Alert your networks to the humanitarian catastrophe facing Iraqi minorities

[Note: The Iraq team has spent all of today in a church with sixty-five Christian refugees from Qaraqosh, who fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  One man walked thirteen miles in his pajamas and slippers.  All churches in Suleimani are packed with refugees.  The UK government has ordered its citizens to leave Erbil.  The situation on the ground is changing by the hour, and the Iraqi Kurdistan team will attempt to provide a nonviolent perspective on what they see.  Check its Facebook page for updates.]

Refugees at the Erbil checkpoint

The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Iraqi Kurdistan and has reached catastrophic proportions.  Tens of thousands of Yazidi people (a religious minority in Iraq) are trapped by ISIS, which refers to itself as the, “the Islamic State” (IS) forces in the Sinjar Mountains without food or water.

According to reports, seventy children have died so far of heat and dehydration.  Hundreds more are likely to die in the coming days.  An estimated 100,000 Iraqis—Christians, Shabak, Yazidi, and other minorities—have fled their homes.  They are attempting to enter the area of northern Iraq controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), a region already stretched beyond capacity with more than one million internally displaced persons from the conflict with IS and refugees from Syria.  Those who cannot leave their homes risk forced conversion, kidnapping, rape, torture, and gruesome death.

While Western media has covered some of the persecution of Iraqi Christians, IS persecution of Yazidi, Shabak, Turkmen and Shia Iraqis has largely gone unnoticed.  In the weeks to come, the Iraqi Kurdistan team will be putting out a daily piece of information about refugees the team is encountering, peacemakers who are working to alleviate the humanitarian crisis or other news the team thinks the public needs to know.  WE ARE ASKING OUR SUPPORTERS TO PUBLICIZE THIS INFORMATION WIDELY.  Doing so may mean not only posting it on your Facebook page, but specifically asking twenty friends to share it on their Facebook pages.  Putting it out on Twitter, e-mail and other social networks are also vitally important, if we want, our religious communities, the general public and our governments to be moved to action.