—it never does—for such things, but this situation is urgent because people are already dying and the situation may get worse.