Persecuted Religious Minorities of Iraq |

Persecuted Religious Minorities of Iraq

IRAQ: Iraq is in an unprecendented humanitarian crises. Following the brutal rise of the Islamic State (IS) in August 2014 many thousands of persons belonging to Iraq's ethnic and religious minorities have been murdered, maimed, abducted, tortured, displaced, including forced into marriage or sexual enslavement, and children taken into training camps. Property has been marked and looted while cultural and religious heritages have been destroyed. Around 2 million displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, with little more than the clothes on their backs. Both the USA and the European Parliament has declared that IS/Daesh is committing a genocide against Christians and Yazidis, and other religious and ethnic minorities.

Christians, who numbered around 1.3 million in the year 2000, are now estimated to be as low as 250,000 persons only. Most Christians fled to the Christian suburb of Erbil called Ankawa. Here in 2014 they fled only to find themselves living in unfinished buildings with exposed wiring and water leaks, church halls and sanctuaries, gardens and in tents. Now, in 2016 and little hope of returning to their homes in the Nineveh Plains, they live in difficult conditions in internally displaced camps or sharing small apartments with many families.

Over 5000 Yezidi women and girls were captured and sold as sex slaves. Thousands still remain in captivity and are trafficked throughout Iraq, Syria and the Middle East. Those that have managed to escape have suffered unimaginable cruelty and trauma. Prior to June 2014 it was estimated that the Yezidi population was about 700 000, now it has fallen to 500 000, of which most live in displaced camps.

They are desperately depending on aid for their survival.


Photo Credit: Clay Cook with Nadus Films and Unseen

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