ASIA/IRAQ - The struggle for political elections affects the return of refugees to Mosul and the Nineveh province

Thursday, 22 February 2018 middle east   oriental churches   refugees   jihadists   politics   elections   religious minorities   ethnic minorities

Mosul (Agenzia Fides) - The maneuvers and pressures of the political forces in view of the upcoming Iraqi political elections, scheduled for May 12, are heavily influencing the return of displaced people who had left Mosul and large areas of the Nineveh province during the years of the jihadist regime imposed by the militants of the so-called Islamic State (Daesh). This is in particular supported by the militants of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (UPK), who accuse the rivals of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (PDK) of hindering the return of refugees from Mosul and the province of Nineveh still hosted in the camps in Erbil, in order to encourage them to vote for their candidates in the next general election. In this operation, the PDK militants - support the rivals of the UPK - have also scattered checkpoints through the communication routes linking the governorate of Erbil with Mosul and several districts of the Nineveh province, including that of Sinjar, inhabited mainly by the Yazidi minority.
There are at least 800,000 internal Iraqi refugees who continue to live in camps set up in the Erbil and Dohuk regions. Among them are also included many of the tens of thousands of Christians who had fled their villages on the Nineveh plains in the summer of 2014, in front of the offensive of the jihadists of Daesh. Even activists of the Yazidi component, in recent days, have referred to pressures implemented by the PDK to get votes and electoral support from that community.
The UPK militants urged the federal government, the Electoral Commission and the Iraqi parliament not to renounce the electoral rules for displaced people to return home, to allow them to exercise their right to vote in their areas of origin. The alarms launched by UPK and Yazidi members join those launched by Hanin al Qaddo, a parliamentarian belonging to the Shabak minority component, who denounced the existence of a plan to deploy US troops in the Nineveh province during the elections, upon request and guarantee of the Sunni component.
In these days the Redemptorist, Bashar Warda, Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, during lectures and interviews carried out in the USA reported that Christians who remained in Iraq after the last years of conflict and violence are now less than 200 thousand. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 22/2/2018)

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