As Iraq fights back against ISIS, a call for the protection of Christians, other vulnerable communities

Iraqi troops, aided by Iran and--at some remove--by the US, have begun the fight to recapture territory seized by ISIS. While he welcomes the initiative, the leader of the Chaldean Church calls for protection of Christians and other vulnerable communities caught in the fighting.

By Patriarch Louis Sako I

THE CHALDEAN Patriarchate expresses its deep concern regarding the situation of the innocent civilians caught in the region’s conflict zones. The so-called "organism of the Islamic State" is burning everything: human beings, stones and civilizations.

On the other hand, as the Iraqi army, side-by-side with mobilized populations, is in the process of liberating some of the occupied areas, this has displaced thousands of families, putting them on the road towards an unknown future, without any on-site, organized plans to rescue them.

Christian refugee children, Erbil

We strongly call on the central government in the country and the international community to act as soon as possible to ensure the protection of innocent civilians and to offer them the necessary assistance in lodging, food and medications; as well as taking care of thousands of students at universities and schools.

As Christians, we already experienced this tragedy, during the deportation of our people from Mosul and the cities of the plain of Nineveh; our suffering is still continuing, as we remain stranded far from our homes. This is obviously a human catastrophe that cannot brook any silence. This situation, when it is prolonged for so long, will be difficult to control and will have enormous negative consequences for the future.

Therefore, we urge the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly in Baghdad to consider these emergency needs in an extraordinary meeting, and to discuss this situation that threatens to only go from bad to worse.

Louis Raphael I Sako
Patriarcha Babylonensis Chaldaeorum

March 9, 2015

ACN photo: Christian children stranded in Erbil, Kurdistan

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