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UN Official Deplores Killing Of Chaldean Leader

Iraq: UN official deplores killing of Chaldean Christian leader

13 March 2008 - The top United Nations official in Iraq today strongly condemned the murder of Monsignor Paul Faraj Rahu, the Archbishop of the Chaldean Church of Mosul, who had been kidnapped by gunmen last month.

Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), described the killing as "especially abhorrent, committed in cold blood against a man who has dedicated his entire life to the pursuit of peace, non-violence and reconciliation between different faiths and groups."

In a statement issued by his office Mr. de Mistura called on Iraqi authorities to do everything in their power to safeguard the protection of minorities and their human rights. The envoy has previously emphasized that the protection of minorities is enshrined in the national constitution.

Archbishop Rahu had been kidnapped in Mosul in northern Iraq on 29 February after leaving his church in an attack that led to the killing of his driver and two of his bodyguards.

The religious leader is only the latest of many members of the Christian and other minority communities in Iraq to be killed, abducted or forced to flee their homes.

ENDS

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