THE region’s leading churchman is calling on the Government to take international leadership in helping those suffering in Iraq.

The Archbishop of York urged the Government to use its membership of the UN Security Council to support calls for the creation of safe havens.

He also called on them to follow the governments of France, Germany and Australia in offering asylum to those being persecuted.

Dr John Sentamu, currently on a week-long vigil for peace in York Minster, made the calls on his website following UN reports that 670 people were executed by ISIL in the city of Mosul in the worst recorded massacre committed by the Salafi-Jihadist group.

“It is essential that Her Majesty’s Government now take a lead both internationally and domestically to respond to the daily unfolding horrors in Iraq,” he wrote.

“Internationally the Government must take a lead in its role on the UN Security Council to support calls from the United Nation’s own committees for the creation of a ‘safe zone’ in Iraq, enforced by UN peacekeepers, to protect the country’s minorities.

“As a member of the Security Council the Government has voice and a chance to act. It is essential that they not only take the opportunity to do so but show leadership by encouraging others nation states to do the same.”

He went on: “Domestically the time has come for the Government to show leadership in offering asylum to those at risk of persecution. Other countries have acted already. France, Germany and Australia have already acted.

“The Government must show that it has the courage to offer sanctuary to the suffering and to demonstrate that right policies triumph over political calculations.”

He added: “The time for hard hitting speeches and condemnation has passed. What is required now is action to protect those at risk from slaughter.”