Christian refugees from Iraq arrive in Slovakia

A GROUP of 149 Assyrian Christians from Iraq, who are being accepted as part of Slovakia's voluntary contribution to resolving the migration crisis arrived in Slovakia at 10:25 on December 10.

Assyrian Christians from Iraq arrive at the Košice airport.Assyrian Christians from Iraq arrive at the Košice airport. (Source: TASR)

A plane with 25 families from northern Iraq landed at the Košice airport. The group of Iraqis, who fled from their homes due to the activities of the Islamic State, has been accommodated in the Interior Ministry’s asylum facility in Humenné in eastern Slovakia. Initially, the asylum seekers should have arrived in Slovakia from the Iraqi town of Erbil a few days ago, but due to security issues their flight was delayed. Interior Ministry spokesperson Ivan Netík described their admission to Slovakia as a rescue mission. They would have faced death had they not fled from their homes. The people lived in a monastery for 15 months prior to coming to Slovakia. They began learning the Slovak language there under the auspices of the Slovak civic association Serenity and Goodness.  

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“This is the only group coming to Slovakia as things stand, while there are plans for others to go to Poland and the Czech Republic,” Netík said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “This is all we can offer right now so that their integration will be smooth and successful.”

Originally, the 25 Assyrian Christian families from Iraq were to be accommodated in various facilities in municipalities in the Nitra region. However, when locals learned that the Iraqi refugees would become their neighbours, conflicts ensued leading to a stop of the whole project organised by the Nitra diocese, the civic association Pokoj a Dobro / Serenity and Goodness and volunteers of Kto pomôže  / Who Will Help initiative. It was volunteers who offered space for further accommodation of families, while part of the facility is in the church’s ownership.

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The asylum seekers will first be quarantined for approximately three weeks in order to carry out health checks and other mandatory procedures. After that they will be free to move. The standard integration process for asylum seekers in Slovakia lasts from six months to two years.

Read also: Accomodation project for refugees ends due to conflicts Read more 

There are educated people in the group. The ministry will later look for work for them based on their professions.

Chaldean Catholic Church priest Douglas Al-Bazi, who accompanied the group, thanked Slovakia for helping them to escape from the terror of IS. 

Read also: Blog: On Christians and Pharisees Read more 

 

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