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ICC Note: Since 2003 mass migration has practically eliminated the Christian population of Iraq. Christian activists in the country are greatly concerned with the survivability of the Church in their country as scored of people, particularly young people continue to migrate to Europe and other western countries. These same activists have criticized European officials for encouraging such migration as it has directly affected the situation in Iraq.

12/31/2016 Iraq (Rudaw): The continued migration of Iraq’s Christians to Europe will have long-lasting impact on their vulnerable communities across the country including in the Kurdistan Region, warn several Christian activists Tuesday. The activists say the exodus of especially young people is “so high” it could endanger the future of the Church in the ISIS-stricken country.

“Migration is a human right to ensure stability and security in the life of an individual, but the mass migration of Christians from Iraq will inevitably have an unpleasant impact on the future of the Christians in Iraq and Kurdistan Region,” said Head of the Human Rights Committee in the Kurdistan Region, Zia Botrus.

Botrus also criticized the migration policies of European nations which according to him “encouraged Christians” to leave rather than stay in their birth countries.

“The Christians in Kurdistan Region need support and if these countries want to support them, they can do much for them here,” he added.

Accurate data is still difficult to come by about the number of Christian refugees in Kurdistan Region but authorities say it could be as high as 200,000 people with the majority of them living in Christian townships of Ainkawa and Shaqlawa north of Erbil.

Once a safe haven for the Christians in the Middle East, the Iraqi capital has increasingly failed to protect the security of its nearly half a million Christian community, the majority of whom have migrated to Europe since 2003.

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