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ICC Note:
“Proper access to employment, health care or education, or the safe practice of culture and religion, are far from reality for many minorities in Iraq due to ethnic, political or religious prejudice,” Minority Rights Group International (MRG) says.
11/29/2011 Iraq (Alert Net) – Proper access to employment, health care or education, or the safe practice of culture and religion, are far from reality for many minorities in Iraq due to ethnic, political or religious prejudice, Minority Rights Group International (MRG) says in its new report launched today. The London-based human rights organisation says legal and policy changes are needed to reduce discrimination and politically-motivated attacks and improve minorities’ access to public services.
In the report Iraq’s Minorities: Participation in Public Life, based on an original survey carried out among 11 minority communities in 6 key provinces, MRG found that minorities are facing difficulties in all spheres of religious and public life.
“Many members of minorities in Iraq find themselves effectively in ghettos as they are excluded from whole areas of public life. Greater dialogue, reconciliation and the development of a comprehensive legal framework must be ongoing to have real impact,” says Chris Chapman, MRG’s Head of Conflict Prevention Programme.
According to the report, the right to worship remains fraught for all minority groups. Only 47 per cent of all religious minorities felt safe visiting places of worship. They may also fear wearing religious symbols publicly, especially minority women, who often need to protect themselves from harassment by hiding their religious affiliation.
“The sad fact that minorities still need to camouflage their identity implies they are often ignored or discriminated in public life,” says Louis Climis, Vice-Chairman of the Iraqi Minorities Council (IMC). “We need to strengthen our legal system to safeguard and implement minority rights.”
Fear remains the highest among the Christian minority. Since the October 2010 attack on a Christian church in Baghdad, 1,000-4,000 Iraqi Christian families alone left their home town immediately, seeking refuge in other parts of Iraq.

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