Chilean lawmakers ask president to denounce Iraqi violence

A family at the Khazair checkpoint after fleeing from Mosul, Iraq on June 11, 2014. Credit: R. Nuri UNHCR-ACNUR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The Chilean Congress has unanimously approved a measure calling on President Michelle Bachelet to condemn “the brutal persecution” of Christians in Iraq and to ask the U.N. to take measures for a “quick solution.”

Congressman Felipe De Mussy, who sponsored the measure, told CNA on Aug. 21, “We need to understand that there are people who are suffering greatly and although we may be hundreds of kilometers away, we have to take this one and clearly, firmly reject it.”

Brutal violence continues to plague Iraq as militants with the Islamic State, known as ISIS, have taken control of numerous cities and ordered Christians and other religious minorities to convert, pay a tax known as a jizya, or be killed.

Tens of thousands have fled the violence and are now facing harsh conditions as internally displaced persons or refugees.

The Chilean Congress agreed to ask President Bachelet “to issue an official declaration of the government of Chile through the Foreign Relations Ministry condemning the brutal persecution of which hundreds of Christian families are becoming victims in Iraq.”

In May of this year, De Mussy sponsored another measure that was adopted by Congress. It called on the government to help in finding a solution to the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria.

De Mussy said this new measure received support across all political parties in the Chilean Congress. “The day I worked on the measure, I personally approached lawmakers from various political parties and explained it to them. To be honest, the truth is that the vast majority had no idea of what was occurring in Iraq.”

“I think that when things happen that go against human rights, against the dignity of the person, I dare say that any sane person can’t look the other way. That was how it came out unanimously, the applause from the entire Congress, from the members of the Communist Party to the parties of the new majority and the parties of the center.”

De Mussy pointed out that these kinds of measures “are not necessarily binding, they are a means for the Legislative Branch to take a position.”

“Realistically, the situation that thousands of Christians are experiencing in the Middle East can’t be changed from here, but I do think that we have to realize that we live in a globalized world and that today most people, our leaders and public personalities have to reject what is happening.”

“I hope that what we have begun here in the Chilean Congress will be a starting point, a small contribution, so that other countries in Latin America and the world will also reject what is happening,” the congressman said.
 


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