19September2017

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

WCA to UN Syria Commission in Geneva: Stop dancing around issue, time for new approach

On Monday, 21 September 2015, the WCA was the first of 10 NGOs that were given the opportunity to speak about Syria at the United Nations in Geneva during the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council under Agenda item 4, Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic; for earlier meetings with the Commission, see here (18 March 2015), here (18 June 2014)here (18 March 2014) and here (17 Sept. 2013).

Concerned about the disappearance of Syria's vulnerable minorities, and thus of the pluralistic character of Syrian society, the WCA implored the Commission to consider two critical but underreported issues. Due to time constraints, we could not focus on the hundreds of Aramean Christians held hostage by Islamic State and other militant Muslims, incl. two Archbishops from Aleppo since 22 April 2013, over 200 Arameans from the Assyrian Church of the East since mid-February 2015 from the Hasakah Province and 255 Arameans from the Syriac Orthodox since 7 August 2015 from the Homs region. In any case, the distinguished Commisioners requested the WCA to send them detailed information about these and other crimes against the Aramean Christians who have become a vulnerable minority in Syria. 

Ms. Sarah Bakir from the Netherlands (Main Delegate to the UN in Geneva) spoke on behalf of the WCA and was assisted by Ms. Nathalie Korkis from Sweden (Delegate to the UN in Geneva; delegated by the local Syriac Aramaic Youth Federation). 

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Thank you, Madam Vice-President.

Again we remind the world of the chilling fact that Syria’s indigenous Christianity is disappearing. Right in front of our eyes, the Aramean people of Syria, and of Iraq and Turkey for that matter, are crucified again, and again and again.

The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) asks the COI to recognize, stress and promote the following two critical issues that are not addressed by the Report:

  1. First, unlike the much larger groups in Syria who receive all kinds of support from known states, patrons and sponsors, the small number of Arameans are alone in their struggle against an existential threat in their homeland. Moreover, until this day no humanitarian help from the UN or the EU has reached Syria’s native Arameans. Neither as part of the aid distributed to its population in general, nor as a distinct group like Syria’s Palestinians for instance.
  2. Secondly, the United Nations must stop dancing around the issue. In order to end the vicious circle of violence in Syria, it is time to approach the conflict as a proxy war. The Report should name and shame those states who aid terrorist networks, and demand accountability and a political solution.

Therefore, we ask the Commission of Inquiry on Syria to urge the UN Member States the following:

  1. First, to pay heed to the cries of Syria’s native Aramean population and grant political, humanitarian and other forms of aid to this vulnerable minority. This way, Syria’s ethnic and religious mosaic can still be saved.
  2. Secondly, to find and implement a political solution by forming a coalition jointly led by the USA and Russia that can eradicate the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, without delay. This way, the growing problems of terrorism, security and the refugee crisis will be solved too.

Click here to download the statement in PDF | Click here to view the recording on UN WebTV (under no. 61) 

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