Iraqi Christians facing "a real genocide"

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Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad Raphael Louis I Sako

Iraqi Christians facing "a real genocide"

By John Newton/acnuk.org

Following the fall of Iraq’s largest Christian town late last night (6-7 August) the leader of Iraq’s biggest Catholic community has made an impassioned plea for help to the international community.

In an open letter Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako described the humanitarian crisis that followed the seizure of Qaraqosh by jihadist group ISIS (now calling itself the Islamic State) after Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers withdrew.

Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad Raphael Louis I Sako said: “The Christians, about one hundred thousand, horrified and panicked fled their villages and houses [with] nothing but with the clothes on their backs.”

Describing the event as “an exodus, a real via crucis” he went on to add: “Christians are walking on foot in Iraq’s searing summer heat towards the Kurdish cities of Erbil, Duhok and Soulaymiyia, the sick, the elderly, infants and pregnant women among them.

“They are facing a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide. They need, water, food, shelter...”

Patriarch Sako called on the international community to intervene in the current crisis – as he accused the Iraqi government of being unable to restore security in the Ninevah Plains.

He said: “We appeal with sadness and pain to the conscience of all, and all people of good will and the United Nations and the European Union, to save these innocent persons from death. We hope it is not too late!”

Not only did the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church state that “the Central Government is incapable of enforcing law and order in this part of the country” but expressed “doubts about the capacity of the Kurdistan Region alone to defend the fierce advance of the jihadists”, describing a lack of cooperation between central government and the Kurdish regional authority.

Patriarch Sako also said “international support and a professional, well equipped army” was key to protecting citizens from ISIS attack.

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 21:08
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