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Patriarch calls on UN Security Council for urgent, comprehensive action to help, protect Christian refugees
On March 27, 2015, at the invitation of the government of France, Patriarch Louis Sako I--worldwide leader of the Chaldean Church--addressed the UN Security Council which was in special session to discuss the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Noting that "the Islamic extremist groups refuse to live with non-Muslims" and "are persecuting and uprooting them from their homes and erasing their history," the Patriarch called for the "liberation of all Iraqi cities and for us Christians, Yezidis and Shabaks, especially the city of Mosul as well as the towns in the Nineveh plain and villages; providing an International Protection for their inhabitants, who were forced to be displaced from their homes (Secure Zone); and promulgating a Real Estate and Property Law that ensure their rights in their lands, and enabling them to return home and resume their lives in a normal way."
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you may know, this year is the centenary of the massacres against Christians in 1915. Now a hundred years later, we are living a similar catastrophic situation, which pushes many families to leave the country. It is a big loss for all. Frankly, the so-called Arab Spring impacted negatively on us. While if we had the opportunity of working in harmony with the mosaic of religions and ethnic groups in our region, there would have been a driving force in the region towards peace, stability and progress.
From this tribune, I would like to convey a message inspired by the spiritual and humanitarian values: The positive coexistence, on the basis of justice and peace in the spirit of love and citizenship, should remain at the upper level of priorities for the Security Council and the United Nations.
With regards to my country, I call for supporting the Central Government and the Regional Government of Kurdistan towards the liberation of all Iraqi cities and for us Christians, Yezidis and Shabaks especially the city of Mosul as well as the towns in the Nineveh plain and villages; providing an International Protection for their inhabitants, who were forced to be displaced from their homes (Secure Zone); and promulgating a Real Estate and Property Law that ensure their rights in their lands, and enabling them to return home and resume their lives in a normal way. There is also a responsibility for the Central Government to compensate them for the damages incurred.
The major problem lies in understanding the different factors of state: religion, citizenship, individuals, community, the role of woman and the national education, in order to live together in peace and respect.
The Islamic extremist groups refuse to live with non-Muslims. They are persecuting and uprooting them from their homes and erasing their history (the memory). It is an ideological crisis and a way to monopolize the power, disabling institutions and restricting freedom.
This horrifying situation needs to establish principles, based on international laws, aiming to prevent this catastrophic discrimination against the human being and mankind.
At the same time, it is important to understand that these terroristic acts should not be generalized to all Muslims. In fact, there is a silent and peaceful majority of Muslims that reject such politicization of the religion; they are accepting to live a common live with others within the civil state and according to the law.
Peace and stability cannot be achieved solely by military actions; as they are unable to dismantle this clustered way of thinking that destroys human beings and stones -- the civilization.
This indicates that the international community including the Arab League and the Conference of the Islamic Countries are required to take legal decisions and definitive measures. This could be achieved by adopting political, cultural and educational solutions. These solutions should be appropriate to protect the national mosaic represented by individuals, persons and groups regardless of their religion and ethnic background. They have to safeguard the rights of the all citizens and strengthen the relations among them.
Particular attention should be paid to a more significant threat. Millions of children and young people are deprived of schools and education. Millions of refugees are being in camps without care and attention. The growing frustration, unemployment and poverty could easily develop an atmosphere of revenge and extremism. Therefore there is the necessity to take care of these refugees responding to their needs and decreasing their pain.
A practical process is proposed to get out of this vicious cycle:
ACN photos: Christian refugees in Erbil