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FOREIGN AFFAIRS—IRAQ—CHRISTIAN ASSYRIANS

Senator Kroger, at the request of Senator Fierravanti-Wells and pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 1072—That the Senate—

 (a) recognises that:

  (i) Christian Assyrians, a minority religious and racial group in Iraq, are subject to ongoing violence, intimidation, harassment and discrimination on religious and ethnic grounds at the hands of extremists,

  (ii) on 31 October 2010, 58 Christian Assyrians were killed in an attack on a church in Baghdad in an act of violent extremism targeting this minority group,

  (iii) since 2003, 600 000 Christian Assyrians have left Iraq, including many thousands to Australia, and

  (iv) despite the rights guaranteed to minorities in Iraq, including Assyrians, there are still cases of harassment, intimidation and discrimination;

 (b) condemns violence, intimidation, harassment and discrimination on religious and ethnic grounds wherever it may be found, including in Iraq;

 (c) welcomes the stated commitment of the Government of Iraq to the protection of the rights of Christians and other minorities enshrined in Iraq's constitution, and the steps taken by the Government of Iraq to address violence and discrimination, including:

  (i) the formation of a Christian Police Force of around 500 to protect Christians and churches, in the wake of the 2010 bombing attacks on churches, and

  (ii) moves to establish an Independent High Commission for Human Rights; and

 (d) calls on the Government to continue to press the Iraqi Government to guarantee the rights of Christian Assyrians and other minorities.

Question put and passed.