The U.S. Must Take Action!!!! USCIRF to Secretary Rice: U.S. Must Address Threats to Religious Minorities in Iraq

usc.gifThe U.S. Government needs to take action. That was the message from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan federal agency. In a letter from Chairman Michael Cromartie to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he urges the U.S. government to address the severe threats to Iraq’s smallest religious minorities.

“We commend Mr. Cromartie on the letter and fully support his message,” said Jackie Bejan with the Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Council of America (CASCA).

In the letter Cromartie writes, “While all Iraqis are threatened by violence, the non-Muslim minorities face particularized forms of harassment and abuse; what is more, these groups appear to suffer a degree of violent attacks and other human rights abuses disproportionate to their numbers.”

The Commission urges the U.S. government to take more effective action to respond to the flood of refugees and internally displaced people—a crisis that has grown in part due to sectarian violence. The Commission will hold the second of two public hearings on the situation in Iraq on Sept. 19. This hearing will examine intra-Muslim sectarian violence, including what role, if any, the Iraqi government currently plays in that violence. That hearing will also examine U.S. policy in relation to Iraq’s refugee crisis.

In the letter, the Commission urges several steps the U.S. government and Iraqis can take to boost protection of Iraq’s endangered religious minority communities, including police training and the U.S. government convening a symposium of minority representatives to examine ways to improve security. It calls for increased humanitarian and development assistance and measures to ensure that aid reaches the intended beneficiaries. The Commission also recommends increased U.S. support for international agencies working with displaced people.

The Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Council of America (CASCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to matters of public policy and political purpose of the common benefit of the society of Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac people in Diaspora and those in the indigenous lands of Bet-Nahrain.

For additional information, please visit or contact Jackie Bejan at .