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Pope urges United Nations to act in Iraq

Catholic World News - August 13, 2014

Pope Francis has urged the United Nations “to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities” in Iraq.

“It is with a heavy and anguished heart that I have been following the dramatic events of these past few days in Northern Iraq where Christians and other religious minorities have been forced to flee from their homes and witness the destruction of their places of worship and religious patrimony,” the Pope said in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The letter, dated August 9, was released by the Holy See Press Office on August 13.

Recalling “the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq,” the Pontiff said that “in renewing my urgent appeal to the international community to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway, I encourage all the competent organs of the United Nations, in particular those responsible for security, peace, humanitarian law and assistance to refugees, to continue their efforts in accordance with the Preamble and relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter.”

He continued:

The violent attacks that are sweeping across Northern Iraq cannot but awaken the consciences of all men and women of goodwill to concrete acts of solidarity by protecting those affected or threatened by violence and assuring the necessary and urgent assistance for the many displaced people as well as their safe return to their cities and their homes. The tragic experiences of the Twentieth Century, and the most basic understanding of human dignity, compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities.

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