The situation in Northern Iraq demands a rapid and robust response from the European Union, especially in the aftermath of the battle of Mosul – the largest military operation so far in the war against Islamic State. “While liberating Northern Iraq from Islamic State occupation, the international community needs to ensure assistance to its most vulnerable inhabitants and the future returns of millions who fled the region, including numerous native minorities,” says Lars Adaktusson, the initiator of today’s debate on the situation in Northern Iraq and of the resolution on the same topic, which will be put to vote on Thursday.
“Northern Iraq is facing a humanitarian disaster as up to one million inhabitants in Mosul may be forced to flee the battle. The importance of the international community in securing humanitarian assistance onsite cannot be emphasised enough,” he added.
Mr Adaktusson insisted in particular on the need to secure the safe return home of internally-displaced people and refugees after the liberation of Northern Iraq.
“The coming liberation of Mosul is also the defining moment when it comes to the future of Iraq’s indigenous peoples. Now that Islamic State is on its way to being driven out of Mosul, it is indispensable that the EU, together with other countries, shows solidarity with minorities and, within the framework of Iraq’s federal structure, formulates an action plan on the future of Christians, Yazidis and Turkmen”.
“That means the creation of maximum regional autonomy in Northern Iraq for Christians – Chaldeans, Syriacs, Assyrians – Yazidis and Turkmen indigenous populations, and providing the necessary training support and security guarantees, including support for local security forces, in order for such an administration to be politically, socially and economically viable”.
“The strategy for the region should provide for intensified work to assist the Iraqi people, in particular vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and elderly people. It should also encourage cooperation between the international community, Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) on the reintegration of refugees. In this matter, the European Union should take a strong lead in securing the legitimate rights of minorities, including their right to regain the homes, land and possessions that were confiscated or stolen from them”.