ACN follows the call of Pope Francis and the local Church leaders working toward securing the permanence and thriving of Christianity in the Middle East. The Catholic Church in Iraq is nationally and internationally a highly respected mediator in the promotion of peace and protection of minorities as well as a source of reconciliation.
ACN, recognized internationally as the leading donor and agent in supporting and keeping Christians in Iraq, benefits from an exceptional reputation both on the ground and internationally. ACN works with our project partners in advancing their objectives both by funding their work and by helping them implement it in an efficient manner. Through this recognition and acceptance as an authentic partner by the three main rites, ACN is uniquely positioned to assist their faithful wishing to return to their homes in the Nineveh Plains.
ACN, normally focused on the pastoral needs of the suffering Church, here engages herself to the most critical issue of the day in this region: in addition to the rebuilding of Christian religious structures, a contribution to the repair and reconstruction of Christian homes. This is to respond to the most immediate need, give a sign to these Christian IDP’s and refugees of the efforts of the Church to respond to their desire to return – and so encourage them to stay – as well as to urge the necessary security and re-development efforts by the international community.
Considering the sums (ca. $250m for housing alone) as unveiled by the first draft of the ACN / NRC Baseline Survey, it is clear that ACN will not be able to fund the entire effort alone. ACN international thus proposes to commission ongoing baseline surveys and develop the necessary communication tools (website) and products to support ACN communication campaigns and national office fundraising efforts. In addition these NRC / ACN baseline surveys and communication products will serve ACN Advocacy in its efforts to share these same messages to remind governments and the international community of their responsibilities towards the Christian minorities in Iraq.
In the Nineveh Plains the voice and role of the local Church leaders is stronger than in other regions of Iraq. Indeed, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholics, the Syriac Catholic Archbishop and the Metropolitan of the Syriac Orthodox are followed attentively not only by their faithful but also by civil authorities. In this capacity, Church leaders, priests, nuns, and lay people can:
- Set an example by returning to the area as soon as possible
- Contribute to the establishment and proper functioning of the NRC
- Facilitate links to and negotiations with civil authorities at various levels of government
- Participate in joint advocacy efforts in Baghdad and Erbil
- Participate in joint advocacy opportunities together at the international level