Iraqi Christians need better protection, UN envoy says after deadly bombings

13-07-2009iraq1.jpgGates locked outside a Christian church in Basra, Iraq, in this undated photo
13 July 2009 – The top United Nations envoy to Iraq today called for a redoubling of efforts to protect the country’s Christians, as well as its other minority communities, following a series of “orchestrated” bombings over the weekend that hit several churches.
The weekend attacks in the capital, Baghdad, and the northern city of Mosul reportedly killed at least four people, and injured dozens more, including children.

“This campaign is aimed at terrorizing vulnerable groups and preventing the peaceful coexistence of different religious groups in what is one of the world’s cradles of religious and ethnic diversity,” said Ad Melkert, the newly-appointed Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq.

Mr. Melkert, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), called on all parties, including the Government, to redouble their efforts to protect minorities in the country.

This will contribute to preserving Iraq’s cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, he added.

An upsurge in attacks, threats and intimidation had forced more than 12,000 Christians to flee Mosul – Iraq’s second largest city – last October. Some of them later returned after hearing that the security situation had improved.