The State Department will instead send the money directly to Christian charities

US Vice-President Mike Pence has announced the State Department will directly fund faith-based organisations helping displaced Christians in the Middle East.

Speaking at dinner sponsored by the group Defense of Christians, Pence announced that President Donald Trump has ordered the State Department to divert funds away from the United Nations, which has been accused of failing to Christians rebuild their communities.

“Our fellow Christians and all who are persecuted in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly,” Pence said. “And tonight, it is my privilege to announce that President Trump has ordered the State Department to stop funding ineffective relief efforts at the United Nations. And from this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through [the United States Aid Agency.]”

He added that the United States would no longer rely on the UN to help persecuted Christians, accusing them of failing to assist vulnerable communities.

“Here is the sad reality: the United Nations claims that more than 160 projects are in Christian areas. But for a third of those projects, there are no Christians to help,” the vice-president said.

“The believers in Nineveh Iraq have had less than 2 per cent of their housing needs addressed and the majority of Christians and Yazidis remain in shelters. Projects that are supposedly marked finished have little more than a U.N. flag hung outside an unusable building, in many cases a school.”

The announcement comes days after a report showed Christians around the world were facing the worst persecution in history. The research by Aid to the Church in Need said the UN was failing to “offer Christians in countries such as Iraq and Syria the emergency help they needed as genocide got underway.”

John Pontifex, who edited the report, said: “The pervasive nature of persecution – and evidence implicating regimes with whom the West has close trading and strategic links – mean that it behoves our governments to use their influence to stand up for minorities, especially Christians.

“No longer should Christians be sacrificed on the altar of strategic expediency and economic advantage.”