Bethnahrin Patriotic Union Vice President Joseph Sliwa: Corruption and demographic change affecting Christian communities in Iraq

ANKAWA, Iraq — During a television interview on Sunday with Al-Masra, Vice President of the Bethnahrin Patriotic Union (Huyodo Bethnahrin Athroyo, HBA) Joseph Sliwa highlighted several issues affecting Christian communities in Iraq, particularly the illegal confiscation or sale of their property and the engineered demographic changes affecting their villages. Sliwa expressed dismay at the distribution of thousands of Christian-owned lands to individuals without legal rights, which has resulted in a significant demographic transformation within Christian areas, particularly in Nohadra (Duhok) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

Sliwa underscored the numerous cases concerning Christian property which have been submitted to regional authorities but remain unresolved. He pointed out that the takeover of Christian properties has been expanding since 2003, when many Christians were displaced by the violence surrounding the US invasion, and their properties were seized. He also noted that legal representatives appointed by property owners to reclaim their rightful possessions have encountered significant challenges.

Sliwa disclosed that thousands of state-owned properties have been appropriated by powerful political figures and influential individuals within the Iraqi state. This has occurred amidst a notable absence of judicial intervention.

He explained that state-owned real estate is either leased or sold to specific individuals or entities with close ties to the government. This manipulation of laws and regulations is particularly concerning, given the influence of political blocs on decision-making in the country. It has resulted in the inability of officials, including prime ministers, to make the necessary decisions due to international and regional interference.