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Minority Rights Group International Ranks Iraq Second in Persecution
By Rita Abro :: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 :: 33329 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends


Baghdad, IRAQ - Minority Rights Group International (MRG) releases their State of the World’s Minority’s 2007 report was released last week.  The report highlights  minority groups in Iraq, including Christians and women, as among the most vulnerable in the world.

Iraq is home to a shrinking indigenous population of Christian groups with Chaldeans composing only three percent of the 26 million people in the country.

The minority report cited the September-October UNAMI (United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq) report that noted a spike in violence against all Christians in Iraq, including churches and convents being attacked by rocket and gunfire and religious leaders being kidnapped and beheaded in October.

Another key concern for Iraq’s Christian minority is the growing refugee crisis which has totaled more than 1.8 million people since the 2003 U.S.-led offensive. Nearly half of those seeking asylum in neighboring countries and elsewhere are Christians.



“The report confirms what has been told to us by refugees and partner organizations working with these Iraqis in the Jordanian capital,” said Sharon Payt, advocacy director for World Vision Middle East/Eastern Europe Office (MEERO), in a released statement on Monday.

World Vision is carrying out both relief work through partners among Iraqi refugees in Amman, Jordan, and an advocacy strategy through World Vision offices around the Partnership and in coalition with agencies like the UNHCR.  Most of the refugees flee to neighboring Syria or Jordan.

Women are another discriminated minority in Iraq, facing a triple threat of discrimination from religion, ethnicity and gender. Many women in Iraq are non-Muslims, according to the report, and face death threats for failing to fully cover their heads and bodies to meet the strict Islamic standard.

The Women’s Rights Association of Baghdad reported in March 2006 that the number of women attacked for not fully covering their heads and face has tripled since 2003.

Women are also the victims of “honor killings” due to family conflict and vulnerable when they become widows. Iraq has few opportunities for a widow to earn money and they are not allowed to drive alone without a male relative present.