Christian organizations in Iraq frustrated with lack of progress in UN reconstruction

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Lorraine Caballero
Christian organizations in Iraq’s Nineveh Plains are reportedly frustrated with the lack of progress in the United Nations Development Program’s projects which aim to help persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the country.
(REUTERS / Muhammad Hamed)Schoolchildren react to a camera as they attend in a class after registering in school in Mosul. January 24, 2017.

Speaking to Crux in an interview, the lawyer and director of the IDP resettlement programs for the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil complained about the lack of primary necessities in schools in Telesqof. He said the schools were supposedly reconstructed by the U.N., but Christian children who survived the Islamic State’s atrocities starting 2014 returned a few days ago and found the place full of debris and weeds.

“The interior of these buildings… there’s nothing done on them!” Steve Rasche told Crux. “There’s no power, there’s no water, and there’s no furniture. After three years of disrepair they are filled with all sorts of debris.”

He added: “The most prominent work appears to be the ensuring that the UN logo got on this work.”

In addition, Rasche said the U.N.’s school rehabilitation program was all about putting “one thin layer of paint” on the outside walls of the buildings. He lamented reports about the UNDP’s significant development in the Nineveh Plains reconstruction, saying they do not see those results on the ground.

On Oct. 3, Rasche testified before a House panel and accused the U.S. State Department and the U.N. of squandering taxpayer-funded foreign aid. He said the aid programs have almost no impact on the lives of the persecuted Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in Iraq, the Washington Free Beacon relayed.

Moreover, Rasche said the mismanagement of some of the U.S. dollars will benefit Iraqis who occupied the areas that Christians once lived in. He added that there are no remaining Christians in Telkayf even though UNDP reports claim that their projects in those towns were supposed to help religious minorities.

The UNDP, on the other hand, told Crux that they will send additional supplies to the newly reopened schools in Telesqof soon. Lisa Grande, UNDP’s humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, said their priority right now is to get the displaced children back to school.