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CCCB Asks Prime Minister Harper to Help Iraqi Christians

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(CCCB – Ottawa) In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is asking the Government of Canada to give special attention to the situation of Iraqi Christians wishing to leave their country because of threats and attacks.

Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg and President of the CCCB, noted that “since the events of 11 September 2001, it seems the emphasis has been on increasing security measures, and Canada has become less welcoming to those seeking asylum.”

His letter also indicates that over the past two years, Christian communities in Iraq have been facing growing violence, with many Christians being forced to seek refuge in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon in the hope of receiving visas to countries in the West or to northern Kurdistan.

Archbishop Weisgerber asked Prime Minister Harper to “intervene so particular attention at least can be given to Iraqi Christians who are approaching Canadian consulates.” Although the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration recently announced that measures would be put in place to expedite family sponsorships of Iraqi refugees, the CCCB President said he hoped the Government of Canada would also increase the maximum number of Iraqi refugees to be admitted into our country, as happened during the Kosovo crisis and during the war in Sierra Leone.

The CCCB President noted that a number of Catholic dioceses have sponsorship agreements with the federal government and are ready to assist Iraqi refugees, but the government needed to open up opportunities so these resources can be mobilized.

Last Updated on Tuesday, October 20 2009  
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