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.
Ms. Karina Shiroma delivering the statement of the WCA during the UN Human Rights Council General Debate on item 4.
On behalf of the WCA, Ms. Karina Shiroma informed the Human Rights Council about the ongoing attacks by terrorist organizations and local militia groups against the indigenous Aramean population of Syria and Iraq. It called on the Human Rights Council to recognize the sufferings and even the very existence of the Aramean people, while ensuring their protection and future presence in the land of their ancestors.
A similar message was expressed by NGOs like Alliance Defending Freedom International, which called on the High Commission for Human Rights to consider the atrocities committed by "ISIS against Christians (particularly the native Aramean population of eastern Syria), Yazidis and other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and officially recognise them as genocide."
The WCA statement submitted to the UN Human Rights Council:
VULNERABLE MINORITIES OF IRAQ AND SYRIA NEED YOUR RECOGNITION AND HUMANITARIAN AID
Thank you Mr. President,
As the indigenous people of Iraq and Syria, the Arameans are among the major and ongoing victims of militant Islamic organizations such as ISIS.
Just a few days ago, in the north-eastern Syrian town of Qamishli, a terrorist blew himself up in a failed attempt to assassinate the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch and hundreds of civilians, killing two Arameans and injuring five others. This foiled attack was planned to take place at a commemoration ceremony of the still unrecognized Ottoman genocide of 1915, when 70% of the Aramean people were exterminated from their historic homeland in this same region of Qamishli – a town that was founded in 1926 by Arameans and where their existence, in addition to ISIS, is also threatened by the ongoing intimidation and aggression by the Kurdish YPG-forces.
The Arameans have been reduced from a substantial majority to a vulnerable and threatened minority in their homeland. In 2016, the parliaments of the European Union, the Council of Europe and some member states of this distinguished Human Rights Council rightly recognized the genocide committed by ISIS against Yazidis, Aramean Christians and other vulnerable minorities.
In order to preserve the vanishing cultural mosaic of Syria and Iraq, we appeal to the distinguished member of this Human Rights Council to
- Ask the UN Security Council to acknowledge the genocide perpetrated by ISIS against Yazidis, Arameans and other vulnerable minorities.
- Identify the vulnerable minorities in need of humanitarian and development aid and recognize them, so that UN member states can help them survive in their homeland and prevent the ongoing waves of refugee to continents like Europe.
- Support the victims of Iraq’s Mosul province when it will be retaken from ISIS, by helping hundreds of thousands Yazidis, Arameans and other displaced groups to return home and by guaranteeing their right to protection by a United Nations Peacekeeping Force.
Thank you, Mr. President!
Click here to download the statement in PDF.
The Aramean delegation to the UN office in Geneva, f.l.t.r. Ms. Maria-José Manzano, Ms. Karina Shiroma, Ms. Alexandra Tawaifi, Ms. Sarah Bakir, Mr. Johny Messo and Mr. Jacob Harman.