Aid to the Church in Need asks Canada to defend rights of Christians and other minorities in Middle EastFriday, February 12, 2016
In a letter to the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Andrew Bennett, Canadian Ambassador for Religious Freedom, the National Director of the Canadian Office of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Ms. Marie-Claude Lalonde, has asked that Canada join its voice with that of the “Europeans and take a position, publicly, to defend the rights of the Christian minority – and other religious minorities – of Iraq and of Syria” by denouncing the disappearance of Christians in the Middle East. In her letter, Ms. Lalonde points out that “Christians in Iraq were 1.5 million in 2004 and are now only 250,000. Those who remain are risking their lives every day.”
On February 4, 2016, the European Parliament recognized the violence against Christians in the Middle East as genocide. The resolution as adopted calls on “the international community to take urgent action to counter the systematic mass murder of religious minorities” by the so-called ISIS / Daesh, also referred to as “the Islamic State”. The European Parliament said that “these violations amount to ‘war crimes,’ ‘crimes against humanity’ and genocide'” in accordance with the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity which is recognized by the Holy See as a pontifical foundation.