ASIA/IRAQ - Christian refugees welcomed in Slovakia ask to be repatriated

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 refugees  


Bratislava (Agenzia Fides) - At least twenty of the 149 Iraqi refugees who have been in Slovakia for a few months on the basis of a "selective" welcome program reserved for Christian refugees, have decided to return to Iraq, justifying their choice with nostalgia for their land and the difficulties of adapting to the cultural context of the country that had welcomed them. The Iraq returnees – report local sources - were part of the group of Iraqi Christians from the villages in the Nineveh Plain, who had been forced to leave their homes in August 2014, before the advance of the jihadi militias of the Islamic State (Daesh).
The group had arrived in Slovakia on 10 December, thanks to the mobilization of the Pokoj association in Dobro (Serenity and generosity), and still represents the only group of refugees welcomed in the Slovak territory with the consent of the local government. In April, a similar "selected" welcome program reserved for Christian Iraqi refugees had been suspended in the Czech Republic, in reaction to the attempt carried out by 25 Christian refugees who, after arriving in the Czech territory, had tried to move without permission to Germany (see Fides 09/04/2016).
Even that welcome program, aimed specifically at Christians refugees, was a test implicitly attuned to the currents of thought - especially active in some Eastern European Countries - that consider Christian refugees as more "suitable" to be welcomed in Europe, compared to their Muslim compatriots. But even then, many Iraqi Christians, shortly after their arrival in the Czech Republic, had asked and obtained to return to Iraq, claiming to feel nostalgia for their homeland and feel uncomfortable in a cultural context perceived as foreign.
The Czech government is among those who are opposed to the proposed relocation of refugees among European countries in accordance with the quota system. Surveys show that more than 60 percent of Czechs are opposed to accommodating refugees fleeing from war zones. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 18/05/2016)