Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Ninth session. Item 7 – Future Work of the Permanent Forum, including issues of the Economic and Social Council and Emerging issues
New York, 19-30 April 2010
Arameans (Syriacs) as the Indigenous People of the Middle East:
Identity Endangered and Existence Denied in Turkey
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
Shlomo 'al kulkhu! Greetings to all of you, as we say in our Aramaic mother tongue! We thank the Members of this Forum, including the Honourable Chairperson and the Rapporteur, for this most successful Indigenous Forum.
The WCA gave a statement in Geneva during the General Debate of the 33rd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council. It emphasized that the indigenous Aramean people of Syria and Iraq are facing excintion and that the world needs to speak up and prevent such a humanitarian disaster from happening. The WCA Delegate Alexandra Tawaifi from Sweden presented the statement. The other WCA Delegates are Maria Manzano from Geneva and Jacob Harman from Sweden.
Alexandra Tawaifi delivering the statement of the WCA during the UN Human Rights Council General Debate under item 4.
The WCA Delegates Maria Manzano and Jacob Harman are seated behind Ms. Tawaifi.
Geneva, 21 June 2016
On 21 June 2016, the UN Human Rights Council continued its 32nd Session of the interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic. With the presentation of its report, titled “'They came to destroy': ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis” (15 June 2015), the COI argued that ISIS is guilty of genocide against the Yazidis and called upon the UN Security Council to refer this case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) “or to establish an ad hoc tribunal with relevant geographic and temporal jurisdiction.”
Discussion of the special theme for the year “Indigenous peoples: development with culture and identity: articles 3 and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”
Arameans as the Indigenous People of the Middle East: Identity Endangered and Existence Denied in Turkey
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
Shlomo ‘al kulkhu! Greetings to all of you, as we say in our Aramaic mother tongue!
Once again, the WCA addressed the Interactive Dialogue with the UN Commission of inquiry on Syria at the 33rd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The first key message was to recognize, stop, punish and prevent acts of genocide committed by ISIS against Syria’s vulnerable minorities, such as the Arameans and Yazidis. Secondly, the ongoing attempts of the Kurdish YPG forces to forcefully Kurdify their fellow citizens in a self-declared region called ‘Rojava’ must be halted, not only because they fuel the conflict in the region and thus jeopardize the existence of minorities such as the Arameans who are on the brink of extinction in their homeland if the world does not act soon.
The WCA Delegate Jacob Harman from Sweden attracted the attention of the Commission, States and NGOs. He was assisted by Maria Manzano from Geneva and the WCA Syria Researcher from Sweden, Alexandra Tawaifi.
On 15 March 2016, the interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic commenced. During this segment of the 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council, states, NGOs and other stakeholders were invited to share their statements on the situation in the country. The WCA presented the COI and the Members of the Human Rights Council the statement below.
On Tuesday 14 March 2017, the WCA participated in the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council. It delivered an oral statement to both the High-Level Panel Meeting on Syria and later during the Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. On behalf of the WCA, Mr. Jacob Harman stressed the ignored atrocities endured by Syria's native Arameans. Furthermore, he reiterated the need to include all Syrian groups and parties such as the Arameans to participate in the peace process to ensure its succes.
Scroll down to read and download the statement.
Geneva, 23 June 2016
Continuing the general debate under item four of the Human Rights Council Session, a number of NGOs, including the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs), took the floor to address the dire situation of the vulnerable minorities in the Middle East.
On 22 September 2015, the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council continued its session with a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. After addressing the UN Commission on Inquiry on Syria the day before, the WCA called specific attention for the neglected question of the Middle East’s most ancient indigenous people, the Arameans and their dying Aramaic language.
In her statement, the WCA’s Main Delegate to the UN, emphasized the urgent need for a UN Fund for Threatened Indigenous Peoples of the Middle East. This can guarantee the survival of the region’s native inhabitants who are not on the agenda of the UN Indigenous Peoples mechanisms.