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News / Thoughts

Iraq: Noeh visits the UN

December 11, 2017

Look what happened! Noeh, the young 12 year old boy from Iraq we’ve been telling you about is in New York! In fact, Noeh’s made the journey with his Dad and representatives of Open Doors to deliver a petition signed by over 800,000 people worldwide that asks world leaders to ensure the rights, future and dignity and Christians across the Middle East.

Noeh looks out the window of his burnt out bedroom

As you may know, Noeh is from a small town called Karamles in Iraq. In 2014 he and his family fled as fighting drew close. The so called Islamic State took over his town and ransacked, burnt and destroyed many homes. For the last few years Noeh and his family lived in Erbil with other internally displaced families, but now they’ve returned home to Karamles, to start the process of rebuild their home and town. Things are changing, Noeh is back at school, but his home isn’t rebuilt and life is far from normal.

Noeh’s story isn’t unique. In fact there are many like him across the Middle East facing all kinds of issues that arise due to persecution. Christians, like Noeh and his family, are increasingly being isolated, targeted and pushed out of the region. That’s why, alongside Christians from the region, we launched the Hope for the Middle East campaign – a global petition that closed just last Friday.

Noeh outside the UN headquarters in New York

Over 800,000 people from 143 countries signed the petition in the last 18 months. Their signatures form a global cry, urging world leaders to ensure that Christians and others in Iraq and Syria are guaranteed the right to equal citizenship, dignified living conditions and a prominent role in reconciling and rebuilding society.

These calls come directly from the Christians of Iraq and Syria who long to stay and rebuild their community – continuing their 2,000 year history of contributing to the life of the region.

Noeh will present the Hope for the Middle East petition, along with his father and a church leader from Iraq to the United Nations this week in New York.

Noeh with his signed Lionel Messi shirt!

Noeh’s story has gone worldwide too. His favourite football team, FC Barcelona even sent him a signed Lionel Messi shirt to let him know his story is being heard! Amazing!

Thank you!

We know that at least 186,390 people have signed the petition from the UK and Ireland!

Thank you so much for helping us reach this incredible number. If you signed it, if you shared it on social media, if you printed out a petition sheet and took it to your church – you have helped to show our church family in Iraq and Syria that they are not forgotten, and our leaders that they must not forget Christians and minorities in the Middle East either.

It’s the huge support that the petition has gained that has helped us to secure key meeting at the UN and with the UK government on Wednesday (13 December). Father Daniel, one of our local partners in Erbil, Iraq, will be in London on Wednesday to help us present the petition to the UK government.

Pray now…

  • That nothing prevents these meetings with the UN and UK government from going ahead
  • For safe travels and good health for Noeh and Daniel, and that the leaders who meet with them will be moved by their stories and spurred to act
  • That the UN and UK government will commit to support Christians and minorities in the Middle East, and that the actions of our leaders will make a real difference to our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria.

Want to help young people like Noeh?

Give a meaningful gift this Christmas: Help fund trauma counselling for children like Noah that have experienced war and terror. Give a gift worth giving through our Secret Santa for persecuted children campaign.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.