ASIA/IRAQ - Christian parties raise new alarm over illegal land acquisitions in the Nineveh plain

Wednesday, 21 June 2023


Mosul (Agenzia Fides) - Five political groups led by Christian leaders and activists have issued a new alarm over large-scale real estate operations which, according to them, aim to change the balance of the demographic composition in the Governorate of Nineveh, area of traditional rooting of the Chaldean, Assyrian and Syriac communities. In a document signed by the leaders of the five parties, on the basis of information received from official and community sources, they denounce the fact that the municipalities of Nineveh are promoting transactions for the sale and ownership of residential lands in the center of the Talkeif district, one of the districts of the Nineveh Plains, to individuals who are not from the region and who are not of the Christian component. These initiatives are a clear violation of Article (23/3/b) of the constitution and the decision of the Federal Supreme Court, numbered 65 for the year 2013, which interpreted the article as a real prohibition to carry out real estate acquisitions of land for housing with the aim of changing the demographic balance between the different components of the Iraqi population, in a way that responds to a sectarian mentality. According to the leaders of the parties who signed the statement, this mindset still guides the choices "of many of those who currently hold power, despite claiming otherwise".
The drafters of the pronouncement appeal to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Construction, Housing Municipalities and Public Works, asking them to intervene immediately and instruct the relevant authorities, in order to "halt any measures aimed at sorting and distributing lands in the areas of historic settlement of the indigenous Christian communities in Iraq".
Politicians are also demanding the establishment of municipal departments and new administrative units in areas of the Nineveh Plains, in order to promote the development of infrastructure and services and to counter the processes that continue to fuel the emigration of Christians and hinder the return to their homes of those who had fled the plain when it had largely fallen under the control of jihadist militias from the so-called Islamic State (Daesh). The document ends with a call to Christians to counter racist and sectarian practices and mentalities "that undermine the foundations of harmony, peaceful coexistence, and genuine national partnership". The alarm concerning the alteration of the demographic balance in the Nineveh Plain is launched by five political groups: the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa), the National Union of Beth Nahrain, the Abnaa al-Nahrain Party, the Assyrian National Party and the Chaldean-Assyrian-Syriac Popular Council. The appeal was not signed by the "Babylon Movement", which controls four of the five seats reserved for Christian deputies in the Iraqi Parliament. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 21/6/2023)