Masrour Barzani: Kurdistan continues to protect Christians
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - Masrour Barzani, Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council said on Thursday that Kurdistan would continue to protect Christians in the Nineveh Plain and reiterated the group should remain in their regions.
Chancellor Barzani met the Archbishop of the Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Matte Warda, and stated that "Kurdistan was and will remain a model of coexistence and tolerance for religious and other minorities."
Warda confirmed that "The Kurdistan region is the safest place for Christians to live," and emphasized that the international community should offer greater support for Kurdistan and its Christians.
The two discussed the situation of Christians in Kurdistan and Iraq, especially the Christians of the Nineveh Plain.
Warda pointed out that the displaced Christians cannot return to their homes and that the air embargo imposed on the regional airports is preventing the arrival of aid to the displaced in the safe areas.
Barzani said that Kurdistan will support the Christians and will not stand silent on the situation of Christians in the Nineveh Plain and violations against them and will follow all legal and constitutional ways to protect the rights of all components.
The Nineveh plain is located in the north and north-east of the city of Mosul and includes many towns inhabited by Christians, Shabak, Yazidis and other religious minorities.
Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia militia Hashd Al-Shaabi or PMU launched an offensive in October on the disputed city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas, including the Nineveh plain.
The PMU carried out major abuses against civilians in those areas, according to reports from international organizations.
Barzani called on the Christians to remain steadfast in their areas and not to escape the country and not to submit to schemes that seek to change the identity of the region.
Some 1.5 million Christians used to live in Iraq but almost half of the population escaped the country.
The Christians in Iraq have been subject to violence since 2003, prompting many of them to go to the Kurdistan region while others left to Europe and North America for security.
The Kurdistan Region has been the only safe place in Iraq for all minorities and displaced Muslims and non-Muslims.