CNEWA Canada

Iraq’s minorities at risk as battle to drive out Daesh wages on

Ottawa, Ontario — With the battle to reclaim Daesh-controlled Mosul underway, Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) is warning the increased fighting and resulting chaos will once again uproot hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, exposing vulnerable sectors of the population such as minorities, children, expectant mothers and the elderly.

“The longer the fighting lasts, the greater the likelihood that more Iraqis will be displaced,” said Carl Hétu, CNEWA Canada National Director. “Resources in Iraq are already very strained and the impending humanitarian crisis is already compounding existing needs, in particular the ones of the minorities.”

Since 2003, Iraqis have been forced to flee multiple times, for example the expulsion of some 120,000 Christians by extremists in 2014. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 1.2 million Iraqis are currently at risk of fleeing their homes.

CNEWA Canada’s current appeal for programs in Iraq will help to continue providing education, medical care, psychological and spiritual care, and the basic necessities, such as food, shelter and heaters for winter.

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, recently visited CNEWA’s head office in New York and discussed the hope felt by the local Christians, but said that the liberation of Mosul will cause a new challenge: “How are we going to convince them to go back to their villages? We need a plan.”

Following years of instability, with the fabric of families and communities torn apart, many groups will once again have the opportunity to live together, which will require increased social, political and economic support.

The liberation of Mosul, which would be a major loss for Daesh, could last months.

Canadians interested in making donations to help CNEWA and its partners in Iraq are invited to do so by visiting or to write a cheque to CNEWA Canada (Marked Emergency Iraq) at 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 6K9 or by phone at 1-866-322-4441. As a registered charity, CNEWA will issue a tax receipt.

CNEWA, founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, is well-established in the Middle East with offices in Amman, Beirut and Jerusalem. CNEWA currently administers projects and programs in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. Elsewhere, CNEWA works in the northeast of Africa (Ethiopia), India and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine.

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