The U.S Congress can play a key role in ensuring the survival of several of the minority communities in Iraq. Seeking Congress’ assistance, representatives of some of these communities in Iraq will brief congressional staff on the perilous situation that they are facing in the new Iraq, at 2pm at the US Capitol today, states a press release from the Center of Religious Freedom.
The communities, represented by the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights, want Congress’ rapid assistance in the implementation of the new Iraqi constitution’s Article 53D, which provides the basis for establishing an administrative district to provide sanctuary for the largest non-Muslim minority, ChaldoAssyrians.
According to the Center for Religious Freedom, nearly 40,000 Chaldo Assyrians have recently fled Iraq, following attacks on churches, murders, and kidnappings by Muslim extremists.
“An exodus of these Christians would substantially reduce Iraq's prospects of developing as a pluralistic and democratic society,” says Nina Shea, the Center’s director.
“Moreover,” she adds, “they are the canaries in the coal mine for moderate Muslims, as well as Christian minorities, throughout the Middle East."
The smaller Mandaean, Roma and Yazidis communities have also suffered persecution and violations of fundamental human rights
The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) was founded in 1993 and is the largest coalition of religious and ethnic minorities in the Near East.