FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Iraqi Christian Relief Council
Kurdish Peshmerga Forces Refuse Entry to Assyrian Youth in Assyrian Land
WASHINGTON, DC, March 30, 2017 — Kurdish Peshmerga forces refused entry to a group of visiting youth from an Assyrian birthright program in Northern Iraq today.
Members of GISHRU had planned to observe food aid distributions and a new water system in the liberated town of Teleskof, where 200 Assyrian families have recently returned to their homes after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria occupation. Iraqi Christian Relief Council fully funded the rebuilding of the water system in Teleskof, which the group planned to observe.
An official from GISHRU shared a video on social media of Peshmerga and Peshmerga-aligned Assyrian forces refusing entry to the group with large Kurdish Regional Government flags in the background.
Witnesses said that Peshmerga soldiers subjected the group to 45 minutes of interrogation, refused to let female Assyrian youth leave their cars, and demanded to know why the group did not speak Kurdish despite their presence in a historically Assyrian town.
“I call upon the US government not to turn a blind on to repeated oppression and subjugation committed by the so called ally, the Kurdish Regional Government. We need fair treatment and we need these indigenous people’s rights to be observed as equal citizens of Iraq,” says Juliana Taimoorazy, president and founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council.
Kurdish land encroachment and theft of Assyrian land, and intimidation of Assyrian civilians in northern Iraq has been documented by Human Rights Watch in the past. Iraqi Christian Relief Council calls on President Trump and his administration to take this report seriously and take the appropriate steps in addressing this long lasting issue.
Available for media interviews
Founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and Senior Fellow at Philos Project
Juliana Taimoorazy is internationally recognized for her work with persecuted Christians in the Middle East. She is sought after for her analysis on terror’s impact on indigenous Christian communities in Iraq and the Middle East. She has appeared in Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Al-Arabiya, BBC, The Telegraph, National Catholic Register, Fox News, The Stream, and Israel News. Juliana is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post.