share

 Home | Government | WikiLeaks Information

WikiLeaks: 2008-05-21: 08BAGHDAD1571: Embassy Minorities Working Group Aims to Address Problems of Ethnic and Religious Minorities

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD1571: May 21, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 01:28 PM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD1571, EMBASSY MINORITIES WORKING GROUP AIMS TO ADDRESS

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs
Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD1571 2008-05-21 12:33 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO9640
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1571 1421233
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211233Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7472
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 001571 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL IZ
SUBJECT: EMBASSY MINORITIES WORKING GROUP AIMS TO ADDRESS 
PROBLEMS OF ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS MINORITIES 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker for reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary.  Challenges and obstacles facing the ethnic 
and religious minority populations in Iraq include political 
intimidation, discrimination in employment (especially in the 
public sector), inferior provision of public services, and 
neglect of cultural heritage (e.g. lack of protection or 
respect for churches or cemeteries).  To address these 
problems and determine what more the USG and GOI can be doing 
to ameliorate them, we have formed a Minorities Working Group 
with representatives from the Embassy and MNF-I.  We look 
forward to working with Washington counterparts to develop a 
broad strategy for protecting the rich ethnic and religious 
character of Iraq. 
 
2.  (C)  A number of USG-funded programs currently provide 
assistance to the minority populations in northern Iraq, 
where many, particularly Christian, minorities are 
concentrated.  USAID,s Community Action Program (CAP) and 
Tijara Program (provincial economic growth) in the Ninewa 
province provide funding for economic revitalization 
projects, including micro-loans for small businesses, and 
serve as links between communities and their governments. 
Although USAID,s assistance to Ninewa Province is not 
targeted specifically to minorities, it disproportionately 
benefits Christians because they happen to live in safer 
areas of the province that are easier to operate in.  PRT 
Ninewa has provided almost a quarter of a million dollars of 
in-kind assistance (in this case, Iraqi-built tractors) to 
boost the economic potential of multi-ethnic farm 
associations representing farmers from the various Christian, 
Yezidi, Shabak, Kurdish, and Sunni Arab communities.  The PRT 
is also encouraging the Chaldean and Assyrian communities to 
submit proposals for USG funding under a variety of programs, 
and is working with community leaders and organizations to 
develop such initiatives.  However, PRT Ninewa also reports 
that Christian leaders in the area have made it clear that 
supporting Christians directly does not help them live in 
harmony with their many neighbors.  They want help, but are 
sensitive to local perceptions of favoritism that could 
backfire on them.  Thus the PRT focuses on using USG 
resources to help all minority groups in the region find 
cooperative solutions to their shared problems. 
 
3.  (C)  The USG-funded National Democratic Institute (NDI) 
and International Republican Institute (IRI) provide a 
variety of civic and political activism training activities 
to minority groups in Iraq.  Since 2005, NDI has conducted 
campaign training for 440 representatives of the Assyrian 
Democratic Movement; IRI provides political party development 
training to a number of Christian-based political parties. 
IRI has worked with Christian civic organizations since 2005 
to train them to advocate effectively for their rights and 
teach them to promote tolerance in multi-ethnic/religious 
societies.  IRI is currently working on a nationwide effort 
with Iraqi activists  to reform the Iraqi national identity 
card that all Iraqis must carry and which identifies the 
bearer,s religion, and thus is sometimes used a 
discriminatory tool. 
 
4.  (C)  There are a number of potential areas to explore for 
addressing the issues confronting Iraqi minorities.  On the 
political front, one possibility is to encourage PM Maliki to 
use the momentum created by his crackdown on the militias in 
Basrah to further demonstrate that he is the Prime Minister 
of all Iraqis, not just the Shia, by making a statement 
promoting tolerance and equality for all religions and 
ethnicities in Iraq.  (Note:  As a good start to this, 
Maliki's office issued a press release on May 17 in which 
Maliki praises the Christian minority as an integral part of 
Iraq and urges all minorities to help defend Iraq.  End 
Note.)  Equally, the KRG leadership could be encouraged to 
make similar statements and take action to stop 
discrimination against minorities by the lower-level KRG 
bureaucracy, some Kurdish citizens and Kurdish political, 
military and intelligence officials operating outside the 
KRG.  Minorities and provincial officials could be encouraged 
to work together on programs that bring minorities into 
national security institutions, such as a current effort in 
Ninewa province to recruit 700 Christians into the Iraqi 
police. 
 
5.  (C)  The Minorities Working Group will continue to meet 
regularly in order to track issues of concern to Iraq,s 
minority populations, and to develop recommendations to 
assist them and reassure Iraq's religious and ethnic 
minorities that they have a secure and prosperous future 
here. 
CROCKER

 



Government ForumGovernment Forum

WikiLeaks InformationWikiLeaks Information


Do you have any related information or suggestions? Please email them.

AIM | Atour: The State of Assyria | Terms of Service