By Anglican Journal staff
A family shelters in a primary school in Alqosh, Duhok after fleeing their home in Mosul. Photo: UNHCR/S. Baldwin.
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has announced that it will send an initial grant of $10,000 through the ACT Alliance to help aid some of the more than one million people displaced by violent conflict in northern and western Iraq.
ACT Alliance members Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Christian Aid (CA) are working with local partners such as REACH (Rehabilitation, Education and Community Health), a Christian Aid partner since 1996, to provide food, clean water and psychosocial support and trauma counselling in the Kurdish region, Karbala region, and Nineveh Plain area of the Mosul Governorate of Iraq. The effort is intended to provide:
- 12,500 displaced families and their host communities with access to clean water
- 5,500 vulnerable families with emergency food relief
- 5,000 vulnerable people with support services for psychosocial and health care
- 400 families with needed household supplies
- 400 families with health and hygiene kits
- Over 400 families with cash assistance
The United Nations News Service reports that the Kurdistan region alone is now sheltering more than 300,000 newly displaced Iraqis, who are fleeing violence as armed forces of extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) have taken control of large swaths of territory in northern and western Iraq. Those internally displaced persons (IDP) further strain resources in the area that has already taken in more than 225,000 Syrian refugees, the report said.
“I am gravely concerned about the physical safety of several minority groups in Iraq, including Christians, Shia—a minority in the North, Shabaks, Turkmen, Yazidis and others, who are being persecuted on the grounds of their religion and ethnicity,” said Rita Izsák, the UN’s special rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák, in a press release. “Reliable information indicates that religious minorities are being targeted and their members subjected to abductions, killings or the confiscation of their property by extremist groups,” she said.
“In Mosul for instance, members of minorities were given an ultimatum that by July , they should convert, pay a tax, leave the city, or face execution,” Izsák said. “Credible reports suggest that some members of the Yazidi and Shabak communities who refused to do so were taken before religious courts and later executed.”
According to the UN report, between January and June of this year, 5,500 Iraqis were killed and 12,000 have been wounded. Almost 900 were killed in July.
On July 21, the UN Security Council condemned ISIL’s persecution of Christian and other minority groups, while the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the group had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The UN secretary-general’s special representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, has also condemned ISIL’s recent destruction of the prophet Jonas tomb and mosque in Mosul, as well as several other historic monuments.
Those wishing to direct a PWRDF donation directly to aid for Iraqi refugees are asked to contact Jennifer Brown at PWRDF: 416-924-9199 ext. 355 or 1-866-308-7973 and are reminded not to sendcredit card numbers by email or fax.
Anglican Journal News, July 31, 2014