Kurdistan Region remains ‘first choice’ for Iraqi Christians: Erbil Archbishop
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region remains the “first choice” destination of Iraq’s dwindling Christian population, Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.
Warda made the remark in a discussion about the ongoing dangers faced by Iraqi Christians. He noted that the Kurdistan Region had become a haven for the minority after its population rapidly decreased in post-2003 Iraq.
Many of these Christians resettled in the villages of Zakho and Duhok and Erbil's Christian-majority Ankawa district, Warda said.
In addition to finding sanctuary in the Kurdistan Region, members of the religious community have also found job opportunities in many sectors, he said.
While there is no official tally on the current number of Christians in Iraq, it’s believed that the total number is less than 250,000.
Warda noted that the Christian community in the Kurdistan Region wants more services from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Decades of political instability, persecutions, and civil strife have contributed to the mass departure of the Christians from Iraq. In 2014, the bloody rise of ISIS displaced thousands from the country.
In the three-year fight against the terror group, the Kurdistan Region has hosted over a million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said his government spends over $1 billion annually on services for displaced people living in the camps of the Kurdistan Region.