Vienna, 8 August 2014 Press release

Kurz: Senseless violence against religious minorities in Northern Iraq must be stopped

Outrage at the displacement of religious minorities by IS

Vienna, 8 August 2014 – Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz expressed his shock at reports about atrocities directed against members of religious minorities by the IS insurgent group and about the severe violations of human rights in Northern Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians, Yezidis and other minorities are fleeing arbitrary executions, torture and abuse after the IS advance. "This is a humanitarian catastrophe. I condemn the systematic displacement of Christians and other religious minorities and the violence committed against them in the strongest terms. The international community is called upon to respond quickly to this drastic aggravation of the situation", Kurz said.

After an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, the UN Security Council condemned the attacks of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. "The continued attacks in Northern Iraq must be stopped and the people committing them must be held accountable. I have therefore urged that the precarious situation of religious minorities in Iraq be addressed on a European level", Kurz emphasised.

"I appeal to all parties to the Iraqi conflict to stop this senseless violence. Austria will contribute its share in the framework of the dialogue of religions to help bring about a lasting political solution to the conflict", Kurz concluded.

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