Brussels, Belgium
A delegation from the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC) representing a vast coalition of NGOs met with European Union officials in Brussels on July 3 to discuss the situation of the Christian community and other minorities in Iraq in light of the invasion by the “Islamic State” militias of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain. The delegation was led by Joe Baini, Vice President of the World Maronite Union and President of the World Council of the Cedars Revolution (WCCR) and Rima Tuezen director of the Council of Syriac Organizations in Europe. The MECHRIC delegation was mandated by the MECHRIC Conference held on June 26-28 in Washington at the US Congress where leaders from the Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, Maronite, Melkite and Coptic NGOs met and resolved to ask for an international protection for the minorities in northern Iraq. Joe Baini said after the meeting in Brussels: “Last week we participated in the MECHRIC conference in Washington held by our brothers and sisters from Coptic Solidarity and with the participation of Mideast minorities NGOs. They asked us to connect with MECHRIC Europe and visit the headquarters of the European Commission and ask for an international intervention in northern Iraq to protect the community from ethnic cleansing. We submitted an official demand to the European Union urging them to ask for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to issue a resolution under chapter 7 establishing a protected zone for Christian and other minorities.” Asked if this is coordinated with the Kurds who are demanding a referendum, Baini said “The Kurds have a right to demand a referendum and we would like to see our communities part of this referendum. But there is an urgency to send a UN protection force to Nineveh plain before a mass exodus takes place. This UN move will definitely have to be coordinated with the Government of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq.