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The Elephant in the Room

The Forgotten Plight of Christians
in Iraq and Syria


As Christians continue to flee from Iraq and Syria, this report exposes the reasons behind the exodus.


Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime–a war that not only shifted the demographics of the country but also had rippled repercussions on neighboring Syria. Eight years after the start of the Iraq war, Syria itself was embroiled in a distressing conflict. 


The wars in Iraq and Syria have impacted millions of lives, forcing many to flee their ancestral homes. Countries like Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon were also profoundly affected by the massive refugee influx.


The most affected religious groups are the Shia and Sunni Muslims. However, indigenous Christian Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs, Armenians, and the Yazidis in Iraq and Syria have endured crimes against humanity and genocide. Their survival as ethnic and religious groups is now at stake. Today, nearly a decade since the extermination threat by the terrorist group ISIS engulfed the region, Christians are still compelled to flee. 


The report highlights the reasons behind the exodus–including the new Iraqi constitution and daily discrimination against Christians, and features interviews with over twenty families.


Layal Nehme, a talented singer, songwriter, and composer from Beirut, Lebanon, drafted the report which was commissioned by A Demand for Action (ADFA). Leveraging her background in media and communications, she utilizes her extensive experience to amplify the voices of these displaced communities.


The Elephant In The Room highlights the dire situation of displaced Christian Iraqi and Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, who have fled violence and persecution. It addresses their deteriorating living conditions, lack of legal status, and limited access to basic services amidst Lebanon's continued socio-economic crisis. Urgent support and effective solutions are needed to address this complex humanitarian crisis. Or as Nuri Kino put it in his speech at The International Religious Freedom Summit in January 2023: “The suffering of victims of crimes against humanity is a testimony of the failure of international human rights community.”

January 16th, 2024

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