18October2017

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

URGENT REQUEST TO FREE FROM POLISH DETENTION CENTER EIGHT (8) ARAMEAN CHRISTIAN REFUGEES FROM SYRIA

The Syria crisis has led to a huge influx of Aramean (Syriac) Christians from Syria who try to seek shelter in Europe. On their difficult journey towards safety, many of of them have been imprisoned. Hence we appeal to you, as Polish politicians, and ask for your urgent help in getting eight (8) of these refugees (i.e. two [2] families) released from the following guarded detention center in Poland:

trzeżony Ośrodek Areszt w Celu
Generała Władysława Sikorskiego 78 
11 400 Kętrzyn, Polska

The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”) is a global umbrella organization that represents the Aramean people and which is their only United Nations NGO. It enjoys worldwide recognition and support from all its Aramean (Syriac) National Federations and Local Associations as well as by the leadership of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the second largest Christian group in Syria.

In cooperation with Syriac Orthodox Monks in Athens, the WCA has successfully appealed to the Greek authorities, who recently freed 12 Arameans from Greek prisons. More will follow soon, but we keep receiving phone calls from concerned relatives about many other detainees in several countries. Therefore, we again ask your urgent attention for the following sad case in Poland.

Why and How did Aramean Refugees from Syria end up in Poland? 
The two families, consisting of three parents and five children, were approached by human traffickers who lucratively exploit the turmoil in the country. They paid a total sum of 46,500 EURO to flee Syria via Istanbul in order to reach Germany as their promised destination.

During the flight, the trafficker sat in the first part of the aircraft, while the families were seated in the back of the plane. When the plane had landed, the families, who only speak Aramaic and Arabic, found themselves in Poland, while their trafficker had disappeared with their money and passports
Without legal documents, they were caught eleven (11) days ago at customs and brought to the guarded detention center in Ketryzyn. The refugees informed the WCA that they suffer from hardship in this center, where they experience that they are being “treated like criminals.”

They have to pay for all expenses (including food, drinks and clothing) and they run out of money. Since they took no luggage with them on their journey towards safety, they are not able to get clean clothes at the center. One of the detainees has not even been able to take a shower thus far.

The language of communication also forms a barrier. The guardians only converse in Polish and have denied the refugees’ request to get a translator, as the nearest Arabic-speaking one seems to live at a distance of 400 kilometers from the center and this would be too expensive. In any case, the employees have clarified the Aramean refugees that their family must send them clean clothes.

What does the WCA request from You?

  1. Your immediate action to set free the three parents and five children who escaped Syria, only because they longed for safety and a better future for themselves and their children;
  2. To see whether there are possibilities for them to seek temporary or permanent asylum in The Netherlands, where at least the children can hopefully continue their education until the situation in their homeland will become safe and stable again.

On behalf of the refugee families in need of your support, we thank you kindly for your cooperation and efforts to free them as soon as possible from the guarded detention center.

For more information on this case, please contact our paralegal, Ms. Sarah Bakir from Hengelo, The Netherlands, at sarah.bakir [at] wca-ngo.org.

With my deepest appreciation,

Johny Messo
President
World Council of Arameans (Syriacs),
Formerly “Syriac Universal Alliance”athens

    The WCA with Aramean refugees from Syria in Athens, Greece

 

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