Iraq: Emergency plan for persecuted Christians from Mosul called for

SOCIETY FOR THREATENED PEOPLES
 PRESS RELEASE Göttingen/Arbil, 14th October 2008

Iraq: Mass exodus of Assyrian Chaldeans Germany has lost much time
 through sluggish and inflexible decision-making An emergency plan for
 persecuted Christians from Iraq must at last be worked out!

The dreadful murders of Assyrian Chaldean Christians are continuing
 and thousands of Christian families are fleeing from the north-Iraqi
 city of Mosul, so the German government must work out immediately an
emergency plan. This was the demand made by the General Secretary of
 the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV), Tilman Zülch, on Tuesday.
 At the same time the international human rights organisation raised
 serious accusations against the German government. “Germany has spent
 so much time in sluggish and inflexible decision-making on whether at
 all to take a contingent of these Christians from Iraq that much
 valuable time has been lost.” Berlin must now take rapid action and at
last take up a large contingent of Christian refugees from Iraq, said
 Zülch. The German government must also set up straightaway an aid and
 resettlement programme for the persecuted Christians in the Nineveh
 Plain north and south of Mosul. There the Christians, Yezidi and the
 small ethnic group of the Shabak make up the majority of the population.
  The GfbV called on the central government in Baghdad to grant
 autonomy to the Nineveh Plain, the remaining main settlement area of
 the Assyrian Chaldean Christians. Large parts of the population there
speak out in favour of annexation to the federal province of Kurdistan
 as a self-governing district.

Thousands of Assyrian Chaldean Christians have fled in panic from
 Mosul in the past few days following the murder of at least twelve
Christians in a fortnight by radical Islamists. Since August alone
 1571 Christian refugee families have sought refuge in the small towns
of Telskof, Batnaya, Talkaif, Bartalla, Baghdeda, Karmelis and Nahla
 on the Nineveh Plain. The GfbV office in Arbil was unable to ascertain
 how many others have sought refuge in the autonomous federal state of Kurdistan.

The GfbV has been documenting since 2003 the crimes perpetrated
 against the Iraqi Assyrian Chaldeans and has long been warning of an
 exodus of the Assyrian Chaldeans from Iraq. The “Chronicle of Terror”
of the GfbV proves the systematic way in which this religious minority
 is being driven out of the settlement area in which it has lived for
thousands of years. For more than two years the GfbV has been calling
 on Germany to take a contingent of the Assyrian Chaldean Aramaic
 refugees from Iraq, to give concrete support to the churches in Syria,
 Jordan and Lebanon in helping the Iraqi families arriving there and to
 offer direct political and economic assistance to the families wanting and in a position to remain in Iraq.

Tilman Zülch, the GfbV General Secretary, will be glad to answer
questions at tel. ++49 (0)151 153 09 888. Our Near-East consultant,
 Dr. Kamal Sido (tel. ++49 (0)173 67 33 980), can put you in touch with
GfbV workers who speak German or English.