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09/01/2023 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – The United Nations Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) held a conference on September 1 in Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq highlighting the important ongoing international work of investigating and documenting the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Islamic State. A total of 30 Iraqi Christian leaders were present alongside political leaders and representatives from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and from various European and American nations.  

The conference highlighted the investigation’s findings regarding ISIS’ targeted genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq. UNITAD Special Adviser Ritscher shared that the genocide included “The destruction of Christian cultural heritage in Mosul and the Ninawa plains, where ISIL perpetrators targeted churches, monasteries, cemeteries, manuscripts, Christian symbols and artwork in barbaric attacks, rooted in hate and inhumanity.” 

Kurdish leaders also emphasized the Kurdistan Region’s focus on being a refuge and safe haven for Iraq’s Christians, as stated by Safeen Dizayee, Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations.“Christians are the indigenous people of this land and must continue their lives with dignity and security.” 

Dindar Zebari, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Coordinator for International Advocacy, recounted the history of Iraq Christian’s persecution and highlighted how the majority of the remaining approximately 200,000 Christians have now taken refuge in Kurdistan.  

“In the years 2003, 2006, and 2009, they suffered diverse phases of displacement from their residences due to acts of terrorism involving the destruction of churches and residences, compelling their relocation to a more stable region,” he underlined. “This migration of Christians peaked after the attacks of ISIL (ISIS) in 2014, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Christians and other communities being displaced and seeking refuge in the Kurdistan Region.” 

ICC continues to stand with partners on the ground to support Iraq’s Christian community in their resilient recovery after ISIS’ target genocide against them.  

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