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Last updated: March 27. 2015

 

Memo to the Secretary General of the United Nations
Mr. Ban Ki Moon
and
to the Members of the UN Security Council



Regarding the Ethnic Cleansing of Ethno-Religious Minorities in Iraq & Syria
and the need for political rights of these minorities as medium and long-term solution and condition for long-term security

Brussels, March 21st, 2015

Your Excellency,

We thank the UN for taking the effort to put its energy and focus at the situation of our peoples in the Middle East and we thank France for initiating this special UN meeting at 27 March next.

We welcome the MECHRIC letter of which rightly emphasises the need for protection in those areas that we call our homelands. In addition we note that the European Parliament reiterated with overwhelming majority at 12 March, the inalienable right of all religious and ethnic minorities living in Iraq and Syria to continue to live in their historical and traditional homelands in dignity, equality and safety, and to practice their religion freely”. We note that the European Parliament called in the same resolution for safe havens for Iraq’s minorities and that the European Parliament calls in this regard for the same measures as MECHRIC does. We agree that such safe havens can only temporarily be secured by UN or other external forces.

We therefore fully agree and actively support the MECHRIC statement for support to self-defence forces such as the Syriac Military Council (in Syria), the YBS of the Yazidi’s and the Nineveh Plain Forces (Iraq) and others who have no other purpose than avoid further ethnic cleansing. We note that the mentioned European Parliament resolution calls the international community to co-operate with the Syriac Military Council. We note that these self-defence forces (as they are now) are a temporal solution that need to be embedded in a long-term political and security solution that ensures that we do not again become a voiceless and powerless minority delivered to others without a say over our own future.

Consequently in addition to the letter of MECHRIC we add that together with the Turkmen and Yazidi representatives we presented at 19 November in the European Parliament our Common Declaration in order to achieve a reasonable and needed degree of self-defence and self-government to secure our long-term existence in our homelands in Iraq. We ask the international community, UN and EU, to be our partner in negotiations with the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi Central Government in achieving these political rights that are in line with the constitution of Iraq and the draft constitution of the KRG.

On Iraq we note that:

  1. We need these political rights of reasonable self-government in our majority-areas to reverse this deadly process of powerlessness and discrimination making our peoples easy targets. Without this political settlement there is no long-term security for our peoples as recent atrocities against us have sufficiently proven.

  2. There is no dispute that territories mentioned in our declaration (like Sinjar, Nineveh Plain, Tel Afar) are indeed the areas where Yazidi’s, Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians and Turkmen have a clear majority.

  3. The majority groups already have these political rights (KRG) and that there is no objective reason to refuse these rights to our peoples in Iraq.

  4. We do not strive for independence or isolation but for a reasonable European-style form of self-government as balance between powerlessness and independence and as guarantee of our political rights.

On Syria we note:

  1. That we have experienced in the Democratic Self-Administration (DSA) that we do have there our political rights as well as self-defence in the form of the Syriac Military Council and that the secular and inclusive nature of the Social Contract of the DSA provides all the needed political rights.

  2. That the DSA acts already in reality as a protection zone in Northern and Eastern Syria for all the peoples living in it, including all minorities and the Yazidi refugees from Iraq.

  3. It is therefore reasonable to follow the European Parliament in the mentioned resolution in supporting the DSA in Syria. We note that the EU Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in their latest meeting (16 March) explicitly mentioned and gave consent to further support to the DSA in Syria.
    In all of this the survival of the mosaic reality and many peoples of the Middle East is at stake. Without implementing political rights and connected long-term solutions there is no long-term security.

    Allowing no political rights and long-term security in practice to our peoples now will show to the world that minorities worldwide can and may remain second-class powerless citizens.

    We are however convinced that the UN is determined to give the world the clear signal that our peoples and all minorities are citizens in equal rights that can and should have political rights and security and the possibility to live and survive in their countries.


    We the undersigned organizations commit to assist you in all of these efforts.

    Best regards

    Mr. Bassam Ishak, President of Syriac National Council of Syria
    Mr. Echoue Gouriye, President of Syriac Union Party in Syria
    Ms. Chamiram Chamoun , President of Syriac Women Union in Syria
    Mr. Yousif Yaqoob Matti, President of Bethnahrin Patriotic Union in Iraq
    Ms. Hanan Matti Toma, President of Bethnahrain Women Organization in Iraq
    Mr. Ibrahim Mrad, President of the Universal Syriac Union Party in Lebanon
    Mr. Evgil Türker, President of the Federation of Syriac Associations in Turkey
    Mr. Lahdo Hobil, President of the European Syriac Union


    Contact: www.esu.eu.com, rima.tuezuen@esu.cc, 0049 176 628 70 683

 

SNC & ESU

Release of March 12. 2015

CALL FOR SUPPORT FOR ASSYRIAN CHRISTIANS AND KURDS UNDER HEAVY ATTACK BY ISIS TODAY (MARCH 12.)

We thank the European Parliament for its focus on our dire situation. Today you will vote on a resolution addressing the existential threat we face and therefore we need to inform you of the following immediate urgency.

At this very moment defenders of the Syriac Military Council, YPG and others are fighting very hard to protect our peoples. ISIS is now attacking the Assyrian town of Tel Tamer and nearby villages and last Sunday was the last time our defending forces got air support in this battle.

Tel Tamar and nearby villages are all part of the Khabur River Valley and the target of ISIS since 22 February when ISIS abducted hundreds of Assyrian Christians.

We all know that if ISIS wins here it will go after all our peoples and kill or enslave them and put them through horrors. ISIS has proven this time and again. We face death and fight to live.

We beg the EP to take a stand with us and voice clear support for all our peoples and all our defenders. Without very urgent political and practical support for our defence all words will become hollow as all human dignity and human rights will be destroyed by force.

Therefore we repeat our immediate needs:

  • Lifting embargo on the Jazeera / Gozarto canton.

  • Official recognition of the cantons Jazeera, Afrin and Kobane, which had been put in place with the will of people.

  • Official visit to the Jazeera / Gozarto cantons from European Union (there is a safe area around Qamishli).

  • Military support to Syriac Military Council, Sutoro and Nineveh Plain Forces. Immediate air drop of ammunition in the Khabur region. Immediate continuation of air support in the battle for Tal Tamer

  • Political support to the organisations of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people.

  • The support from the EU for the minorities (Syriac-Assyrian, Yezidi and Turkmen) in Iraq to become their partner in negotiations with the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi Central Government in achieving a reasonable and needed degree of self-defence and self-government as expressed in the Common Declaration of these three peoples which has been presented in the European Parliament at 19 November.

The ultimate goal of ISIS is enforce a breakthrough towards Iraq, confirming that a defeat of ISIS in Iraq is insufficient if it is not defeated in Syria. Furthermore the ISIS policy of extermination of minorities is the same in Iraq and Syria. Again we call that the Democratic-Self-Administration can become a partner in the war against ISIS as it stands for the same human and democratic values as the EU and US by showing a concrete alternative to both ISIS and Assad.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Rima Tüzün  --  EUROPEAN SYRIAC UNION - Head of Foreign Affairs  --  rima.tuezuen@esu.cc


SNC & ESU

PRESS RELEASE March 12. 2015

European Parliament calls allies against ISIS to co-operate with Syriac Military Council

The European Syriac Union (ESU) and the Syriac National Council of Syria (SNCS) welcome the resolution of the European Parliament “on recent attacks and abductions by Da’esh in the Middle East, notably of Assyrians”. We warmly thank the European Parliament for its timely, alert and highly relevant action today with regard to our dire situation and the existential threat our Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people face in Syria and Iraq.

We thank the European Parliament for its courage to ask all allies against ISIS explicitly to co-operate with the Syriac Military Council and the YPG in their fight for humanity.

This resolution is the result of a joint motion from almost all Political Groups of the European Parliament. For our Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people this resolution is historically. Since the attacks on the Nineveh Plain in August, we are lobbying for a “safe haven” and with latest attacks on the Khabur region, we see how crucial it is that we can defend ourselves and are defended where needed. The violence and threat to our people and all minorities is real and the EP rightly stated today, that the measures against this threat need to be real as well (see p.7, point 8 of the resolution).

At this historical day, the defenders of the Syriac Military Council, YPG and others are fighting very hard to protect our peoples. ISIS is now attacking the Assyrian town of Tel Tamer and nearby villages.

Thus, the resolution of the European Parliament came just in time.

Tel Tamar and nearby villages are all part of the Khabur River Valley and the target of ISIS since 23rd February when ISIS abducted hundreds of Assyrian Christians.

The ultimate goal of ISIS is enforce a breakthrough towards Iraq, confirming that a defeat of ISIS in Iraq is insufficient if it is not defeated in Syria. Furthermore the ISIS policy of extermination of minorities is the same in Iraq and Syria. Again we call that the Democratic-Self-Administration can become a partner in the war against ISIS as it stands for the same human and democratic values as the EU and US by showing a concrete alternative to both ISIS and Assad. The European Parliament today called to co-operate with self-governing entities in the region, which have shown commitment to human rights and democracy and did so in the same passage as their call to support SMC and YPG. We hope that all partners in our war against ISIS will take note of this resolution of the EP.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Rima Tüzün  --  EUROPEAN SYRIAC UNION - Head of Foreign Affairs  --  rima.tuezuen@esu.cc

Khabur River Villages, Jazirah Syria

Release of March 9. 2015

Assyrian Christians Attacked today by ISIS in Syria’s Khabur River Valley Need Urgent Assistance from Turkey and the International Community.

ISIS launched a major new attack on Saturday, Sunday and Monday March 7, 8 and 9, on Christian villages in Syria’s Khabur River Valley. ISIS armored columns streamed into the area, seizing all villages on the south bank of the Khabur and several villages on the north bank. Tonight, ISIS will try to cross the Khabur (whose water flow dropped sharply today) with large numbers of fighters and heavy weapons – vastly stronger than lightly armed self-defence forces.

Civilians and defenders call out for Turkey to restore water flows in the Khabur river to make crossing the river harder for ISIS.

ISIS first assaulted this area on Sunday, February 22, capturing villages and over 350 civilians. Many were killed or sold as sex slaves. Only 19 were released, and the fate of others is unknown. ISIS seeks to solidify control of the Valley and press on to capture other territories and cities, including the city of Al-Hassaka, where thousands of refugees are sheltering. 1.5 million Assyrian Christians, Kurds, Yezidi refugees and other civilians are at risk. Refugees face a newly closed border with Turkey and lack of shelter, food, or water. They urgently need more international humanitarian and military assistance.

Therefore we repeat our immediate needs:

  • Lifting embargo on the Jazeera / Gozarto canton.
  • Official recognition of the cantons Jazeera, Afrin and Kobane, which had been put in place with the will of people.
  • Official visit to the Jazeera / Gozarto cantons from European Union (there is a safe area around Qamishli).
  • Military support to Syriac Military Council, Sutoro and Nineveh Plain Forces. Immediate air drop of ammunition in the Khabour region.
  • Political support to the organisations of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people.
  • The support from the EU for the minorities (Syriac-Assyrian, Yezidi and Turkmen) in Iraq to become their partner in negotiations with the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi Central Government in achieving a reasonable and needed degree of self-defence and self-government as expressed in the Common Declaration of these three peoples which has been presented in the European Parliament at 19 November.

The ultimate goal of ISIS is enforce a breakthrough towards Iraq, confirming that a defeat of ISIS in Iraq is insufficient if it is not defeated in Syria. Furthermore the ISIS policy of extermination of minorities is the same in Iraq and Syria. Again we call that the Democratic-Self-Administration can become a partner in the war against ISIS as it stands for the same human and democratic values as the EU and US by showing a concrete alternative to both ISIS and Assad.

Map-Situation in Irak

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Rima Tüzün
UROPEANNSYRIACCUNIONN
eaddoffForeignnAffairss
ima.tuezuen@esu.ccc


Summary Press Conference, Press Club Brussels, 3rd March 2015


Overview war against ISIS in Al-Hassaka region
(Jazeera / Gozarto Canton, North-East Syria)

The Jazeera / Gozarto Canton is (roughly) the same area as the Al-Hassaka governorate, which is in the utter North-East of Syria. This canton is the largest of the three cantons of the Democratic Self-Administration areas in Syria. These three cantons share their common Social Contract, expressing their goal for a democratic and multi-ethnic and multi-religious Syria. Recent years have proved that these are not hollow words but a reality that is hold firm against all onslaught from both ISIS and the Syrian regime. Kurds, Syriac-Assyrians, Arabs and Yazidi’s as well as others live and stand together through this incredible difficult time. The Democratic Self-Administration based on these principles and putting it in practice is unique in the Middle East.

The Syriac Military Council (SMC/MFS) is the self-defence force in this region of the Syriac-Assyrian people, who are predominant Christian. It operates under the political and social framework of the mentioned Social Contract. Its allies are the YPG/YPJ and the YBS (Yezidi’s) as well as Peshmerga in the war against ISIS.

After the joint military operation of YPG/YPJ and SMC/MFS on 22nd February against ISIS in Tal Hamis frontline (East of Al-Hassaka city – see attached map) 22 villages have been liberated from control of ISIS. This military operation proved very successful and is still ongoing with major breakthroughs. So far Tel Hamis and Tel Brak have been liberated (1st March) as well as the villages around these places.

However in the Khabour region along the Khabour river (North-West of Hassaka city), ISIS attacked on 23rd February several villages and after days of fierce battle they managed to keep control of several villages on the south side of the Khabour river. Then ISIS took several hundreds of Syriac-Assyrian villagers. Both the ISIS offensive and the capturing of these people was possible as Turkey had opened the floodgates in the dams that control the waterlevel of this river. The unusual high waterlevel prevented supporting reinforcements to reach these villages in time and prevented villagers from escaping ISIS. Already at 23rd February the Democratic Self-Administration allied forces prevented further gains by ISIS and ISIS lost many of its gang members. SMC/MFS lost 13 fighters and around 25 YPG fighters were killed. The preparations for liberation of the places taken by ISIS are underway and we need international support to defeat ISIS in that specific area and defend the Syriac-Assyrian villages.

The fate of the Syriac-Assyrian captives

Hundreds have been taken by ISIS. 19 have been released last week and have found refuge in Hassaka city. Over the remaining people in hands of ISIS and local Arab tribes we try to negotiate a prisoners swap as the Democratic Self-Administration forces have taken more ISIS prisoners than the number of Syriac-Assyrian civilians that ISIS took captive.

The case for international support for the Democratic Self-Administration

We welcome the international air support by the US and other allied forces in the battle of Kobani and Al-Hassaka region. We note furthermore the following.


President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mr. Barzani rightly stated in the 51st Munich Conference that it is insufficient to defeat ISIS in Iraq. It has to be defeated in Syria as well. The Western powers are (for good reasons) very reluctant to put their ground forces in Syria and rightly refuse to choose Assad as ally against ISIS. The logical conclusion is that the Alliance against ISIS supports those forces in Syria that stand for freedom and democracy and lead the fight against ISIS. The Democratic Self-Administration fits in this category.
The Democratic Self-Administration represents not just a program or political movement but the people who live in the Democratic Self-Administration Cantons. The goal of the Democratic Self-Administration is to have a secular state that offers fundamental rights and freedoms to its peoples. This includes democratic rights and freedom of religion.
Its geographical positioning in Syria makes the Democratic Self-Administration the most obvious partner in defeating ISIS in Syria. Almost all ISIS forces in Syria are concentrated on the East side of the Euphrat river. The Democratic Self-Administration is the only force against ISIS on the ground on the East side of the Euphrat river in Syria.
The new peace talks between the PKK and the Turkish government create an opening for the international community and allied forces towards co-operation with the Democratic Self-Administration.
There is no Syrian state that protects our peoples. We ask therefore the international community to step in and support our rightful self-defence.
As Syriac-Assyrian Christians we have taken up our self-defence, as we will not idly stand by and let others (like the Kurds) fight and die for us.
As long as ISIS is still present in Syria, young people from Europe will have the chance to join it.
Recognition of the Democratic Self-Administration as partner to the allied forces, EU and EU Member States and international community for military and humanitarian aid is not only crucial for the survival of the many refugees in our areas but also for the victory of humanitarian values over the barbary of ISIS.
In this light our immediate needs are:
  • Lifting embargo on the Jazeera / Gozarto canton.
  • Official recognition of the cantons Jazeera, Afrin and Kobane, which had been put in place with the will of people.
  • Official visit to the Jazeera / Gozarto cantons from European Union (there is a safe area around Qamishli).
  • Military support to Syriac Military Council, Sutoro and Nineveh Plain Forces. Immediate air drop of ammunition in the Khabour region.
  • Political support to the organisations of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people.
    The support from the EU for the minorities (Syriac-Assyrian, Yezidi and Turkmen) in Iraq to their partner in negotiations with the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi Central Government in achieving a reasonable and needed degree of self-defence and self-government as expressed in the Common Declaration of these three peoples which has been presented in the European Parliament at 19 November.

In all of this the survival of the mosaic reality and many peoples of the Middle East is at stake.
Situation Map



European Syriac Union | www.esu.eu.com & rima.tuezuen@esu.cc |3rd March 2015




TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE OF BETHNAHRIN (MESOPOTAMIA)TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE OF BETHNAHRIN (MESOPOTAMIA)

Ancient land of Mesopotamia is bleeding once again. Christians, minorities and vulnerable groups in the Middle East are at the target of barbaric Islamic State, IS. Since the occupation of Mosul city on 10 June 2014, ISIS continues to attack peoples of the region and committing crimes against humanity. ISIS committed genocides on 3 August 2014 at Shengal against Ezidis, 06 August 2014 in the Nineveh Plain against Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people, Turkmen, Ezidis, Shabaks and Kakais. On 14 September 2014 the same group have attacked Kobane and villages and committed an ethnic cleansing against Kurdish people here. But, resistance and courage of Kurdish fighters have stopped dirty plans of ISIS.

Following the defeat in Kobane, ISIS changed their tactics in order to gain and to control territory and tried to occupy Assyrian Christian villages along the Khabour River near to the Hassake city. ISIS presence in this region is not new. Since one year they are forcing people of occupied villages to pay them special tax, jizyah, in this region. They force Christians to convert to Islam. Syriac-Assyrian military forces as Syriac Military Council (MFS), Sutoro and Khabur Guards with the Kurdish forces of YPG made successful operations against ISIS in the Khabour region. On 8 February 2015, ISIS attacked once again village of Tel Hormizd with heavy artillery. During this attack one of the commanders of Syriac Military Council Tamer Bahde reached martyrdom. Once again, on 23 February, ISIS attacked villages of Khabour region. ISIS attacked several villages from several different points and during this attack they took control of 4 villages. During the fighting 3 Syriac Military Council freedom fighters reached to martyrdom and there are also 13 missing fighters, among them women. Moreover, hundreds of women, children and civil had been kidnapped by ISIS. Up to now, there is no clear information about their lives and whereabouts. Hundreds of families left their homes, villages and lands.

ISIS made their enmity very clear in the world and especially in the Middle East against Christian peoples. They kill and abduct Christians in every occasion. They extended their attacks from North Africa to Europe and recently they have attacked once again Christians in Syria as they did before in Saadad, Syriac town and Kessab, Armenian town. In order to defeat this barbaric organisation, there are important responsibilities to the international community, public opinion, United Nations, Coalition Forces, European Union, peoples of the region and to the whole defenders of values of democracy, liberty and free life. Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people have to take their distinctive steps in order to defend themselves from ISIS and similar groups.

We will raise our voice everywhere and in every city across Europe, it is moral responsibility to participate to these activities. Freedom of Khabour and Nineveh Plain means freedom of Bethnahrin (Mesopotamia) and Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people.
In this regards our demands are:

  • Lifting embargo on the Jazeera / Gozarto canton.

  • Official recognition of the cantons Jazeera, Afrin and Kobane, which had been put in place with the will of people

  • Official visit to the Jazeera / Gozarto cantons from European Union.

  • Military support to Syriac Military Council, Sutoro and Nineveh Plain forces. Immediate air drop of ammunition in the Khabur region.

  • Political support to the organisations of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people.

We call our Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people to participate to the activities, demonstrations and meetings
everywhere.

European Syriac Union | www.esu.cc & contact@esu.cc

Download  PDF


PRESS RELEASE

Brussels, 24.02.2015


In the early morning hours of February 23rd 2015 the terror organization ISIS attacked the Syriac (Assyrian) Christian region of Khabour in the Al-Hassaka governorate in Syria.

Khabur region has nearly 35 Syriac villages along the Khabur River (stretching 80 km west from Al-Hassaka to Ras Al-Ain).
Syriac people in North-East Syria started to arm themselves to defend and protect their lives, identity, historical, religious and cultural heritage in Syria. The Syriac Christian people need urgent support in order to survive.

ISIS captured the villages of Tal Shamiran, Tal Tawil, Tal Hourmiz and several surrounding villages of Tal Tamer. As a result of this attacks more than 50 Syriacs have been abducted and about 90 are captives in their villages, among them women and children. Residents who have been able to flee, found shelter in the Syriac Churches of Al-Hassaka and Al-Qamishli.

Back in January ISIS entered the town of Tal Hourmiz in Khabur region and threat local population to remove crosses from the church bells (otherwise will bomb the church and other Christian symbols and monuments in the town). The Syriac Military Council (MFS) and Kurdish forces YPG had been able to push back ISIS and regained control over Tal Hourmiz town.

Currently the Syriac Military Council (MFS), the Sutoro (Christian police), the Khabur Guards and the Peoples Protection Units YPG are fighting ISIS. Although they have been succeed to prevent ISIS in their movement, a military support from the International Coalition is crucial.

ESU urges the European Union, the member states of the EU and the United States of America to support the political and military forces of Syriac people in Syria and other countries of the Middle East. Without Syriac Christian people in the Middle East a democracy and pluralism is not possible.


Kind regards

Rima Tüzün
ESU – Head of Foreign Affairs

0049 176 628 70 683
rima.tuezuen@esu.cc


Map of Khabur Region

 

ESU, Yesidi,  Iraqi Turkmen

Our Future as Ezidi Kurdic (Yazidi), Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian and Turkmen in Iraq & the role of the EU

19 November our representatives to the EU institutes presented and signed our  Common Declaration asking the EU to support our future existence in our homelands in Iraq. This declaration has the full support of religious leaders of our communities.  Our Political Roadmap explains the Common Declaration.

The European Parliament has clearly stated at 18 September that it confirms and supports the inalienable right of all religious and ethnic minorities living in Iraq to continue to live in their historical and traditional homelands in dignity, equality and safety, and to practise their religion freely.

The Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian,  Yazidi and Turkmen homelands occupied by ISIS are part of  Sunni Arab majority provinces. There is an overwhelming evidence demonstrating that our neighbours were and are complicit (actively or passively) in the crimes committed against our peoples. We know that many Sunni Arabs are victims as well but that fact does not eliminate the crimes committed  against our women, children and men. Enslaved, raped, kidnapped and beheaded, that is what happened against them. These very experiences have made the following paramount for our existence in Iraq.

We cannot simply return to our homelands as minorities in provinces that are dominated by those who allowed  or  committed  these  crimes  against  us.  We  remind  that  what  happened  this  summer  was preceded by a long history of persecution, disempowerment and discrimination. In order to have trust again in a safe future our peoples need to have basic self-control and self-defence.

We need a form of (semi-) autonomy or self-government for Sinjar, homeland of Yazidi’s. This applies as well for Tal Afar, Tuzhurmatu and Kifri, the Turkmen homelands. We need the same for the districts (to be fused  together  with  the  adjacent  Christian-majority  districts)  of  Nineveh  Plain  as  homeland  for  the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people. We only need this to be certain of our basic security in the future. We do not want independence or isolation from our neighbours.

We ask the EU to support us politically in two ways. First to support the principles of self-government and self-defence for our peoples in our mentioned homelands. Secondly to implement this support by giving EU Diplomatic Support Teams to the (inclusive) delegations of each of our peoples in our negotiations with the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Government of Iraq. The goal of these agreements is a form of self-government and self-defence of each of our peoples in these areas. Each agreement needs approval from the people who live there via a referendum. We look to the EU Member States and the US to provide transitional forces for the time of return, reconstruction and referendum. Finally we hope that the EU can institute a reconstruction fund for each of our areas to repair the damage caused by ISIS. This process will ensure that our people stay and do not flee to Europe.

What  we  ask  is  realistic  and  not  revolutionary.  We  are  actually  asking  for  something  with  which Europeans are very familiar with. This is in essence administrative restructuring, something that is really not beyond the realm of possibilities. Practically, it means that the existing district councils will either get enhanced  jurisdiction  or  fused  (Nineveh  Plain  and  adjacent  districts)  and  then  receive  enhanced jurisdiction.  There is a real legal basis in the Iraq constitution in article 125 and articles 34 and 35 of the Draft  constitution  of  Kurdistan  are  even  clearer  in  granting  our  peoples  the  right  of  enhanced  self- administration or self-government. In light of all that happened and is happening our peoples already created self-defence forces which can better get a structured and agreed place than that they are ignored. They are needed, we know that now.

We look to the EU to help us for a safe future in Iraq. We want to continue to be part of the unique and amazing mosaic that is Iraq and that is the Middle East, the cradle of civilization.

Contacts: Rima Tüzün (European Syriac Union): +49 176 628 70 683 / rima.tuezuen@esu.cc


FROM CRISIS TO SAFE FUTURE FOR IRAQ’S MINORITIES

19 November; 15:00, PHS 4B001

 

Presentation first Common Declaration of the Yezidi, Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian and Turkmen Peoples of Iraq

A unique moment towards restoring human rights in Iraq


European Syriac Union · Iraqi Turkmen Front · Federation of Yezidi Associations

In co-operation with the Christian Political Foundation for Europe

Confirmed Speakers:

  • MEP Branislav Škripek

  • Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Turkmen Representation to EU

  • Lahdo Hobil, President European Syriac Union

  • Fikret Igrek, Head of Foreign Affairs Federation of Yezidi Associations

  • Johannes de Jong, Christian Political Foundation for Europe

 

Download the Flyer here

/From a Crisis to a   Safe Future for Iraq's Mionrities


FOR the VOICELESS – You are invited!


On Thursday 20 November at 18:00 at Eglise du Béguinage, Bruxelles you are invited to join a candle light vigil in support of the victims in Syria and Iraq. Christians, Muslims, Jews and members of other religions are standing up to send a sign of solidarity and peace. The event is supported by several organisations, such as Religions for Peace, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the Belgian Committee for the Church in the Orient, the Belgium Muslim League, the Council of Jewish Women of Belgium and others.
You can find more information on Facebook ForTheVoicelessBXL and on Twitter #VoicelessBXL.

FOR the VOICELESS


MECHRIC, the largest coalition of Middle East Christian NGOs in the United States and internationally asked the Archbishop to remove Nihad Awad, the director of Islamist group CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) from a coalition said to be aimed at helping Christian minorities in the Middle East. MECHRIC said "Middle East Christian minorities are offended by having Nihad Awad and his Islamist group CAIR claim they are part of a coalition in defense of Christian minorities." MECHRIC argued that Awad and his group are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a terror organization in Egypt and other Arab countries, linked to Hamas, and part of a bigoted campaign against Middle East Christians in the US and worldwide.
Following is the text of the letter, with copies send to many members of Congress:

Nov 4th 2014
Archbishop Atallah Hanna
Archbishop of Sebastia,
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
P.O. Box 14518, Jerusalem 91145
Re: interfaith Coalition to Protect Christians

Dear Bishop Hanna:
We have learned that you have sponsored the formation of an "interfaith coalition to protect Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East." We are troubled by the fact that among the NGOs and activists invited to join the coalition are a number of Islamist and pro-Jihadi groups whose agenda has been and continues to be hostile to the freedom and survival of Christian and other minorities in the Middle East.
Among the activists you have included is Nihad Awad, the President of the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR), which is an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Terrorism case and is not the civil rights organization it claims to be. For more than a decade, CAIR members and former members have been indicted, and some are serving jail sentences, for terrorism cases successfully brought against them. The Islamist organization is considered by experts as a front to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has inspired leading members of al Qaeda and ISIS (Daesh) and has been put on terror lists by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain. Several members of Congress, including the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Pete King, and the Chairwoman of the subcommittee on Intelligence, Rep. Sue Myrick, have considered CAIR an extremist Islamist organization. There are bills introduced in the US House of Representatives calling for identifying the Muslim Brotherhood as a Terror organization.
CAIR has attacked Middle East Christian leaders across America, including Copts such as Dr. Shawki Karas, Lebanese Christians, as well as Iraqi and Syrian Christians while also waging smear campaigns against prominent Middle East experts for raising the issue of persecution of minorities in the Middle East. CAIR stood with the oppressive regimes against Christians and other sectors of civil societies and backed the genocidal regime of Sudan headed by the ICC indicted General Omar Bashir. CAIR backs the Muslim Brotherhood, who in Egypt has been responsible for attacks against Christian Copts and in Libya backed the Jihadi forces responsible for violence against civilians. But even more dangerous, CAIR politically backs the Islamists and the Jihadists who in Syria and in Iraq have persecuted Christians. Some of these factions joined the Islamic State known as ISIS, which has perpetrated war crimes and crimes against Humanity in Mosul, the Nineveh Plain, and Sinjar against Christians and Yazidis.
CAIR and its executive director Nihad Awad have been notorious for suppressing educational programs, both in the public and private sectors, aimed at informing the American public about the persecution of Christian minorities in the Greater Middle East. Awad and his acolytes have politically harassed writers and intellectuals, academics who have been raising the issue of persecution of religious minorities and have become the main obstructers of truth about this persecution. In a sense, Awad and CAIR, by being supportive of the Jihadists and the Islamists and by suppressing the voices defending the persecuted Christians, actually bear some moral responsibility for the persecution and violence against Christians in the Middle East.
It would be unthinkable and unbearable for Middle East Christians and Yazidis to see a so-called interfaith Coalition presided by a Church official, partnering with haters of Middle East Christians and bigots against oppressed Middle East minorities
We therefore, as representatives of the Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC, representing the largest coalition of Americans from Middle East Christian descent, including Copts, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Maronites, Melkites and other groups, as well as Yazidis, ask you to remove Nihad Awad and any Islamist militant from your coalition immediately. Our communities have been offended by the presence of pro-Jihadists in a coalition claiming to help Middle East Christians and other minorities.
Sincerely,
John Hajjar, on behalf of the Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC
Executive Committee

CC: Members of Congress (Foreign Relations and Homeland Security Committees in House and Senate)
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman,
Senator Bob Corker, Ranking-
Senator Ted Cruz
Senator John McCain
Senator Lindsey Graham
House committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman
Rep. Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member
Sub-committees the Middle East and North Africa
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman
Rep. Theodore E. Deutch , Ranking Member
Sub-Committee on Terrorism
Rep. Ted Poe , Chairman
Rep. Brad Sherman, Ranking Member
Committee on Home land security
Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman
Sub-committee on counter terrorism and Intelligence
Rep. Peter T. King, Chairman-
Rep. Chris Smith
Rep. Louie Gohmert




IRAQ AND MIDDLE EAST MINORITIES AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL:

“No exodus from Iraq: self-defense and international protection”


New York, Mideast Newswire
2nd of September 2014

In a historic visit to the United Nations Security Council and Secretariat General, the widest coalition of Iraqi Christian and Yazidi and Middle East Christian NGOs and organizations ever assembled to date appealed to the international community not to allow further ethnic cleansing of minorities inside Iraq and their uprooting from ancestral lands for resettlement throughout the world. The joint delegation organized by the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC) and the Yazidi International Human Rights Organization was received on August 22, 2014, at the Secretariat General of the United Nations and at the U.S., Russian, French and UK missions at the Security Council as well as at the Italian mission at the UN, which holds the Presidency of the European Union.

The joint delegation has requested the meetings in implementation of the resolutions of the MECHRIC Conference held at the European Parliament in November 2013 and the Middle East Christian special sessions at the Coptic Solidarity Conference in Washington, D.C., in June 2014. Both conferences tasked MECHRIC leaders to reach out to the United Nations and request an internationally protected area for the Christians of Iraq in the Nineveh plain in northern Iraq. After the barbaric attacks, massacres and ethnic cleansing by the “Islamic State” (Daesh-ISIS) towards the end of June and early July, MECHRIC reached out to the Yazidi community leaders and included them in a joint delegation to the UN.

During the month of July, MECHRIC organized a central demonstration in Washington DC and another rally in August, in coordination with the Yazidis, both in front of the White House, generating a series of demonstration throughout the world against the massacres perpetrated by the “Islamic State” and coordinated with NGOs to organize demonstrations around the world. MECHRIC and Yazidi leaders met with officials at the White House, the State Department, the US Congress and foundations to address the threat of genocide and ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq against Christian and Yazidi minorities. During the same time, MECHRIC officials reached out to the United Nations Secretariat General and the various missions and obtained meetings on August 22nd 2014

The MECHRIC-Yazidi UN Memo

The joint delegation included Tom Harb, Secretary General of MECHRIC, Sheikh Mirza Ismael, President of Yazidi International Human Rights Organization, William Yomaran President of the Assyrian American National Federation, David Lazar President of American Mesopotamian Organization (AMO), Abraham Buyuksal, Bethnahrin National Council (Syriac),
Medlum Merogi, Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council, Magdi Khalil, Coptic Solidarity International, John Hajjar, Melkite Committee, Eblan Farris, Director of Relations for the World Maronite Union, and Dr. Walid Phares, Special Advisor.

Below is the text of the Memorandum addressed by the delegation to the United Nations

The Honorable Ban Ki Moon
Secretary General of the United Nations
New York

August 22nd 2014

We, the representatives of the below co-signing organizations, representing the aspirations of the Yazidi and Christian (Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac) communities in Iraq, and following the systematic acts of ethnic cleansing, massacres, assassinations, abduction, rape, and kidnapping perpetrated by the “Islamic State” against these communities since June 2014, urge you to request an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council to address the following urgent issues:

  1. In view of the fact that an international terror organization known as “Islamic State” (Daesh) has seized large portions of Iraq and of Syria, including cities such as Mosul and Reqqa, has accumulated quantities of weapons and cash to use in pursuing their genocidal action against Iraq’s ethnic minorities, particularly in the north and possibly in Northern Syria as well;
  2. In view of the fact that the Iraqi state has failed to defeat this organization and thus the threat by IS (Daesh) against the aforementioned communities continues to be imminent;
  3. In view of the fact that large scale killing and ethnic cleansing of Yazidis in the Sinjar area and Iraqi Christians, particularly Assyrians in the Nineveh Plain area, have been taken place and threaten these communities with eradication;
  4. And in view of the fact that the direct threat against the Iraqi ethnic minorities at the hands of Jihadists is part of a global threat and pattern in the region against minorities in general, particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt;

In view of the fact that ethnic cleansing and genocidal acts have been committed against a civilian population, breaching human and humanitarian rights as well as international law, threatening Peace and Security;

We urge you to draw the immediate attention of the Security Council to this threat to Peace and Security and request the following actions to be taken via a UNSCR Resolution:

  1. Sending Peacekeepers to the Nineveh Plains and Sinjar districts in Northern Iraq under Chapter 7 of the Charter and establish a protected area for its civilian population;

  2. Returning the refugee population, now displaced in Iraqi Kurdistan, to the two internationally protected districts;

  3. Enabling the population of Nineveh and Sinjar to establish a local defense force to man their police stations and counter activities by Terrorists;

  4. Coordinating the defense of Northern Iraq from Terror forces between the two above mentioned districts and the Regional Government of Kurdistan so that they become partners in the defense of that part of the country against future attempts at ethnic cleansing;

  5. Initiating a special UN Task Force to find the thousands of Yazidi women kidnapped and abused by IS and return them to their families;

  6. Establishing a special tribunal to indict and bring to international justice those responsible for the atrocities against the population of Sinjar, Nineveh and Mosul’s minorities.

We the undersigned organizations commit to assist you in all of these efforts.

Best regards,

Signing parties

Meeting at the French Mission at the UN Security Council

Meeting at the French Mission at the UN Security Council

The first meeting took place at the French Mission at the UN Security Council with Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative, and Ms. Camille Petit, second Counselor. Opening the discussion, Dr. Walid Phares summarized the joint memo and the resolutions of the two MECHRIC Conferences in Brussels and Washington as follows:

a. All willing refugee populations now known as internally displaced population IDP in Iraqi Kurdistan should be helped to go back to the Nineveh Plain and Sinjar districts in Northern Iraq. There should be no uprooting of these populations nor should they be transferred from Iraq to other countries. Immigration or political asylum should be considered as personal decisions by individuals and families. The international community should prioritize helping the populations go back to their lands and homes. The United Nations Security Council should issue a special resolution, under Chapter 7, pertaining to establishing an internationally protected zone in Nineveh and Sinjar with an interim force until a permanent political solution is found to the entire Iraqi crisis.

b. Yazidis and Iraqi Christian (Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac) communities should be enabled to man their local government institutions, including police stations, which should be backed by and under the interim authority of the UN until the national authorities in Iraq are reestablished and a consensus is rebuilt. The new UN resolution can act as a follow up to UNSCR 2170 regarding the protection of Iraq’s population from acts of terror by ISIS or other radical forces.

c. The UN would help the local populations of Nineveh and Sinjar be represented in the negotiations about the future of their areas within the wider talks about the future of Iraq. Among the rights already recognized for the minority populations of Iraq, the right for a province and the right for a referendum—acknowledged in the constitutional framework.

d. There needs to be an international tribunal to adjudicate the atrocities committed by the terrorists across Iraq and specifically in Mosul, the Nineveh Plain, and Sinjar against minorities.

e. A special effort and action must be directed at finding and liberating the thousands of women and children abducted by the ISIS terrorists during their attacks.

The French diplomats plan to share the memorandum and explanations with the French government in Paris. They informed the delegation that an international conference on Iraq will take place in Paris in September. The delegation’s Yazidi and Iraqi Christian NGOs requested access in order to represent their communities at that conference.

The meeting at the Italian Mission at the United Nations

The meeting at the Italian Mission at the United Naitons

The delegation was received at the Italian mission by Ambassador Ingio Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative, and Francesco Santillo, counselor and top expert on the Middle East. Ambassador Lambertini said the Italian Prime Minister was recently on an official trip to Irbil and underlined that Italy, currently the President of the European Union, wants an international solution to the ISIS dilemma and will be pushing for such measures at the UN. He added that the situation in Iraq and Syria is on the top of Rome’s agenda at the UN. Dr. Phares suggested that Italy convene an international meeting for Iraqi indigenous ethno-religious groups. Since France will be calling for another conference on Iraq, perhaps the two countries can coordinate the two events. Sheik Ismael provided factual details of the massacres against the Yazidis, and William Yomaran briefed the ambassador on the ethnic cleansing of the Iraqi Christians

Meeting at the UK Mission at the UN Security Council: Presidence of the Council
The delegation was received at the United Kingdom mission at the UN Security Council, currently the President of the Council, by Lisa Maguire, First Secretary, and Senay Bulbul, Second Secretary of the Middle East division. The UK has thus far called two emergency meetings on Iraq and is currently focused on humanitarian aid. Yazidi and Iraqi Christian delegates briefed the mission on the desperate state of the refugees now dispersed across Iraqi Kurdistan and insisted on a resolution to bring back the population to Nineveh and Sinjar.

Meeting at the US Mission at the UN Security Council

Meeting at the US Mission at the UN Security Council

The delegation was received at the U.S. Mission at the UN Security Council by David Richelsoph—Adviser, Political Affairs, Gail Horak—Adviser, Political Affairs,
Kelly Razzouk, Esq.—U.S. mission to the UN Adviser, Economic and Social Council, and
Peggy Kerry—NGO liaison. The U.S. mission welcomed the international NGO delegation, particularly the U.S. components and expressed its satisfaction to see “the widest united coalition of ethno religious minorities in Iraq and the region coming together to the United Nations.” Magdi Khalil reassured the U.S. mission of the unity among Middle East Christian NGOs and the Yazidis. “As NGOs we are now operating as a united front across the Middle East and in the diaspora. As independent civil society groups from regimes and governments in the region, we are openly seeking an internationalization of the issue of minorities within the context of human rights. The U.S. mission expressed its agreement with the principle of action to be taken by the UN Security Council to protect Iraqi minorities but noted that any stipulation of a Chapter 7 resolution must have defined objectives. The mission expressed its agreement with the principle of action to be taken by the UN Security Council to protect Iraqi minorities but noted that any stipulation of the Chapter 7 resolution must have defined objectives. The United States mission to the UN will be engaging other missions to examine the best ways to help the return of refugees to their homes. The Yazidi and Iraqi Christian NGOs invited the U.S. representatives in Northern Iraq to visit Assyrian IDP and local NGOs.

Meeting at the Russian Federation Mission at the UN Security Council

Meeting at the Russian Federation Mission at the UN Security Council

The delegation was received at the Russian Federation Mission at the UN Security Council by Ambassador Peter Iliichev—Deputy Permanent Representative—and staffers. He underlined that the Russian Federation supports the national integrity of Iraq and Syria. He noted that terrorism must be fought and defeated in both countries, adding this has been always the position of the Russian government. He added: “Russia as a Christian nation with a Christian president is not against the protection of the ethno-religious minorities of Iraq as long as it is done through the institutions of the Iraqi state. Moscow will be looking for consensus on this issue from Baghdad’s new government and the international community. Russia will not oppose the establishment of an internationally protected zone if other UNSC members would support it and Baghdad has no issues with it. Magdi Khalil and Tom Harb argued that the minorities’ return to their home cannot wait for the political solutions in Baghdad. This is a humanitarian situation which has to be addressed as such. The Russian officials agreed that the return of the population should be a priority and be backed by the UN, even though the future of the area has to be part of the future of Iraq as a country. The Russian mission said that, despite all other international complications, they will be reaching out to the United States and other permanent missions at the UNSC on this matter.

Meeting at the Secretariat General of the United Nations- Department of Political Affairs

Meeting at the Secretariat General of the United Nations- Department of Political Affairs

At the office of the Secretariat General, the delegation was received by Darko Mocibob—Deputy Director, Middle East and West Africa Division, Yasmin Fadlu-Deen—Senior Political Affairs Offices, Iraq team, Ana Izar—Political Affairs Officer, Iraq team, and Sara Bergamaschi—OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). The two parties reviewed the humanitarian and security situation in northern Iraq and discussed alternative plans and measures to protect the refugee population and escort it back to their towns and villages. The Yazidi representative stressed the urgent nature of actions to be taken. “There are still thousands of people on Mount Sinjar, and ISIS is attempting to invade the mountain with heavy weapons.” The President of the Assyrian Federation, William Romaran, and of the Mesopotamian American Organization, David Lazar, underlined the dramatic situation of the Iraqi Christian refugees inside Iraqi Kurdistan and the necessity of rapid UN action to get aid to them and start the process of escorting them back home as soon as their towns and villages are liberated. Both representatives as well Mr. Abraham Buyuksal, representing the Bethnahrin National Council (Syriac), asked for an internationally protected area as a priority. The Secretariat General officials said the UN is highly concerned over the situation in Iraq and hence has issued Resolution 2170 (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2014/sc11520.doc.htm).
They noted that Mr. Kevin Kennedy—UN acting head, Department of Safety and Security—will be based in Irbil, Iraq (http://www.un.org/sg/management/senstaff_details.asp?smgID=175).

The delegation stressed the importance of direct Humanitarian aid to local NGOs working directly with the refugee communities and submitted a list of these NGOs to establish a direct partnership between these entities and the UN. The officials said at this point the possibility of an international force to protect the Nineveh Plain and the Sinjar regions is not yet considered but indicated that local police forces can be reorganized to protect the regions with international support in providing training. The delegation said it will be working with several governments to insure such a police force is reestablished and that a special UNSCR is issued to establish a protected zone under Chapter 7. The two parties agreed to continue the consultation.

MECHRIC-Yazidis strategic planning and follow up

At the end of the meetings at the United Nations, the joint delegation met to evaluate the situation and drew the following conclusions:

First, the absolute first priority for MECHRIC and the Yazidis is the return of the IDP population, now in Iraqi Kurdistan, to their regions in Nineveh and Sinjar. Not returning them quickly will open the path for several threats. One is the danger of mass migration out of Iraq, opening the path for further ethnic cleansing in the country and the region. All efforts have to concentrate on the immediate and safe return of the exiled population to their homes.

Second, the international community must insure collective security to the communities removed from their towns and villages independently from the political solution in Baghdad or the campaign against the “Islamic State”

Third, the Iraqi Christian (Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac) and Yazidi communities should be enabled to manage their own local government and affairs. They should be enabled to be in charge of their own police stations under UN auspices.

Fourth, endangered Iraqi and Middle East minorities should be under UN protection and should not be used by regional regimes to further their political interests. As they face the threat of Jihadists, these communities wish to be under international protection when needed, not under the protection of authoritarian regimes.

The joint delegation will be following up on this initiative with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the U.S. Congress, as well all involved governments.

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PRESS RELEASE

June 29, 2014

"Mesopotamia's Christians, including Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs and other communities, are calling for a UN deployment in the Nineveh Plain in Northern Iraq under Chapter 7."


Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.

We the undersigned members of Middle East Christians Committee (MECHRIC) and other Middle Eastern Christian Organizations convened on the Capitol Hill on June 26th
2014 to highlight the plight of Christians in the Middle East have been deeply troubled by the anarchic crisis caused by the invasion and occupation of Mosul and Nineveh Plain and some Iraqi cities by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This is particularly grave news for the vulnerable and the already oppressed Christian community that now credibly fears it will be targeted for extermination by such Islamic extremists who are branded for being inhuman and brutal.

We call on the International Community, US Administration, Government of Iraq, and the Regional Government of Kurdistan to mount an immediate and decisive response to purge Mosul and Nineveh Plains of ISIS militants and to provide immediate humanitarian aid and protection to those impacted by violence.

We strongly urge United States and European Union to petition The United Nations Security Council to address this crisis to issue resolution under Chapter 7 to deploy international forces to secure our community in Nineveh Plain and Mosul of Iraq.

The current situation in Iraq and in many other Middle East countries have become tragic for the Christians as they face the risk of extinction in the land of cradle of civilization. If the Western World and in particular United States of America want Christians to be part of the Middle East community, it is now time to act and save them.

Bethnahrin Patriotic Union Iraq
Syriac National Council of Syria
Federation of Syriac Associations in Turkey Universal Syriac Union Party Lebanon European Syriac Union
Bethnahrin Women Union
Suryoyo American Association
Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council
Iraqi Christians Advocacy and Empowerment Institute
Assyrian American National Federation World Council of Cedars Revolution World Maronite Union
Coptic Solidarity


For more information, please contact:

Joseph T. Kassab President, Iraqi Christians Advocacy and Empowerment Institute (ICAE)

e-Mail: JKassabICT@aol.com Phone (248) 882-1912

William Youmaran President, Assyrian American National Federation (AANF)

e-Mail: wyoumaran@yahoo.com Phone (630) 400-5162


Chairman’s Message

Brussels, February 2014

ESU Chairman, Mr. Lahdo HobilDear readers,

Syriac people around the world are watching developments and events in the Middle East countries closely as their brethren continue their presence in the region despite the harsh incidents against them and Christian populations as general. The ongoing trouble and stalemate of political impasse in the Middle East region and the deadlock on the Syrian cri- sis affect enormously the presence and the future aspirations of the Syriac people. Syria has important place among Syriac people as they leave their steps in every moment of the Syrian history.

International community and regional powers did not achieve any success and consensus in order to end the crisis of Syria which became one of the tragic events in history. Since the beginning of the uprising, on 2011, more than
130.000 people lost their life, hundreds of thousands fled the country and nearly half of the Syrian population is in precarious situation. Humanitarian situation and the conditions of refugees and IDP’s is increasingly dramatic as they lack fundamental needs for daily life.

European Syriac Union, ESU with its partner organizations inside Syria and those in Europe territories try all chan- nels to be present, help and coordinate the needs of people inside Syria. In parallel to this, ESU conducted several humanitarian aid campaigns and projects towards Syria with its partners. We will continue our commitment and efforts to the need of Syrian people.

On the other side, nowadays all regards are fixed on Geneva II conference which will seek new route map for Syrian crisis. International community, regional powers and other relevant actors are preparing their positions and alignments regarding this conference. We believe that international community and regional actors can find viable solution to Syria crisis which is becoming extremely dangerous for the Middle East region and poisoning already some countries.

We believe that Syriac people have to find their place in the Geneva II conference. This is very important point for the future of Syriac people in Syria. Ignoring minority groups and non-dominant entities during Geneva II confer- ence will be great error and fundamental missing elements for the peaceful end of this crisis. In order to achieve this point, ESU is working coordinately with its friends and organizations to assure the distinctive presence of Syriac people during the conference.

During the history, Syriac people have been discriminated, killed, massacred and had been subject of the geno- cides. Despite these painful tragedies, Syriac people continue their core existence and flourish their social and cul- tural aspirations. The presence of Syriac people in Middle East countries is an important asset.
ESU will continue to work and put its all efforts and weights on the presentation of Syriac people to the interna- tional platforms and assure and demand their fundamental political, social and cultural rights.

Lahdo Hobil
President of European Syriac Union

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Syrian Christians must have political voice at Geneva II

 

The Syriac   National   Council   of   Syria (SNCS), representing 99% of Syrian Christians, should be invited to the Geneva II peace talks on behalf of its constituents. The Christian  Coalition  for  Syria (CCFS), an initiative SNCS in cooperation with Jubilee Campaign and various organisations in Europe and the USA (www.ccfsyria.com), seeks to rally worldwide support for Syrian Christians to gain a voice in the political process.

Also known as Assyrians, Arameans and Chaldeans, the Syrians are the original native inhabitants of Syria and the Middle East and are internationally known as ‘Syriacs’. Having embraced Christianity at its birth, they should not be confused with the current majority of the nation of Syria, which is mostly Muslim. Even though Syriac history spans at least six millennia, this ethnic group has never gained constitutional rights in Middle Eastern countries. At the International Peace Conference in Geneva on January 22nd, they are again threatened with exclusion.

Political  representation

Peter Bronsveld, director of Human Rights organisation Jubilee Campaign, thinks it is “absurd” that the interests of Syriacs and other Christians have so far been ignored in negotiations. He said, “As this group comprises twelve percent of the Syrian population, at least twelve to fifteen Syrian Christians should be accepted as members in the Syrian National Coalition. While other opposition groups are given the right to join the conversation about a new Syria, Christians and other minorities are still completely ignored. The Syriacs must be given political representation.”

In the coming period the Syriac National Council of Syria, together with Jubilee Campaign and other organisations, will seek to mobilise churches, Christian groups and organisations to get involved and join the coalition. “We are dealing with 2.6 million people that are under immediate threat and need immediate political support from the international Christian community”, says Bronsveld. “I am aware that many petitions for Syria are circulating, but our effort focuses specifically on the support of a political party (the Syriac National Council of Syria) that represents the interests of the majority of Christians in Syria.”

Risk  of  extinction
 
The founders of the coalition are convinced that, without the support and intervention of the worldwide Christian community, the Syriacs are threatened with extinction or with permanent exile from the land that bears their name. At least 600,000 of the 2.6 million Christians living in Syria before the war are now homeless or have fled abroad. As a result of the conflict, thousands of Christians have been killed—often tortured or were summarily executed because of their faith—including various prominent church leaders who were kidnapped, tortured and killed.

The CCFS calls for the international Christian community to join this initiative by endorsing the recommendations of the coalition. These can be found on the website www.ccfssyria.com.
On January 22nd, the coalition intends to join with an official delegation of the Syriac National
Council of Syria and travel with them to Geneva to present the recommendations and statements of support.