Father Youkhana issued a statement on this rewarding. The attahed is the English version of the statement. To read the official Syriac and Arabic versions, visit:
The award was announced in the annual meeting of the society that took place in Bonn, Germany on 11-12 April 2008. Mr. Karl Hafen, the president of society presided over the ceremony. He said in the announcement that IGFM decided to award this yearâ€™s prize to Father Youkhana for his tireless efforts to help and support the needy, suffering, oppressed, and terror stricken Iraqi Christians.
In his speech, Father Youkhana thanked IGFM for their efforts to support Iraqi Christians and to bring their sufferings to the attention of officials and public in Germany, Europe and worldwide.
Father Youkhana elaborated on the current situation of the Iraqi Christians and their sufferings under the Iraqi governments since the founding of the new state of Iraq in 1921 stating that Iraqi Christians joined all Iraqis in hope of living a prosperous future after the fall of Saddamâ€™s regime in 2003.
However, the realities in todayâ€™sâ€™ Iraq are contrary to what they hoped, especially in Middle and South of Iraq where the terror campaign has continued against them with the most horrifying means that deeply touched their daily livelihood. Among which are the bombings of Churches, abduction and assassination of the Clergy, Rape, and imposition of Islamic cultural and social lifestyle that are aimed to uproot our people and to empty Iraqi from the people who built its history and civilization, the process that represents a loss to Iraq and mankind alike.
He concluded that our peopleâ€™s options in middle and south Iraq are either martyrdom at the hand of terrorist organization or to flee.
Thousand of our people are internally displaced (moved to the North) and more that 100,000 had left Iraq to the neighbouring countries.
On the opposite side, he continued, we can see another reality in Iraqi Kurdistan; the differences are not only in terms of security, they are also manifested in political, cultural, social rights and rebuilding of the villages and townships. Father Youkhana provided examples and proofs for that.
Diaspora is meaningless without a country, and hence our obligation to support our people in the mother land.
He finally appealed to the European countries, churches, and organizations to provide moral, financial, and political support to the Iraqi Christians to stay in Iraq and live in peace side by side with all Iraqis on bases of equality, democracy and without discrimination.
He also appealed the EU to put pressure on Iraqis to limit the Islamic legislation from the Iraqi Constitution and to include in it the political rights of the small ethnicities and their rights in Autonomy and to support the civic societies with attention to human rights fields and to tie the European economical and political support to the Iraqi government with Iraqâ€™s obligation and attainments to the human rights of the minorities for the minorities are the real indicator on the measure of the human rights.
He also called on to provide economical support to rebuild the infrastructure and the execution of programs that are aimed to resettle the displaced Christian Iraqis in Nineveh Plain and Kurdistan and to support Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria
He ended his acceptance speech saying: “We might be helpless but we are never hopeless”.
We congratulate our people and father Emanuel Youkhana for this honour, wish him success, and ask him to do more to serve our Chaldean Syriac Assyrian people in bringing their past and present sufferings to the attention of so many organizations and governments worldwide.
Christian Aid Program â€“ Nohadra â€“ Iraq