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WikiLeaks: 2007-07-04: 07BAGHDAD2208: Extending Special Humanitarian Concern Refugee Status to Non-Muslim Religious Minorities

by WikiLeaks. 07BAGHDAD2208: July 04, 2007.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 05:36 PM UT


Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD2208, EXTENDING SPECIAL HUMANITARIAN CONCERN REFUGEE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD2208 2007-07-04 04:51 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO3042
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2208 1850451
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 040451Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2030
INFO RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0195
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 002208 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/I AND PRM/A 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2017 
TAGS: IZ PHUM PREF PREL
SUBJECT: EXTENDING SPECIAL HUMANITARIAN CONCERN REFUGEE 
STATUS TO NON-MUSLIM RELIGIOUS MINORITIES 
 
REF: A. 2006 BAGHDAD 573 
 
     B. 2006 BAGHDAD 1924 
     C. 2006 BAGHDAD 2519 
     D. BAGHDAD 767 
     E. BAGHDAD 881 
     F. BAGHDAD 1190 
     G. BAGHDAD 1425 
     H. BAGHDAD 2010 
     I. VATICAN 99 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Post recommends extending "Priority Two" (P2, groups 
of special humanitarian concern) refugee processing category 
to all non-Muslim religious minorities from Iraq.  Post 
assessment, supported by reftels, is that members of 
religious minorities in Iraq are particularly vulnerable to 
serious harm.  Unlike Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, or Kurds, 
religious minorities -- such as Sabean-Mandaeans, Yezidis, 
Baha'i, and Chaldo-Assyrian Christians -- lack safe havens 
where they can retain their religious identity free from 
credible fear of persecution.  Even in areas where these 
minorities are tolerated, such as Kurdistan or Ninewa, they 
are often treated as means or impediments to the aspirations 
of larger groups competing for political supremacy in 
contested areas. 
 
2.  (C) Despite the measures to reduce the level of 
ethno-sectarian violence in Baghdad and the rest of Iraq, 
religious minorities continue to report instances of 
harassment and violence in Baghdad, Mosul, and disputed 
territories.  Targeting of religious minorities is motivated 
by both religious prejudice and opportunistic criminal 
exploitation of their vulnerability as unarmed groups.  While 
Post has no reports of official or large-scale campaigns to 
drive all religious minorities out of Iraq, criminal gangs 
claiming adherence to Islamic fundamentalism are displacing, 
kidnapping for ransom, extorting, and pressuring the 
conversion of members of religious minorities.  The 
Government of Iraq does not condone these actions, but has 
not been able to stop them, leaving many minorities fearful 
for their safety and skeptical about the GOI's capacity to 
protect their rights.  As a result, members of religious 
minorities continue to seek refuge in neighboring countries. 
Non-Muslim religious minorities constitute about 3% to 5% of 
all Iraqis but up until recently represented 40% of all Iraqi 
refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner 
for Refugees in Syria.  Currently, it is estimated that 
non-Muslim religious minorities comprise about 20% of the all 
Iraqi refugees.  The proportional overrepresentation of 
members of non-Muslim religious minorities among the Iraqi 
refugee population supports their claims about the risks they 
face in Iraq. 
 
3.  (C) Post understands that many Sunni and Shia Arabs have 
also sought refuge in neighboring countries due to credible 
fears of persecution.  We encourage the Department to 
continue to ensure that the US Refugee Admissions Program 
retains the capacity -- in terms of the total number of Iraqi 
refugees that will be processed and may be admitted to the US 
-- to include members from all groups represented in the 
Iraqi refugee population, and to pay particular attention to 
the most vulnerable cases.  Many of the latter will come from 
religious minorities.  Post therefore supports measures -- 
such as P2 designation -- to streamline their processing and 
the possibility of resettlement as a durable solution to 
their plight. 
 
CROCKER

 



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