- ‘Do you hear the cry of the poor?’
The fate of millions of people in this war-ravaged corner of East Africa depends on an uncertain peace agreement signed this week. A former British government minister, just back from visiting refugee projects in the area, assesses the country’s prospects
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The Chaldean Patriarch in Baghdad called for the international community to “clear the Nineveh plain from all the elements of jihadist warriors”, warning that without drastic action the world would be responsible for allowing “a slow genocide” to take place.
Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako said international efforts to halt the Islamic State (IS) jihadists and save the lives of the hundreds of thousands they have displaced are “insufficient”.
“The United States of America, due to their prior involvement in Iraq, the European Union and the league of Arab countries have the responsibility to act quickly for a solution,” he said, because the central Government and the Regional Government of Kurdistan were not effective.
He added: “If the situation does not change the whole world should take the responsibility of a slow genocide.”
“While the suffering increases … the international efforts to alleviate their pain are insufficient,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
The patriarch also urged the international community to rescue the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing terrorist fighters of the newly established Islamic State (IS) by airlifting them to safety in Baghdad.
The UK today carried out a third round of aid drops, as the UN warned that tens of thousands were still trapped on mountains near the Syrian border. On-going US airstrikes have targeted militants near Erbil, where families seeking shelter have resorted to sleeping on the street and in parks.
Pope Francis today wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, “with an anguished and heavy heart”, renewing his urgent appeal for action to end the humanitarian tragedy.
The Pontifical Council Cor Unum announced that Francis had donated to its aid programme, which was reaching 4,000 households.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he would cut short his summer holiday by a day to chair an emergency meeting of the Government's emergency response committee, Cobra.
The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols urged the Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammond, to increase Britain’s role in the existing efforts.
In a letter released this morning Cardinal Nichols called for more humanitarian aid and “a sustained focus on creating a more stable society based on respect for fundamental human rights, especially freedom of religion, and the rule of law.”
On Thursday evening an ecumenical prayer event will take place in Parliament Square in London and on Saturday the charity Aid to the Church in Need is holding a Mass for persecuted Iraqi Christians at St Patrick’s, Soho Square.
Top: Volunteer Iraqi Shiite militia members stand guard against Islamic State militants. Photo: CNS photo/EPA
Above: Iraqi internal refugees in Erbil. Photo:© Ankawa.com and © CAPNI
Western countries have turned a blind eye to the cleansing of Mosul’s Christians 25 July 2014 by Robert Ewan