Christians and other religious minorities fled ISIS into what is known as Kurdistan. With greater autonomy, Kurdistan is now agitating for independence. However the situation in Kurdistan is disheartening. As an influx of Christians arrive, they face discrimination and are treated as second class citizens. Even though Kurdistan’s laws offer a great degree of protection for religious minorities, many communities are not receptive of these religious minorities and act violently against them. Additionally, Kurdistan’s limited resources and security situation encourages them to put restrictions on religious minorities. If Kurdistan does not protect religious freedom now, then upon becoming a state it will not be inclined to begin protecting minority rights.
06/06/2017 Kurdistan (Crux) – After the Islamic State ravaged large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014, religious minorities targeted for genocide fled into Kurdistan – but a new report alleges continued discrimination against them.
“We praise the Kurdistan Regional Government for sheltering and protecting these oppressed groups and urge it to continue to take steps to ensure that these communities realize their rights and fully participate in society,” said Father Thomas Reese, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
He made his remarks in the wake of the release of the commission’s report on the situation for persecuted religious minorities in Kurdistan.
The report, “Wilting in the Kurdish Sun,” was prepared for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) between May and August of 2016 and released on June 1.