UN Commission on Syria listens again to Arameans in Geneva

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Syria informed the international community on its report of March 2014 and on its latest findings at the Human RIghts Council's 26th Session in Geneva, this Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 June 2014. Followed by the Interactive Dialogue with the CoI, governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were invited to share their thoughts and concerns.

The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) was among the few NGOs that were granted the opportunity to speak. The WCA reiterated its concerns about the whereabouts of the two abducted bishops. It called again upon the CoI and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to condemn this case and investigate it, considering its huge impact on Syria's endangered Christian population that continues to suffers from other issues that were addressed in the statement.

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Click here to download the statement in PDF or click here to watch it on the UN Webtv (#12).

We thank the Commission of Inquiry for the very important work it is conducting regarding the appalling situation in Syria.

Last month, we reported to various UN commissions that Islamists cut off the water supplies to the city of Aleppo. Since then, we received reports from our people that different areas of the city are again cut off from water supplies. The population is still heavily suffering from it. This issue needs special attention by the Human Rights Council. It can lead to a humanitarian catastrophe, including an epidemic outbreak. We join the recent calls by the Secretary-General and the Commission of Inquiry on this issue to those states with influence over the warring parties to fulfill their obligations and to ensure that water supplies are restored immediately.

More than a year ago, Islamists abducted two prominent Christian leaders in Aleppo who were Bishops of the Syriac and Greek Orthodox Churches. Until today, there is no reliable information about their whereabouts. We ask the Commission of Inquiry to investigate the matter and judge whether this is a political case through which pressure is being put on the Christian population in Syria. We further ask the UN Secretary-General to firmly condemn this abduction, which is perceived by the Aramean people as entailing a message to eradicate the native Christians from their homeland.

Syria’s Christian Churches strongly condemn all such crimes against humanity, including those committed in violation of religious freedom.

Last month, our NGO invited high-level representatives of the largest Christian Churches in Syria, including the Greek Orthodox, Greek Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Syriac Orthodox Churches as speakers at a conference in Geneva, entitled “Christians in Syria – the challenge of speaking with one voice.” This delegation issued a communiqué with the following joint message:

  1. All parties in conflict and those who support them in any way are called upon to stop fuelling the war and to stop supporting directly or indirectly war crimes and crimes against humanity;
  2. All international actors are called upon to support all Syrian people of good will in order to rebuild Syria, based on principles of respect for all citizens, irrespective of their religious affiliation and personal convictions.

Once again we appeal to this forum for immediate support to this urgent cry for help and call for peace by Syria’s indigenous population.

We demand a cease-fire and a genuine commitment from the international community to put an end to these proxy wars that are utterly destroying Syria and Iraq, our ancient homelands. Enough is enough!

Thank you, Mr. President




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