Voices of Iraq: From Victim, to Survivor, to Thriver

Peace Building

From September 21st to 23rd, FRRME staff attended an event hosted by The Centre of Global Migration (CGM) entitled “Untold Experiences of Vulnerable Refugees”. Presented as a workshop to discuss the severe consequences of forced migration, the event brought together researchers, practitioners and policy makers to form a much needed international network for up to date discussion of the mainly ignored experiences of minority refugee populations.

Researchers included Fiona from our FRRME Team, who presented the real day to day challenges of the Iraqi Christian refugees we care for in Jordan, through Case Studies such as “Afnan’s Story”. Families have been uprooted from their culture, jobs, schools and homes to an uncertain future, awaiting responses to their asylum applications to live in Australia and Canada, for which paperwork takes months, and sometime years to process. In the meantime, skilled professionals and former business owners are not permitted to obtain work permits, and forced to rely on the generosity of the churches and partner Christian Charities, such as FRRME.

Fellow researchers at the CGM event, hosted by the University of Gothenburg, included representatives of the Mandaean and Yezidi minorities. The latter population are now experiencing their 74th Firman (or atrocity/genocide). In the words of Research Psychologist Dr Jan Ilhan Kizilhan “How can people deal with trauma; with such shame?”

It is dealing with this shame and trauma which FRRME seeks to address amongst the Iraqi Christian Refugees we assist. Whether it is the moment the ‘victim’ or refugee arrives in Jordan with barely any belongings, to processing the horror of losing their former lives, and their adoption into a new community of survivors. This recovery from trauma includes receiving relief assistance and pastoral support, to learning English at the Nazarene and Assembly of God Churches where Helena teaches (FRRME Project Officer), through to attendance at workshops which deal with the effects of domestic violence.

“Everything you have ever wanted is on the other side of fear” George Addair

But more than this, FRRME is committed to the Christian Iraqi minorities thriving. This is through the effects of political lobbying for the return of Christians to Iraq, the practical day to day encouragement of the refugees and IDPs in our care, to future potential training and business opportunities. We are enabling the Voices of Iraq to be heard, made possible by your support.

To read more on this informative conference, click HERE 

 From Victim, to Survivor, to Thriver

An art exhibition and documentary, as well as for the publication by the Centre on Global Migration, University of Goethenburg will follow in 2018. 

The Right to Return: “A Future for Christians in Iraq” Conference Brief

European Parliament, Brussels – a brief update on this significant and necessary meeting of Iraq’s Christian church leaders, politicians and NGOs:

As our FRRME supporters know, the Iraqi Christian population has decreased from 1.5 million in 2003 to around 300,000 today. Furthermore, 3 years of IS violence has meant Christians in Iraq, along with minorities such as Yezidis and Shabaks have not suffered mere persecution. The European Parliament, along with The White House, the US State Department, the U.K. House of Commons and several others have designated the atrocities committed by IS as no less than genocide.

SIGNING OF BRUSSELS PAPER on Friday 30th June 2017:

60 representatives from Iraqi Christian parties, leading Iraqi church bishops and ministers, KRG, Yezidis, Turkmen, Ka’kai, as well as NGOs, including FRRME who are a sponsoring partner, along with representatives from the EPP Group, EU (the largest political group in the European Parliament) and US State Dept witnessed the presentations from candidates, followed by a signing of a joint position paper on reconstruction, the right to return, reconciliation, security and the possibility of a Governate (not autonomy, self-rule or external force). Both the Ambassador of Iraq to the EU Dr Jawad Al-Hindawy representing Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Fawzi Harrison, Personal Representative of HE President Barzani gave presentations in support of the unique and vital part that Iraqi Christians contribute to a united Iraq, whether residing in the Kurdistan region, Baghdad or in the Nineveh Plain.

Lars Adaktusson MEP restated that the demands of Iraqi Christians of the right to live in their own homes freely, safely with the opportunity to follow their Christian faith as equal citizens in Iraqi society were just, legal and fair.

This all happened at a key time in Iraqi history. As Dr Jawad Al-Hindawy stated the 29 June 2017 marked the end of the IS caliphate, the ‘establishment of demise’ as the siege of Mosul came to an end. This is exactly 3 years to the day that the caliphate was declared in the Great Mosque in Mosul.

More analysis of the impact of this agreement will follow from our FRRME team. Click HERE copy of the proposal agreement and signatories. Further information at www.nineveh.eu

Video of signing of Brussels paper by:
Beth Nahrain Democratic Party, Beth Nahrain Patriotic Union, Chaldean Democracy Forum, Chaldean National Congress, Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council, Chaldon Ashor and Syriac Assembly Movement witnessed by Lars Adaktusson MEP, EPP Group and Johannes de Jong, Sallux.

Making a donation to support our work

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can make a donation to our humanitarian appeal by clicking here.

UK residents can also make a donation via text message by following the instructions below:

Thank you for your support,

The FRRME Team
Insights from Sarah Ahmed, Director of Operations
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