Friday 27 July 2018

KRG Represented at US State Department Ministerial on Religious Freedom

Washington, DC, USA ( – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman participated in the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, hosted by Secretary Mike Pompeo at the US Department of State.

Representative Abdul Rahman was a member of the Iraq delegation which was headed by Ambassador Wadee Al Batti, head of the human rights department in Iraq’s foreign ministry, and included Iraq’s Ambassador to the US Fareed Yasseen.

The event was the first-ever ministerial meeting to advance the cause of religious freedom around the world. The three-day conference convened a diverse range of stakeholders, including foreign ministers and ambassadors of more than 80 countries, international organization representatives, religious leaders, and civil society representatives. During the meeting, they discussed the challenges facing people of faith, how to identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination, and ensure greater respect for religious freedom for all.

Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech at the conference, highlighting the importance of protecting religious freedom and diversity. During the speech he announced $70 million in aid for the Nineveh Plains, as part of his new initiative of supporting religious minorities and vulnerable groups in Iraq.

Representative Abdul Rahman had a chance to meet with His Grace Mar Awa Royel of the Assyrian Church of the East Commission on Inter-Church Relations and Educational Development, and His Excellency Nicodemus Daoud Matti Sharaf, the Archbishop of Mosul. She also met with representatives of Yezidi organizations, including Pari Ibrahim of the Free Yezidi Foundation and Nadia Murad of Yazda.

The KRG Representation in the United States co-hosted a Religious Freedom Roundtable earlier this month, where more than 30 people gathered in Washington, DC to discuss the situation in the Kurdistan Region. A second roundtable is expected to be held in the coming weeks.