IRAQ: EU PROPOSAL ON REFUGEES, MGR SLEIMAN (BAGHDAD) "AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY"

Mgr Jean b. Sleiman, Latin Archbishop of Baghdad, said he is sceptical about the EU announcement, made last 27 November, the EU will try to accept up to 10,000 Iraqi refugees, especially the most vulnerable ones such as the members of religious minorities. "Does the EU want to help Christians or to encourage the emigration of minorities from Iraq? Such a proposition is seen by exhausted people in Iraq as an invitation to leave the country," he declared to the SIR. On the other hand, "Non-Christians who are also suffering bad times in their country, will see that Christians, who are already unjustly accused of collaborating with the Occident, will be favoured by this measure," he added. "Certainly, people in need must be helped, but the solution is not a mere emigration. Iraq is their country and needs their presence. Not everyone is in the same situation. Giving political asylum to those who are menaced with death is a remarkable act of solidarity. But giving it indistinctly to all those who had fled the country is like encouraging everyone to do the same thing." "Wouldn’t it be better to put the government in the position of giving back to the state the authority and the means it requires to be restored as judge and protector of society? Christians and all other Iraqi citizens need a state of law."

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