18October2017

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

WCA & FAB asks EU to Reconsider its Position on Syria

euMiddle East Division I - Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria
European Union
European External Action Service 
Office: EEAS/PARC - 2/268
9A Rond Point Schuman, 
B-1046 Brussels

Dear Sir/Madam,

We thank you for the meeting with the Fédération des Araméens (Syriaques) de Belgique (“FAB”) in Brussels on 28 November 2012.

The FAB is a member of the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”), a United Nations NGO. It is with great concern for the future of the Aramean (Syriac) Christians in Syria that we meet. The plight of the Christian community in Syria is at risk. We are in the process of witnessing a repeat of Iraq, where 1.4 million Iraqi Christians now number a meager 400,000.  The European Union and its member countries can play a critical role in rectifying issues in Syria.

The WCA proposes the following positions to the EU in relation to Syria:

  1. EU recognition of SNC - the recent recognition of the Syrian National Coalition (“SNC”) as the legitimate representative of the Syria people is highly dangerous and questionable. While we applaud the fact that the EU stopped short of diplomatic recognition of the SNC, the WCA asks the EU to reassess its position on the SNC. There is very little support for the SNC in Syria and it is highly unlikely that the EU member countries actually know who the SNC is. The EU can certainly recognise the SNC if there was visible evidence that the people in Syria view the SNC as the democratically elected government. It is one thing to state to the Syrian Government that it should negotiate with opposition groups, which may include the SNC. But to argue strongly for democracy in Syria and then have external governments recognise an unelected and unrepresentative group of a sovereign country, is highly unjust.
  2.  EU sales of weapons to SNC and Free Syrian Army - There is a link drawn by the EU of recognition of the SNC to the sale of more weapons to the rebels. The WCA requests that the EU holds its ground that all member countries not sell any more weapons to the SNC or FSA. More weapons into Syria will only escalate the war, not slow it down and we believe that the only answer in this situation is a complete cease fire.
  3. EU opening borders - Given all the refugees entering into Europe, we need to find safe havens (whether temporary or permanent) so that the most vulnerable members of Syrian society, the Christians, can enter into European nations as legitimate refugees. Opening doors for Aramean Christians in Syria is critical because they are more susceptible to persecution and death as they are largely innocent members of Syrian society. There are many refugees in Greece (and others in Crete, Italy, Poland, Lebanon, Serbia, Turkey and Iraq) trying to get into European countries like Sweden, Germany, Holland and Belgium (where other Aramean Christians already live in significant numbers). While the WCA does not encourage any Aramean Christian to escape from Syria and seek refugee status, we are trying to deal with the reality on the ground, which is that Aramean (Syriacs) are exiting Syria on a daily basis in the hope of finding a new and safe home. The EU could facilitate such protection of the Aramean refugees for those who have escaped the terror of Syria.
  4. EU Resolution – The Aramean (Syriac) Christians and all other minorities in Syria are at high risk.  Just like any other wartime crisis, minorities are the most vulnerable, and will certainly be in even more danger after the eventual end to the violence (especially if  Bashar al-Assad falls in a non-democratic fashion). The WCA requests that the EU agrees a Resolution that protection of minorities in Syria, especially the Aramean indigenous Christians are a priority. The WCA can assist in drafting such Resolution.
  5. EU Funding – Given the precarious position of Aramean (Syriac) Christians within and outside of Syria, the WCA requests funding from the EU to support the WCA and its European Federations. The WCA and its Federations, such as the FAB, have direct contacts with all Aramean Christians and can provide support directly to these the refugees and IDPs. The EU can benefit from the relationship that the EU draws with the WCA by offering it financial support to responsibly and with full transparency, provide agreed assistance to the Aramean Christian people impacted by the Syria crisis.

Given the above, the WCA and its Belgian member, the FAB, asks the EU and its member countries, to reconsider its position on Syria. We also ask the EU to examine what Aramean Christians in Syria really want and need (please see Attachment 1).

The WCA and the FAB wish to continue dialogue with the European Union and its member countries in order to establish reasonable and workable policy which will have a positive impact on Syria and its people.  

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

cc: Fédération des Araméens (Syriaques) de Belgique, Belgium.


Attachment 1
What Do the Aramean (Syriac) Christians Really Want in Syria?

1. No pre-conditions to dialogue. Forced and meaningful dialogue between the opposing parties;

2. An immediate ceasefire and halting of weapons supply – a ceasefire is the only answer to this crisis;

3. To immediately lift the sanctions against the government and people of Syria;

4. Halting the recruitment of mercenaries from foreign countries brought in to fight the war in Syria;

5. The European Union to agree a Resolution stating that all vulnerable minorities must be protected as a priority;

6. The WCA calls on its Aramean people to remain in Syria, provided they are safe. We also ask the international community and the Syrian government to ensure that this can happen by especially protecting all minorities in Syria from death, kidnappings, daily threats and hunger;

7. Humanitarian aid to be provided to all vulnerable groups within Syria. As a significant minority group, the Aramean Christians are in desperate need of immediate and targeted assistance in Syria;

8. The EU works with UNHCR and Middle Eastern and European countries to do everything in their power to secure the safety of Aramean refugees fleeing war torn Syria, in accordance with the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees;

9. Future democratic elections to be held and a new constitution to be created for a federal Syrian State which takes into consideration the protection of all minorities, especially the Christian Arameans who have a direct link to their indigenous lands in Syria. We cannot have a repeat of Iraq where the Christian community felt in danger or reprisals and therefore left the country; and

10. Protective States based upon historical, indigenous and cultural links to the land, including an Aramean State or Administrative Area.

 

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