Iraq: Dutch MP calls for autonomous Assyrian Christian region in north

chiesssa_irrraaaqaqq_1b-200×1501.jpgThe Hague, 18 Nov. (AKI) – A Dutch member of parliament Joel Voordewind, is urging the Netherlands to help Iraq’s Assyrian Christians establish their own northern autonomous region and police force, the Assyrian International News Agency reported on Thursday.

Voordewind’s move comes after a spate of deadly attacks targeting Iraq’s Christian minority of approximately 500,000, which has left its members in fear of their lives. Most want to emigrate.

Before the 2003 United States-led invasion and occupation of the country, there were around 800,000 Christians in Iraq.

Around 100,000 Iraqi Christians who have been left homeless have taken shelter in northern Iraq in the Plain of Nineveh.

Kurds, who were persecuted by late Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, were allowed to develop their own militia and police to defend themselves. They also have their own autonomous region in northern Iraq.

Voordewind, an MP for the Christian Union party, wants an Assyrian autonomous region to be governed and secured by its police and militia.

The region would be established in the Nineveh Plain in North Iraq, where around 100,000 Chistians have taken refuge since 2003.

“The three big groups, Kurds, Sunnis and Shias have their own police and militia, only the Assyrians do not have this,” said Voordewind, quoted by AINA.

Voordewind is calling on the Kurds to help the Assyrians, arguing they should give the kind aid to Christian Assyirans which they have received from the international community.

“When I visited the Nineveh Plain in 2008, Assyrians showed me messages given to them from Muslims, saying ‘you Christians dogs, leave or die,'” AINA cited Voordewind as saying.

“If we don’t help them with an autonomous region,” he adds, “they [Assyrians] will leave the country.”

Voordewind has asked the minister of defence to help the Assyrians establish an autonomous region.