Marginalized Iraqis look to the international community for "action and support," he added. "We hold you all accountable for this. Iraq, the country which has so often been harmed, now looks to you all for help. We believe we have a future, and we ask you not to turn away from us now."
After his briefing of the Security Council, Archbishop Warda said that Christians and other minorities in Iraq stand with "Muslim protestors as together they seek a better life, based on equality regardless of religious belief. Either Iraq will develop as these protestors hope, moving away from political violence and the current sectarian power structure and taking its rightful place among nations who respect the rights of all regardless of their faith, or it will slide backwards, a fate previewed in the killing of protestors and most notably with the genocide and other carnage at the hands of ISIS. In this latter case, Iraqi sovereignty too will be undermined as its strong neighbors meddle in its internal affairs."
Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, said his community will not have public Christmas celebrations, "out of respect for the dead and wounded among protesters and security forces, and in solidarity with the pains of their families," The New Arab reported Dec. 3.
"There will be no decorated Christmas trees in the churches or streets, no celebrations and no reception at the patriarchate," he stated.
The Iraq protests, which began Oct. 1, are largely in response to government corruption and a lack of economic growth and proper public services. Protesters are calling for electoral reform and for early elections.
Government forces have used tear gas and bullets against protesters. Some 17,000 protesters have been injured. According to the BBC, at least 12 security personnel have died amid the unrest.
Prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced Nov. 29 he would resign, though he will remain as interim PM until his successor is chosen. The announcement came shortly after Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shia spiritual leaders in Iraq, called on parliament to withdraw its support from the government.
Iraq's constitution, adopted in 2005, establishes Islam as the state religion and the foundation of the country's laws, though freedom of religion is guaranteed. The constitution was largely backed by Shia Arabs and by Kurds (most of whom are Sunni), and opposed by Sunni Arabs.
This post-2003 settlement includes a quota system based on ethnicity and sect, which has fostered corruption and patronage.
In the Fund for Peace's Fragile States Index 2019, Iraq ranked 13th out of 178 countries, placing it in an alert category for state vulnerability and in the company of Haiti and Nigeria.
And Iraq was ranked 168 out of 180 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, in the company of Venezuela.
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