Iraq: Authorities begin to document abuse and violence against Christians
Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi
A committee of the security forces in Iraq has been set up, on the orders of Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi, to collect information about the violence and abuse suffered by Christians in Iraq and in particular in the capital. The committee aims to counter the escalation of kidnappings of Christians and the illegal expropriation of Christian homes.
The heads of the Committee have already visited the headquarters of the Chaldean Patriarchate in Baghdad and spoken with Patriarch Louis Raphael I in order to start collecting data and information about the abuses suffered by Christians. The committee’s first step is to carry out a census of the real estate stolen from Christian families. The investigation is collecting the title deeds and establishing which individuals, groups and corporate bodies are now benefitting from the illegally expropriated properties.
In recent months, both in Baghdad and in other Iraqi cities, many properties have been illegally taken from thei Christian owners, through the use of false legal documents. These crimes have taken place thanks to collusion of corrupt and dishonest officials.
The parishes and Christian communities will be able to also provide information to the security committee regarding the cases of kidnapped Christians. In Baghdad alone, between late June and early July, four Iraqi Christians had been kidnapped, and two of them were found dead by the police, despite the ransom paid by their families to the kidnappers.
On 13 July, Patriarch Louis Raphael I had made a public appeal to political authorities and institutions in Iraq, demanding greater protection from the gangs for Christians.