EU: Comments and Amendments for Draft Resolution on Turkey’s 2011 Progress Report


In addition to the COVER LETTER BELOW, read the SUA's proposals for amendments (pp. 3-5).

Also read the "SUA Report to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Human Rights Committee, 104th session, 12 - 30 March 2012" as as well as the SUA 2011 Turkey Report submitted to the UN. 

Based on our proposals, 8 amendments (118, 227, 231, 235, 240, 290, 293 & 297) were tabled to the Draft Motion for a Resolution on the Turkey 2011 Progress Report. On 29 February 2012, however, the Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs only voted in favor of this Amendment 240:

“Reiterates its concerns about property ownership and property rights of minorities such as  the difficulties encountered by the Aramean (Syriac) Community in relation to property ownership and calls upon the government to ensure that the Saint Gabriel monastery, founded in 397 AD, is not deprived of its lands, and that it is protected in its entirety; furthermore expresses its concern about the continuation of unlawful appropriation of significant amounts of land historically and legally belonging to ancient Aramean (Syriac) monasteries, churches and proprietors in Southeast Turkey.”

The Syriac Universal Alliance (“SUA”) refers to the Draft Motion for a Resolution on Turkey’s 2011 Progress Report written by Mrs. Ria Oomen-Ruijten and dated 19 December 2011 (“Draft Motion”). We understand that the deadline for tabling amendments to the Draft Motion is 18 January 2012, and wish to provide our comments and proposed amendments to the Draft Motion.

The SUA is a Non‐Governmental Organization (NGO) in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 1999. It is the leading voice of the Aramean (Syriac) people who are indigenous to Southeast Turkey (see “Attachment 1”), and thus rightfully seeks to secure their fundamental human rights, undifferentiated from those afforded to other minorities.

The SUA has comprehensively reviewed the Draft Motion as well as the Turkey 2011 Progress Report and commends the efforts made in dealing with minority rights in Turkey. However, we are concerned that the Draft Motion does not mention the plight of the Aramean people in Southeast Turkey and therefore does not sufficiently tell the full story of the events taking place on the ground.

Comments on the Draft Motion:

  • In the Resolution on Turkey's progress report 2009, the European Parliament expressly referred to the problems faced by the Arameans with respect to the illegal land expropriation. With great concern, this has not been reaffirmed in the 2010 Resolution nor in the 2011 Draft Motion, despite the hugely deteriorated situation. In addition, it does not reflect the position taken in Resolution 1704 (2010) by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the illicit appropriation of land and the continued lack of a legal status of the Arameans in Turkey.
  • In the attached table (see “Attachment 2”), the SUA submits comments and recommendations to the Draft Motion. We encourage the European Parliament to take this opportunity and set before its constituents momentous resolutions that will ensure that the problems of the neglected and forgotten Aramean people are seriously considered on equal footing with other minorities in Turkey.

    The Syriac Universal Alliance would also be most thankful if the European Union closely monitors the precarious situation of the Aramean (Syriac) people in Turkey and conducts biannual reviews.

We trust that you and your fellow Members of the European Parliament will critically address the urgent issues raised in our letter. Should you wish to discuss any of the points addressed herein, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Mr. Daniel Gabriel, our Human Rights and UN NGO Director, on daniel.gabriel@sua‐ngo.org.

Respectfully yours,

Johny Messo | SUA President




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