November 6, 2015

KRG Representative addresses Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Christian diaspora leaders

Chicago, Illinois, USA ( – Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman visited Chicago November 5-6 to deliver speeches and meet with academics and influential members of the Assyrian-American community.wc

At an event at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Representative Abdul Rahman spoke about the impact of the war against ISIS on refugees and the economy of Kurdistan. She said, ‘ISIS and the Syrian conflict have displaced over 1.8 million Syrians and Iraqis into the Kurdistan Region, increasing our population by 30 percent. In sheltering them, the resources of the KRG are stretched to their limits.’ She cited a recent memo by the KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Center which cautioned that, ‘Kurdistan Region has exhausted its response and absorption capacity.’

She also spoke on the efforts to get recognition for genocide by ISIS. She said, ‘In coordination with the Yezidi community and Yezidi NGOs, the Kurdistan Regional Government is asking the International Criminal Court to investigate the crimes committed by ISIS against the Yezidis as a genocide.’ She also said, ‘We firmly believe that these atrocities constitute a genocide in the full legal sense. What is the point of having a convention on genocide if it is never applied?’ She added that this was not the only genocide committed by ISIS, as numerous Iraqi minorities such as the Christians, Shabak Kurds, Turkmen, and others had suffered similar horrors as a result of their ethnicity.

Representative Abdul Rahman had the opportunity to sit with officials from the Christian Assyrian political parties to discuss issues facing their communities in the US and in the Kurdistan Region. She was also interviewed on Yallafan Radio WCGO 1590, a program dedicated to Assyrian issues in Chicago. The community estimates that there are about 500,000 Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syriacs, who are the Christians and ancient peoples of Iraq, residing in the United States.

Representative Abdul Rahman sat for an interview with senior writers and editors from the Chicago Tribune, discussing the needs of the KRG in the fight against ISIS, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. She also met Dr Gil Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute and Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Chicago.
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