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Pax Christi issue urgent appeal for Iraq's endangered Christians


Pax Christi International have submitted a written intervention for the 13th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva which opened yesterday. In the document, Pax Christi highlights the desperate situation of Iraq's minorities which are in danger of being wiped out.

The submission says: "Pax Christi International would like to draw the attention of the Human Rights Council to the gross and systematic human rights violations of the minorities in Iraq. Iraq's minorities including Yazidis, Shabaks, Turkoman and Assyrian Christians are facing a human rights catastrophe. These groups have been systematically targeted, including by Sunni insurgents who regard them as "crusaders" and "infidels." Moreover, the territories where most of these minorities reside are at the heart of the dispute between the Arabs and Kurds. The Kurdish Regional government (KRG) has claimed the disputed territory on the basis of historic and ethnic premises. These claims are however fiercely contested by Iraq's Arabs. In order to further their aims, the Kurds have offered minorities inducements while simultaneously exercising repression in order to keep them in tow. Kurdish forces frequently rely on intimidation, threats, arbitrary arrests, and detentions to coerce the support of minority communities and
have resorted in some cases to extreme violence.

Today the minorities are being threatened from all sides as they find themselves trapped between the two ethnic rivals. The violence has already resulted in the death or displacement of thousands. Since the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq's cities in June 2009, the attacks against minority groups have increased dramatically and show no sign of abating.

Each day, their situation is becoming more acute andthreatens to permanently destroy the very fabric of their communities. As they face these unprecedented levels of violence, the Christians and other minority groups risk being wiped out. This fact should be a matter of great concern for all those who believe in peace, humanity and the unconditional principles of universal human rights.

Therefore we strongly believe that the international community, including the Human Rights Council, should act swiftly and vigorously to save Iraq's endangered minorities.

To read the full document see: storage.paxchristi.net/2010-0055-en-me-HR.pdf

(The council meets from 1- 26 March 2010).

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