, VATICAN CITY, August 13- Pope Francis has called on the international community and the United Nations in particular to do all they can to stop the “systematic violence” against ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq.
In a letter to UN chief Ban Ki moon made public on Wednesday, the pope said he was issuing an “urgent appeal to the international community to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now under way”.
“The violent attacks that are sweeping across northern Iraq cannot but awaken the consciences of all men and women of goodwill to concrete acts of solidarity by protecting those affected or threatened by violence and assuring the necessary and urgent assistance for the many displaced people as well as their safe return to their cities and their homes.”
The papal plea came as time was running out for thousands of Iraqi Christians and Yazidis trapped in northern Iraq after an onslaught by Islamic State jihadists sweeping through the country.
Francis said the besieged minority communities — which the West has warned were at risk of genocide — were enduring “intolerable suffering”.