CRS and Caritas Internationalis Mourn Iraqi Archbishop Rahho

CRS joins with Caritas Internationalis in mourning the death of Archbishop Rahho of Mosul in northern Iraq. Archbishop Rahho was kidnapped last week and was found dead today. The following is a statement from Caritas Internationalis:

Caritas says the tragic death of Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul in northern Iraq highlights the urgency of ending the violence in the country and the region.

The archbishop was kidnapped on February 29 in Mosul after a deadly shootout in which three of his companions were killed. He was found dead on Thursday 13 March.

Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organisation of 162 national Catholic charities that includes Caritas Iraq, said peacebuilding efforts need to be supported both within local communities, nationally and internationally to bring a halt to the conflict.

Caritas Iraq runs peacebuilding training courses in many places in the country, trying to break through distrust and suspicion among communities.

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight said, “Archbishop Rahho was a man who sought peace and dialogue in a country at war. All sides of the conflict in Iraq have a duty not to target civilians. Archbishop Rahho supported peacebuilding efforts including those carried out by Caritas, which makes his death even more tragic and senseless. Caritas again calls for an end of all violence in Iraq and in the region, and for the safe release of all people taken hostage. Peace through dialogue is the only way forward.”

Caritas Iraq has been active since 1992 providing humanitarian relief, especially to new mothers and babies, and peacebuilding work since 2003.

Since 2003, CRS has been one of several Caritas Internationalis supporters of Caritas Iraq’s work with the internally displaced population and with those who have been marginalized within an increasingly desperate and violent situation.

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