ASIA/IRAQ - Patriarch Sako: Parties have taken possession of parliamentary seats reserved for Christians

Thursday, 16 May 2019 middle east   local churches   oriental churches   civil society   human rights   discrimination   politics  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The major “political parties” intervene in the process by supporting certain candidates for their own benefit, “stealing” Christians’ right in having this privilege, since the reality, showed that such “elected Parliament members” do not care about the Christian component, and have done nothing in terms of providing services to them. The same thing applies to the election in municipal and administrative councils! This is what Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, once again denounces. In an articulated report on the real reasons for the migration of Iraqi Christians, the Primate of the Chaldean Church highlights the causes and possible remedies for the phenomena of emigration that are weakening the very presence of Christians in Iraq, and risk canceling forever the plurality of religious, cultural and ethnic identities that represented a resource of national coexistence. "In 1970", Patriarch Sako acknowledged, "Christians were about 5 % of Iraq’s population, and after the fall of the previous regime in 2003, their percentage dropped down to less than 2%"
The Chaldean Cardinal reports cases and concrete examples of the discriminations that penalize Christians in ordinary life, also through their marginalization in access to public and academic positions. For example Maryam Maher - reports the Patriarch in his report, sent to Agenzia Fides - is a young Christian graduate (female) with high grades and has been listed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (HESR) among the outstanding graduates of the college for the academic year 2016-2017, with a recommendation to be appointed, but the implementing agency ignored that "because she is Christian". Another example is the issuance of an official letter from the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Dr. Mahdi Mohsen Al-Alak, to replace the current President of the University of Hamdanyia with a more efficient Christian Professor, but the decision was not implemented also.
Example for the unfairness in employing people from the Christian component is disregarding the compensatory law of employing Christians to replace their Christian colleague who "resigned, left the job for different reasons or retired, this law was approved by the Council of Ministers in 2018.
Among the factors of discrimination suffered by Christians, Patriarch Sako also recalls the failure to establish special courts called to legislate on matters pertaining to personal status: all non-Muslims - explains the Iraqi Cardinal - have to be subjugated to Islamic court, in terms of spiritual, religious matters, marriages, inheritance etc. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 16/5/2019)

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