ERBIL — Iraqi Christians say they would return to the recently liberated Nineveh Plains only if the Kurdistan Region becomes an independent state, a Christian member of the Kurdistan Region Parliament said on Sunday.
Waheda Yacoub, an Iraqi Christian member of the Kurdistan Region Parliament, told Kurdistan 24 that Iraqi Christians fear returning to their homes in the liberated areas of the Nineveh province, as long as groups such as the Hashd al-Shaabi, remain in the area, Kurdistan24 reported.
Yacoub explained that the Iraqi Christians do not trust the pro-government paramilitaries and would only return to their homes if the Kurdistan Region becomes an independent state, or if they are given their own independent province. She added that the Christian community has asked Baghdad to create a governorate for the minority to self-administer the Nineveh Plains. According to her, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will honor the Christians of the Nineveh Plains in any vote on their own self-determination.
In addition, the MP pointed out that the Kurdish people have accepted the Christian community more than anyone else in Iraq. As an example she mentioned the annual visit of President Masoud Barzani and his family to the Christmas mass in Ainkawa, which in her view is not simply a political gesture, but a genuine affinity.
Around 70,000 Iraqi Christians live in the Kurdistan Region’s capital city of Erbil. The number has increased significantly since 2014, when the so-called Islamic State (IS) emerged in Iraq. Yacoub, who is also the main advisor to President Barzani on Christian and minority issues said a decentralized governance or separation is the only solution for both Christians and Kurds in Iraq.