A UN conference has announced a plan to protect minorities persecuted by the so-called Islamic State in the Middle East.

Speaking at the conference in Paris of 60 countries on Tuesday, 8 Sep., French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said several countries would announce financial pledges in the coming months for projects ranging from reconstruction of infrastructure to restoring basic services.

“We will not sit back and let the historic diversity of the Middle East disappear,” said Fabius, who warned it would be a mistake for Europe to take in all refugees persecuted by Islamic State militants.

France will contribute €25m ($28m) for projects including mine clearance, housing and support for refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

A teenage Yazidi told AFP last week that IS was running an international market in Iraq where women from her community and Christians were sold as sexual slaves. Jinan, 18, spent three months in the hands of jihadists before she managed to flee.

At least 300,000 Christians have fled Syria since the outbreak of war in 2011. There are only about 400,000 Christians in Iraq today, compared with 1.4 million in 1987.

Sources: Reuters, AFP