Patriarch Sako insists on the right of return of displaced Christians to their homes, farms
"Winter is only months away and those lands need to be tended to as soon as possible or else the ghost of famine will start its quick march toward the survivors of this war."
NEW YORK (Aug. 29, 2014)—Louis
Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq—though grateful
to the international
community for the emergency measures
undertaken to prevent further massacres—today expressed grave concern about the fact that as yet the Iraqi homes and farms
(the majority of them belonging to Christians) in the fertile plains of Nineveh
are still under ISIS control; and that no effort is being made to recover them.
In a statement obtained by
Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the Patriarch explained that up to
now the Church has been playing an active role principally in hosting and
securing “a survival quality of life” for more than 120,000 Christian refugees,
many of them children, elderly and women. Among these refugees too, however,
are farmers; they are the owners of those stolen or damaged farms covering the
vast Nineveh Plains. The inability to return to tend the land with the onset of
winter only a few months away adds a further concern, the Patriarch said: the risk
of a famine.
“Nothing has been planted.
Farms and materials have been damaged or stolen and we have as refugees in
our Churches, hospitals and schools, in a state of total dispossession, some of
the most qualified Iraqis who could pick the country out of its war misery,”
the prelate said. “Winter is only months away and those lands need to be tended
to as soon as possible or else the ghost of famine will start its quick march
toward the survivors of this war.”
Patriarch Sako is urgently
asking the international community to support the Right of Return of the
displaced Christians –so that they may reclaim their villages before winter