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We have the pleasure of inviting you to yet another significant side event at the UN Office in Geneva this Monday, 26 January 2015, one day before Turkey’s Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations:

Turkey’s Native Aramean People: The Case of an Unrecognised Minority
Monday 26 January 2015
12:00 – 14:00 hours 
Room XXII, Palais des Nations 
United Nations Office in Geneva

The event, which has attracted the attention of a number of UN Missions, NGOs and media, will highlight why the recognition of the Aramean people is of critical importance for their survival in Turkey (and the broader Middle East). Thus, the WCA and our prominent guest speakers will offer recommendations to the UN regarding the recognition of the Aramean people. This ancient Semitic people is native to Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, where their presence is currently endangered.

For further information, you can contact Sarah Bakir, the WCA’s Main Delegate to the UN Office Geneva (UNOG), at sarah.bakir [at] wca-ngo.org.

see below for the program

12:00 – 12:10 Opening by Moderator Johny Messo, President World Council of Arameans (Syriacs)

12:10 – 12:15 Video clip: 3,000-year-old Aramean Cultural Heritage

12:15 – 12:45 Guest speakers

  • Ms. Susanne Güsten, Foreign correspondent in Turkey & Mercator-IPC Fellow at Istanbul Policy Center
  • Mr. Gregor Puppinck, General Director of European Centre for Law and Justice
  • Ms. Nurcan Kaya, Turkey coordinator of Minority Rights Group

12:45 – 13:00 Interventions by UN Member States

13:00 – 13:45 Q & A

13:45 – 14:00 Closing remarks Moderator Johny Messo, President World Council of Arameans (Syriacs)



WCA’s Speech in Geneva at UN Special Session on Iraq: Enough is Enough!

On Monday 1 September 2014, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva held its 22nd Special Session regarding “the human rights situation in Iraq in light of abuses committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associated groups.” A number of states and NGOs, among which the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”), raised their concerns about the escalating human rights abuses in the region. 

Mr. Basil Özkaya, WCA Main Representative to the UN Office in Geneva, speaks during the 22nd HRC Special Session on Iraq


WCA speaks at UN in Geneva: Syria's Christian presence endangered

On Tuesday, 18 March 2014, a four-headed WCA Delegation arrived in Switzerland to participate in the 25th Session of the United Nations' Human Rights Council in order to call attention for the dire situation of Syria's native Aramean Christians. During the Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, the WCA expressed its deep concerns about the endangered presence of the Christians in yet another predominantly Muslim country. It further called upon the UN member states, such as the United States, Qatar and Turkey, "to break their screaming silence and speak up for the suffering Christians." 

Click here to download the statement in PDF or click here to watch the address given by the WCA President (Mr. Johny Messo) via the UN Webcast (under number 3).

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Historic Statement: Arameans Seek Statehood at UN Forum in Geneva

The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”) invited one of the first registered Arameans from Israel to present the momentous statement below on behalf of the Arameans worldwide at the United Nations Office in Geneva. On Wednesday, 26 November, the WCA addressed the Seventh Session of the Forum on Minority Issues on “Preventing and addressing violence and atrocity crimes targeted against minorities.” The video will be uploaded soon. 

Click here to download the statement in PDF | Click here to watch the video.

My name is Shadi Khaloul, I am an Aramean Christian from Israel.

I am a member of the Syriac Maronite Church, but the Aramean people also consist of the Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Chaldean, ‘Nestorian’ and Melkite churches.

On behalf of the Aramean people, who are the natives of Southeast Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, our NGO comes once again to this distinguished forum to ask the United Nations and its Member States for recognition in three significant ways.

1. Recognition of violence and crimes of the last 100 years
Allow me to remind the world of some chilling facts regarding the Aramean Christians:

  • In Turkey, more than half a million were murdered and expelled since 1895.
  • From Lebanon, more than 1,5 million were killed and expelled since 1860.
  • In Iraq, more than 1 million were forced to leave since 2003.
  • In Syria, almost a million have escaped their homeland since 2011.

All this happened largely at the hands of Turkish, Kurdish and Arab armed forces. This resulted in the near total destruction of the Aramean people and its rich cultural heritage.

2. Recognition and action in relation to ongoing crimes
History is repeating itself and it appears that it never really stopped.

In Syria and Iraq, we see a continuation of the crimes by Muslim militants against the Aramean Christians such as killings, tortures, beheadings, crucifixions and kidnappings.

The barbarism of these terrorist groups, who receive major funding from certain UN Member States, has caused a new mass exodus.

3. Recognition of our people by Israel and beyond
Mr. President, my own democratic country of Israel recently recognized the Arameans as an ethnic minority. This has enabled me and my children to correct our identity cards and to register ourselves as “Aramean Christians,” because until recently we were incorrectly identified as “Arab Christians.”

Not only is this historic decision by Israel and the Jewish people in accord with international law, we are also delighted that finally a state has heard our plea.
Now we expect other UN Members and NGOs to equally recognize our people and thus ensure our human rights, especially Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.

In conclusion: three recommendations
Mr. President, we are re-living the nightmares of the Ottoman Genocide of 1915.

As we are struggling for survival, we ask the international community to guarantee UN charters and international law by recognizing:

  1. the ongoing atrocity crimes suffered by the Arameans;
  2. the Arameans as a distinct people; and
  3. the need for a debate about self-determination of the Aramean people.

In light of the inability or unwillingness of the governments in our home countries to protect the Arameans from total annihilation and to help them preserve their endangered cultural heritage, we appeal to the conscience of this distinguished forum and stress:

It is about time to grant the native Aramean people also their own democratic state in the land of their ancestors.

Thank you Mr. President.


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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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Oral Statement at the 24th Session of the Human Rights Council Geneva

Oral Statement Human Rights Council 24th Session
Item 4: Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry for the Syrian Arab Republic

Click here to download the statement

Thank you Mr. President,

The Christians in Syria suffer like never before. The war has brought nothing but destruction and a more than uncertain future. We receive daily reports from our Aramean people about targeted violence against Christians by militant Islamists.

The abduction of two high representatives of the churches in Syria, the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo H.E. Gregorius Hanna Ibrahim, and his Greek Orthodox colleague H.E. Boulos al-Yazigi, four months ago reveal the disturbing plan of a huge part of the opposition to fight the Christians and drive them out of the country. The two Bishops are still missing and we request the opposition to immediately set them free.

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UN Geneva | Christians in the Middle East: Citizenship, Human Rights and their Future

27th Session of the UN Human Rights Council: Side Event
Geneva, 15 September 2014

Tentative Program | Flyer

In the face of the deteriorating situation of Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria, the WCA is co-organizing the following side event during the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva:


Christians in the Middle East:
Citizenship & Human Rights and their Future
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
14:00 – 16:00h
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Room XXI


WCA speaks at UN in Geneva: Help Christians in Syria and Turkey

On Tuesday, 18 May 2014, the WCA delivered its second statement during the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the United Nations in Geneva. In the morning, the WCA had addressed the HRC regarding the crisis in Syria (click here). In the afternoon, during the General Debate, the WCA reminded the international community of the ongoing struggle for survival by the Aramean people in Turkey and Syria. The WCA reiterated its grave concerns concerning the gloomy future of the Christians in Syria, and once again asked the UN for support in the case of the abducted bishops of Aleppo.

Click here to download the statement in PDF or click here to watch the statement given by the WCA President (Mr. Johny Messo) on the UN Webcast (under number 32).


Oral Statement HRC 24th Session - General Debate

World Council of Arameans (Syriacs)
Oral Statement Human Right Council 24th Session - General Debate

The Silent Genocide and Mass Exodus of the Christians in Syria: Deafening Silence from the International Community

Click here to download the oral statement

Thank you Mr. President,

The forgotten Christians in Syria suffer like never before. Every single day we receive heartbreaking reports from our people in Syria, who are increasingly leaving their homeland.

We are saddened by the deafening silence about this reality. We are happy to note that some countries spearheaded by Russia call attention for Syria’s vulnerable minorities, but we are also compelled to note that many governments and mainstream media remain silent on this. The most recent example was a press conference that took place just yesterday in Paris by the foreign ministers of France, England and America.



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