Czechs scrap programme to resettle Iraqi Christians

The Czech government abandoned a programme to resettle Iraqi Christians

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The Czech government on Thursday abandoned a programme to resettle Iraqi Christians after some refugees left for Germany and others decided to return home.

“Based on my proposal, the government has dropped its project to resettle 153 Iraqis to the Czech Republic,” Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said on Twitter.

“It’s impossible to support a project which doesn’t meet its goals,” he said, adding that the Czech Republic could not be “mistaken for a travel agency”.

Under the programme, the government was planning to accept 130 refugees from Iraq’s Kurdistan region and 23 Iraqi refugees from Lebanon.

But only 89 have made it to the European Union member state, among them a 25-member family that refused Czech asylum and moved to Germany last week.

Czech media quoted German officials as saying Germany wants them to go back.

Another eight Iraqi Christians accepted under the programme are due to return to Iraq on Thursday.

“The reason is a 63-year-old man who told us he was ‘withering and dying’ and wanted to die in Iraq,” said the Generace 21 charity fund that cooperated with the government on the project.

The fund added that it would continue to take care of the refugees still in the country.