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Czech NGO: We either rescue refugees from hell or they will die

29.7.2015 21:01
An image of participants in the self-declared Islamic State, which holds territory in Iraq and Syria. (PHOTO:  Flickr.com, Karl-Ludwig Poggemann)
An image of participants in the self-declared Islamic State, which holds territory in Iraq and Syria. (PHOTO: Flickr.com, Karl-Ludwig Poggemann)

The Generace 21 (Generation 21) Foundation wants to bring 152 Christian refugees from Iraq to the Czech Republic who have been persecuted by radicals from the self-declared Islamic State organization. Representatives of the foundation gave a list of the refugees' names to the Office of the Government last Thursday and are now waiting for the Government and Interior Ministry to agree to receive them.    

Representatives of the foundation announced their plans at a press conference yesterday. They are prepared to cover the costs of transporting the refugees and the first year of their residency in the Czech Republic.

"In Iraq what is underway is a genocide of Christians that we can no longer passively watch," said Jan Dezort, an initiator of the action. "On that list we have families who have lost their homes, husbands who have lost their jobs, and in some cases their family members have been killed."

According to the foundation, those on the list are either entire families or widows with children, predominantly young people prepared to settle, study and work in the Czech Republic. Half of the men have a college education or higher professional training and the foundation reportedly knows the pasts of all those applying.

"These people have no future there and will never get out of there. We either rescue them from that hell or they will die there," added another initiator of the plan, Dan Drápal.

Representatives of the foundation claim to have the support of political parties across the spectrum in the Chamber of Deputies and negotiated with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech Social Democrats) about the idea in February. "From that meeting we received the impression that this project has a chance of succeeding," foundation director Jan Talafant said.    

None of the foundation representatives was able to estimate how long it will take the Czech authorities to decide their request. However, they believe that the example of neighboring Poland, which has decided to receive 1 500 Christian refugees, demonstrates that this could be handled within a few weeks.

Once the foundation receives the state's agreement, it will reportedly begin transporting the asylum-seekers to the Czech Republic. Representatives say they currently have several million crowns in their accounts to pay for the refugees' transportation and first year of residency and are allegedly capable of arranging accommodation for all 152 people.  

After being transported to the Czech Republic, the refugees will not remain in a ghetto, but will be incorporated into Czech society. If this transport proves successful, the initiators want to aid other persecuted Christians in Iraq in the same way. 

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Islámský stát, Migrace, refugee, religion



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