MPs visit refugee camps in Iraq, meet displaced families

Three MPs with the members of Church
Three MPs with the members of Church

( Baghdad – A Catholic charity trip to oversee the situation of refugees in Erbil, northern Iraq, was joined by three MPs. The refugees are being cared for by the Church.

The visit was organised by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and it included visits to camps for displaced families and meetings with high-ranking prelates and government officials. They also attended an ordination ceremony.

Strangford MP Jim Shannon, who is also the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, said, “It was illuminating, it was heartening, it was humbling.”

“For me, it was an opportunity to see in some places a very thriving Church, and in other places a very persecuted Church, to meet some of those who had to flee with only the shirt on their backs as ISIS descended upon them to do their worst,” he added.

Talking about seeing the camps, Shannon added,

“One thing that impressed me greatly was when we went around the camps and I met some of the displaced people. They had lost so much, but they had on their walls a picture of the Lord Jesus,” Shannon further said, adding, “For me though it was their faith that was sustaining them.”

The trip was also attended by Bolton (West) MP Chris Green,and Fylde MP Mark Menzies.

The trip included a visit to Ashty 2 Camp, Ankawa, Erbil, where 5,500 people are living in 1,088 housing units.

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, who is overseeing the Church’s aid efforts, said, “The total number of Christian families in the camps has fallen from 120,000 to 100,000 as several families have left the country.”

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