House of Commons
Lobby For The Minorities of Iraq-Report of meeting
in UK Parliament
The human tragedy which has followed the Iraq war was described in painful personal terms by members of the Iraqi Christian community on monday evening, 22nd July in Committee Room 16 of the House of Commons.
Several members described the suffering of their families in the years following the invasion, as Christans were victimised and singled-out by terrorists , particularly in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul.. Many of those present had familly members whose situation was still not regularised., who were not allowed to work and who had to be sustained. The cruelly slow process of Assylum was illustrated by the circumstances of many.
Still worse were the stories of familly separation as a consequence of the war. Some European countries were initially very welcoming to Iraqi Christian and other Iraqi refugees eg the Nordic Countries and France. Britain however, despite bearing the major part of responsibility for the war and its consequences, has maintained a cruel closed door policy, with only a trickle of Iraqi Christians succeeding to enter the country.
The speakers reminded Britain of its responsibilities. One speaker reminded the parliamentarians present of Britain’s special responsibility to the Christians and Mandaeans of Basra. who have had to flee, under the watch of the British armed forces.
Mr Saad Tokatly collected details of dozens of individual cases. The meeting was presided over by Lord Hylton.
Mr. Mohammed Haj Ibrahim, Head of Political Section, represented H.E. Dr. Sami Khiyami, Ambassador of Syria at the meeting
Ms Maggie Murphy represented the UNPO from the Hague (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation) and she mentioned the UNPO mission to monitor the Municipal Elections in Nineveh province recently.Therir report raised some concerns.
In attendance was Fr Tony of the Assyrian Church of the East and Mr David Drew MP, a long-tim,e supporter of the cause of Iraqi Minorities.Mr Joe Benton MP had also offered his support.
It is hoped that a delegation will be able to meet the Minister for Immigration as well as to give evidence in the official Iraq War enquiry.
Below is the speech by Mr Saad Tokatly, who represented all the Iraqi Christian churches
On behalf of all our Eastern Churches in the UK, it is my pleasure to present and taking before you. As we all know, Iraq Christians have been suffering and feeling the pain from the unfortunate situations that is still existing in Iraq.
Human tragedy in Iraq is real where homes were torn apart, and citizens were divided through different wars without any justifications and the worsening of the situation is after the fall of the previous regime: bombings, kidnapping, killings, threats,loss of jobs and displacement. That is what it is happing today to the Iraqi Christians, is totally in a disaster. There are more than half a million Christian refugees in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and those who are stranded in other parts of the world. Some are truly threatened; others should be helped to return to secure cities. Iraqi Christians wish to have all rights articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
We kindly ask the western countries, particularly Britian, at least temporarily, to welcome Iraqi Christians and other ethnic people, who have left their countries. Also, Westerns countries must apply political pressure on the government of Baghdad to tend and respect Christians and other minorities. Also, Iraqi Government must aid Christians to uphold their religions right, practices, to have freedom of thought and conscience.
We ask the members of the Parliament, the House of Lords, the peace-loving governments, human Rights organizations and individuals to help the Christians of Iraq.. We extend our great gratitude and appreciation to you, to all who believe in peace, justice and love.
Part of evidence by M Tokatly:
“I believe that there should be a change of policy by the British Government to protect the Iraqi Christians and open the doors for them to settle in this hospitable country…. . They will be an asset to this country. This country has accepted people in the past that turn out to be terrorists or convert later into terrorists. Iraqi Christians are completely different class of people and very law abiding, friendly and peaceful and hard working.
Countries that had nothing or very little to do with the occupation of Iraq, have accepted hundreds of thousands of the Iraqi refugees. I think it is a disgrace not to admit responsibility towards these helpless refugees. It was not the refugees decision to invade and occupy their country. It was the British and the American governments that brought about all the miseries to these people.
It is about time to act in an honourable way to help resettle the Iraqi Christians in this country. All this talk about talking to the Iraqi government to protect Christians proved to be fruitless. It is a country with so many powers, so much arms with so many militias who became very rich and powerful and every one of them can take the law into their own hands.”
Part of evidence by Z Tokatly
“We heard of various sad cases but there are so many, literally hundreds or thousands of such terrible personal tragedies.
Yes there were lots of Injustices during the rule of Saddam Hussien but there was security “……… “Then came the invasion and everything was changed, for the worst, the very worst! Mass murders, kidnapping of the innocent, sectarian violence etc became the “new norm” of everyday living in Iraq. The Country is destroyed and its people devastated. Mass exodus resulted to escape the terror of the Time. “War on Terror” has created a new era of terror for the people of Iraq.
The whole being was changed and who is responsible for this, yes it is the occupiers of the Land. The idea of the meeting at the House of commons was to say to the British Government …”You are the people who inflicted this unbelievable suffering on the Iraqi people, you must accept responsibility for your actions and do something about it”…It is about time!”
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