IRAQ: American humanitarian organizations form coalition to investigate Baghdede wedding hall fire

BAGHDEDE, Iraq — In a positive development in the aftermath of the tragic wedding hall fire incident in the Nineveh Plains town of Baghdede (Qaraqosh / Hamdaniya), Iraq, which claimed the lives of 130 members of the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian community, three American organizations embarked on an investigation, touring the site of the fire and documenting statements from the affected families.

The organizations, Group of Victims of War and Ethnic Cleansing, the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous Peoples, and the Harland Group, have joined forces to establish a coalition dedicated to investigating such incidents. The coalition, named the “Coalition of American and International Organizations Against Genocide and Ethnic and Cultural Cleansing,” was formed in response to the appeals of victims’ families. The initiative gained momentum following a protest organized by the Athra Alliance, a political coalition of five Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian political parties in Iraq.

The protest was driven by concerns regarding the government’s silence on the matter and doubts about the credibility of ongoing investigations. Preliminary reports suggested that the fire was accidental and not the result of any foul play, a conclusion rejected by many aggrieved families.