Iraq minorities facing extinction, warns rights group

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Chiqui Guyjoco
Minority Rights Group said that Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein might have been terrible, but the post-Saddam era is no way better especially with Iraqi minorities facing serious extinction.
(REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily)Iraqi Christians pray as they attend a Good Friday mass at a church in Baghdad March 25, 2016.

“The impact on minorities has been catastrophic,” said head of MRG Mark Lattimer, as reported by Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Saddam was terrible; the situation since is worse.”

Lattimer described the gist of the report on minorities, titled “No Way Home: Iraq’s Minorities on the Verge of Disappearance,” published by MRG, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, the Institute for International Law and Human Rights, and No Peace Without Justice.

The rights groups’ report found that Iraqi Christians used to be at 1.4 million before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 aiming to topple Saddam’s authoritarian regime. However, the Christian population in post-Saddam era has drastically dropped to under 250,000 currently.

Similarly, the European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance (FoRB&RT) released on June 30 its “Annual Report on the State of Freedom of Religion or Belief in the World 2015-2016” where it highlighted the threat of extinction among Christians in Iraq and Syria, among others.

“One cannot say anything positive about Saddam – he was a genocidal dictator, but for many minorities the situation is now much worse,” said co-author Lattimer.

He also expressed his hope that the long overdue Chilcot report would reveal the extent of destruction the country and its people have suffered since the Western invasion.

“Chilcot is expected to criticise ‘post-invasion planning’ but the U.K. government’s biggest — and continuing — mistake has been to support successive Iraqi governments since 2003 in a sectarian war that has cost tens of thousands of civilian lives on both sides,” Lattimer said.

The Chilcot Inquiry, also known as Iraq Inquiry, which was published Wednesday, July 6, would be examined by the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes committed by British soldiers during the invasion.