‘Brave’ Czech Republic accepts 153 Iraqi Christian refugees
37 families fleeing their homes after attacks by Islamic State are finally given homes in Europe
Vulnerable Christians will travel in four separate groups to the Czech Republic between January and April. Most of the families have fled from Mosul and other cities and villages in Nineveh plain and have been waiting for months in a camp in Erbil. The group has increased in size with the recent birth of a baby as they waited for a final decision of the Czech Republic.
Czech charity, Foundation Generation 21 and international relief agency, Barnabas Fund are working together to fund flights, and first year costs of accommodation and subsistence in the Czech Republic. The group will first be housed in a refugee facility in the Czech Republic and receive support and language lessons. They will then move into the community where they will also gain help from church networks.
“The Czech Republic chose to stand firm in its decision to accept these groups of Iraqi Christian refugees,” said Allan Lee, Jr, COO Barnabas Aid. “Since the summer’s refugee influx to Europe, Syrian and Iraqi Christians have found it even more difficult to find sanctuary in Europe and elsewhere. We are grateful to the Czech government for its brave decision.”
The Foundation Generation 21 spokesman, Martin Frydl stated: “We are really glad the door opened in our country to save the lives of Christian refugees including widows and children. And we are grateful to the decision of our government in approving the visas as well for the generous help and partnership from our British partner Barnabas Fund. We hope this effort could be an example for more similar projects.”
The resettlement in the Czech Republic follows Barnabas Fund’s Operations Safe Havens evacuation of over 50 Syrian Christian families to Warsaw in July in conjunction with the Weidenfeld Fund, which continues to work closely with Barnabas Fund. The families travelled from Damascus to Beirut. A specially chartered flight took them onto Warsaw.
“Many Christians in Iraq and Syria are facing terrible persecution. They have well-founded fears that they will be attacked in the UN refugee camps. These sort of evacuations negotiated directly with governments in the west is one of the few ways in which they can be saved,” said Allan Lee, Jr.