Representatives of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and the Knights of Columbus (KoC) were received today by Mr. Mourad Wahba the Assistant Secretary General at the United Nations Development Programme to brief the UN on the situation of Christians and minority populations in the Nineveh Plains.
ACN and KoC drew attention to the ongoing challenges for Christians seeking to return to their homes, highlighted the urgency for a coordinated response to preserve these minority communities, and offered their expertise on the ground. These Catholic charities are the largest single contributors to the preservation of the remaining 95,000 Christian IDPs in northern Iraq with over $50 million USD since the 2014 ISIS invasion.
Mr. Mourad Wahba, who reports directly to the UN Secretary General, outlined the anticipated expansion of UNDP programs in the Nineveh Plains, stating: “We recognise the need for greater cooperation for the stabilisation of the Nineveh Plains, and the need to support religious diversity as a bulwark against the return of ISIS”. Mr. Wahba highlighted the importance of Christians and other minorities and welcomed more cooperation in Iraq between public and private sectors.
ACN Secretary General Mr Philipp Ozores stated: “We welcome the increase of urgently needed institutional involvement to end the ordeal of the Christians of Nineveh. Too long this help has been resting on private donors alone”.
Between 2014-2018 ACN gave $38 million dollars in emergency aid for the needs of the Christian IDPs in the Nineveh Plains. Today, with the desire of these populations to return home, ACN will provide an additional $5 million to renovate 2000 houses more of the approximately 13000 damaged or destroyed homes in an effort to resettle these ancient Christian populations.