18October2017

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION IN SPECIAL CONSULTATIVE STATUS WITH THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

A SUMMARY REPORT ON “Aramean (Syriac) Refugees from Syria into Greece via Turkey: A Case Study of Refugees in Need in Athens”

athensLondon, Wednesday 12 September 2012

A SUMMARY REPORT ON

“Aramean (Syriac) Refugees from Syria into Greece via Turkey: A Case Study of Refugees in Need in Athens”


BY THE WORLD COUNCIL OF ARAMEANS (SYRIACS) ON A VISIT TO CHRISTIAN ARAMEAN (SYRIAC) REFUGEES FROM SYRIA TO GREECE VIA TURKEY

5 – 8 September 2012


For the immediate attention of
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,
Human Rights Council of the United Nations,
Council of the European Union; and
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive summary P. 3

1. Introduction P. 4

2. General Conclusions of this Study P. 6

3. Urgent requests on behalf of the Aramean refugees in Greece P. 7

4. Follow up work by the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) P. 8

5. Appendix: 18 refugees and their stories P. 9


Executive Summary


The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (formerly the “Syriac Universal Alliance”) (“WCA”) is a United Nations Non-Governmental Organisation with the Economic and Social Council. The WCA is extremely concerned about the current situation in Syria. The WCA seeks to defend the interests of Minorities in Syria, with a particular focus on the 10% of Christians in the country.

One of the primary fears of all parties involved in the Syria crisis has been the refugee and internally displaced persons of Syria. The WCA understands that some 300 Aramean (Syriac) Christian families have escaped from Syria and fled to Greece to seek refuge. We have worked with the Syriac Orthodox Church Clergy in order to uncover some of their stories.

The WCA travelled to Greece from 5-8 September, 2012 and met with 19 Arameans in a hotel conference room in the city of Athens. We conducted interviews with all these refugees and revealed heart-breaking stories of fear, courage, despair, hope and love.

The refugees informed us how all of them crossed the borders into Turkey, some through legal and others through illegal borders. Many of them left Syria because they felt threatened and intimidated, they did not wish to fight in this war and others fled from the fear of a bleak future. What is clear is that the hell which they felt in Syria is now somewhat mirrored in the Diaspora. All are afraid of what is next for them in Greece. Many stay in dismal and depressing situations, afraid to leave their new homes, hoping not to be robbed, arrested or forced back to Syria. They are all trying to leave Greece for either Sweden or Germany where other family members are located.

All of the refugees in Greece are pleading for assistance. One of them has been in a Greek jail for 13 days with his younger brother fearing for his well-being. One Aramean has sold all his possessions, fled Syria and is taking care of his entire family of 9 people, including young children and babies. He has spent huge amounts of his money on food and shelter in Greece and is now using the last amounts of his money to purchase fake passports and work through human traffickers to get his whole family out of Greece. The situation is extremely desperate for these people and they are in dire need of assistance.

Not only do all the refugees fear for their own future but they plead for peace to reign in Syria. They are afraid for their relatives and countrymen and women who have been left behind.

While in Greece they need assistance. They humbly request not to be arrested, not to be returned to Syria or Turkey, to be sent to other relatives in Sweden and Germany, to be provided with food and shelter, they plead not to have to work with human traffickers and they ask to live with dignity while they search for a new home.

The WCA and the Syriac Orthodox Church humbly requests your urgent assistance to help refugees who remain in Greece and are attempting to enter Greece at the moment.  


NOTE: Names have been altered in this report to protect the identity of the refugees (fearing personal and family retribution from parts of the Syria crisis).


READ THE 16-PAGE SUMMARY REPORT HERE!

 

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