27June2017

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

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Christmas gift to Qamishli

On 28 December 2015, the WCA and its Member Federations, distributed food packages to 400 Aramean families in Qamishli, northeast Syria; see here for a similar Easter Gift. The WCA's local branch, the Syriac Aramaic Association of Qamishli, coordinated everything. What was meant to be a happy and joyful event, was destroyed the next day when 13 Christians (9 Arameans, 4 Armenians) were killed in the same city by unidentified terrorists.

Click here for a video report in Modern Aramaic. 

 

Food packages have been prepared and distributed by the Syriac Aramaic Association of Qamishli.

 

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The humanitarian aid gift was a project of the WCA, its Member Federations and sister organizations. 

 

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Members of the coordination team hand out the food packages and register their number.

 

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The first families arrive to pick up their food package.

 

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Arameans of Qamishli establish association

After months of preparatory work, on 18 December 2015 the WCA proudly announced the foundation of a Syriac Aramean Association in Qamishli, a town in northeast Syria that borders southeast Turkey, with support of the WCA Member Federations and the Aramaic TV Channel Suryoyo Sat.

 

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Aramese organisaties en bisschop van Homs vragen Tweede Kamer hulp voor Aramese christenen in Syrie en Irak

Enschede / Den Haag, 14 november 2015 - Aanstaande dinsdag 17 november 2015 zullen de World Council of Arameans, de Suryoye Aramese Federatie Nederland en de Aramese Beweging voor Mensenrechten een petitie aanbieden aan leden van de Tweede Kamer. De petitie zal overhandigd worden door Aramese vluchtelingen uit Maaloula. Maalolua is één van de oudste christelijke steden ter wereld, waar tot twee jaar geleden het West-Aramees, de taal van Jezus, gesproken werd. Twee jaar geleden werd het bezet door Al Nusra. Het christelijk erfgoed werd vernietigd. Geestelijken zijn er ontvoerd en mensen werden op straffe van de dood gedwongen zich te bekeren tot de Islam. Zij die weigerden werden vermoord. Inmiddels is Maaloula in handen van het regeringsleger.

In 2013 overhandigde de SAFN eveneens een petitie, betreffende de situatie van christenen in Syrië, aan de Vaste Commissie voor Buitenlandse Zaken van de Tweede Kamer (zie hier).

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Landmark Decision: Armenian Parliament Recognizes Aramean Genocide

On 24 March 2015, the Armenian National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan passed a Bill condemning the Genocide of the Greeks and Arameans Perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey in 1915-1923. The draft Bill was adopted with 117 votes “for,” with no abstentions or votes “against” the Bill. The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs), the United Nations NGO representing Aramean Christians across the world, applauds the Republic of Armenia for its recognition of this forgotten Genocide.

The Armenian Standing Committee on Foreign Relations had earlier sponsored the Bill leading to healthy debate in the Parliament. The discussions referred to several international resolutions and conventions in order to substantiate their decision. This included the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96 of 11 December 1946, titled “The Crime of Genocide,” the 11 December 1946 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the 26 November 1968 Convention on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Aramean (Syriac) people were subjected to a horrific Genocide by the Ottoman (Turkish) Government in 1895 and from 1915-1923. This year of 2015, marks the 100 year anniversary since the terror rained on the Armenian, Greek and Aramean (Syriac) populations of Turkey.

The Aramean people are the indigenous people of Southeast Turkey and, like the Armenians and Greeks, suffered a campaign of race extermination by the Ottomans, who were assisted by numerous Kurdish tribes. The Arameans who managed to escape the Genocide, continued to suffer the theft and occupation of their indigenous lands and constant terror, persecution and massacres in Southeast Turkey. This has now led to a large Diaspora living in exile throughout the world.

It is a fact of history that as Turkey wiped out over 1.5 million Armenians, the Ottomans also sanctioned the systematic annihilation of the Arameans (Syriacs) and Greeks. Henry Morgenthau, U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (1913-16), testified as follows about the ethnic cleansing of the Arameans (also referred to as “Syrians” for historical reasons) by the Turks:

“And now the Young Turks, who had adopted so many of [Sultan] Abdul Hamid’s ideas, also made his Armenian policy their own. Their passion for Turkifying the nation seemed to demand logically the extermination of all Christians – Greeks, Syrians, and Armenians ... They would destroy all Greeks, Syrians, Armenians, and other Christians, move Moslem families into their homes and into their farms, and so make sure that these territories would not similarly be taken away from Turkey” (Ch. XXII).

Mr. Johny Messo, President of the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs), welcomes the Resolution and remarks: “During this 100 year anniversary of the Ottoman Genocide of the Armenians, Greeks and Arameans, we are left at a crossroads. In order to step into a brighter future, states must recognize their past and decide whether they wish to remain stuck in the past or prefer to move forward. Just like the German State recognized the Holocaust, for instance, it would benefit the Turkish State to come to terms with the dark pages of its history, reconcile with the victims, and gain the respect and appreciation of the world community. During this centennial year, we ask all governments of the world, in particular of Turkey, to mirror the example of the Armenian people.”


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NOTE ON THE MISSTRANSLATION OF ARMENIAN ASORI AS “ASSYRIAN”

In recognizing the Genocide of the Arameans (Syriacs), the Armenian Parliament refers to “Asori.” In Armenian, “Asori” and “Asoreren” are well-acknowledged terms to mean “Syrian” people and “Syriac” language, which are originally Greek terms for the Semitic (Hebrew and Aramaic) names of the “Aramean” people and “Aramaic” language. Historians, linguists and scholars of Armenian Studies widely confirm the historical and linguistic fact that “Asori” should be translated as “Syrian; Aramean.” They have also clearly clarified the confusing and inaccurate translation of the resembling English term “Assyrian,” which itself is actually “Asorestants’i” in Armenian.

For the Turkish term Süryani, which has also sometimes erroneously been translated as “Assyrian,” see a brief explanation with academic references at http://wca-ngo.org/heritage/288-fact-sheet-sueryani-means-syrian-syriac-or-aramean-aramaic.

Click here to download this Press Release in PDF.

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Genocide - Appeal to German Government

Below is a joint declaration that calls upon the German Government to assume its responsibility concerning the Ottoman Genocide against the Aramean, Greek and Armenian populations during World War I. Signed by a number of organizations, the text was drafted on 7 March 2015 in Gütersloh, Germany, at The Third Aramean Congress titled "SAYFO 1915-2015 and the Aramean Identity" that was organized by the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) and the Federation of Arameans in Germany. Afterwards, a live program was held on Suryoyo Sat, the Aramaic-speaking satellite channel. 

 Click here for the German originalclick here for the English PDF version

 

 

Urgent Appeal to the Federal German Government:

Recognition of the Aramean Genocide after 100 Years!

 

Do not leave the restoration of the victims’ dignity up to a regime, which is not ready to assume responsibility.

The overwhelming amount of facts, expressed in numerous scientific researches, studies and projects, speak a very clear language: The genocide against the Arameans, Armenians and Greeks is a historical fact.

We, the undersigned Aramean organizations, call upon the Federal German Government to finally officially acknowledge the genocide against the Christian minorities of the Arameans, Armenians and Greeks in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923, and thus finally end the century-long distortion and denial of a historical fact. Your silence and non-recognition of the genocide are strengthening the Turkish State in its irresponsible dealing with its history, and are also insulting the victims and their descendants.

  • Open your eyes for the historical facts; open your heart for the suffering of the victims and their descendants; open your conscience to the violated dignity of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
  • By not recognizing the historical facts, by using relative terms and euphemisms, you are strengthening the Turkish State in its unyielding position towards the descendants of the victims, who until today are suffering from state-organized accusations, marginalization and persecution.
  • Be an active partner of the victims in the reconciliation process between the descendants of the victims and the perpetrators, and no “accomplice” in a system that prefers state persecution over sincere state responsibility.
  • Today, 100 years later, the Turkish authorities are still unyieldingly persecuting the descendants of the victims in Turkey and all over the world, whenever they break the silence that has been prescribed by the state. Align yourselves with these victims and leave the alliance consisting of deniers, liars and hypocrites who are withholding the victims the right to adequately esteem their suffering.
  • Now, 100 years later, the time has come for the Federal Republic of Germany to demonstrate responsibility and solidarity, and to join the countries that do not shrink from reminding Turkey of its responsibility towards the victims and their descendants.
  • Help a State, which since a century suppresses its responsibility, to finally assume responsibility and act responsibly.
  • Today, 100 years after a state-organized murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, you are called upon to help the victims to regain their dignity!


Gütersloh, Germany
10 March 2015 
The signatories

 
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• WCA – World Council of Arameans [Syriacs]
• BVDAD – Bundesverband der Aramäer in Deutschland
• Föderation der Aramäer in der Schweiz/Federazione degli Aramei in Svizzera
• Suryoye Aramese Federatie Nederland
• Fédération des Araméens de Belgique
• Aramaic Christian Organization in Israel
• Syriac Federation of Sweden
• Syriac Association of Australia
• Aramaic American Association
• Aramean Association of the United Kingdom
• Syriac Association of Vienna/Austria
• Youth Federation of Arameans in Sweden
• Kreis Aramäischer Studierender Heidelberg
• Nisibin – Stiftung für Aramäische Studien
• Suryoyo Sat International
• Suryoyo Sat Germany
• Suryoyo Sat Sweden
• Suryoyo Sat Holland
• Suryoyo Sat Belgium
• Suryoyo Sat Switzerland
• Lebnon Network
• Sayfo Comité 1915
• Aramaic Charity Organization
• Aramese Beweging voor Mensenrechten
• Aramean Democratic Organization in Sweden

 

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 LIVE PROGRAM ON SURYOYO SAT 

 

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Aramean (Syriac) people seek recognition from Turkey at United Nations in Geneva

Amsterdam, 23 January 2015

Click here to download the press release
Scroll down for the program

This year marks the 100th commemoration of the Ottoman genocide against Turkey’s Armenian, Greek and Aramean populations. These nations still struggle for recognition of these crimes against humanity, while the Arameans continue an additional struggle for survival and for the recognition of their very existence as a people. Towards this end, the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”) invites you to the following side event, which takes place one day before Turkey’s Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations:

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

The WCA draws your urgent attention to the position of the Aramean people of Southeast Turkey, where they have a demonstrable presence of more than 3,000 years. As indigenous people who are now endangered in their ancient homeland, they rightfully seek their minority rights protections, undifferentiated from the protections afforded to other minorities and native peoples of the world.

Last year, in September, Israel would pride itself as the first country in the world to recognize the Aramean people. Turkey, however, still seems to be reluctant in acknowledging its Aramean citizens and in securing their future and cultural heritage. Turkey’s Arameans have never enjoyed their basic human rights, but were always subjected to discrimination and various forms of oppression and persecution. The unbearable situation in earlier decades would result in a mass exodus.

Today only 3.000 Arameans are left in Southeast Turkey, while 250.000 live throughout Europe. More and more Arameans are sick and tired of the screaming silence on these matters of injustice. They are chiefly concerned about the neglected issue of land theft by the state and local feudal lords. They want to be heard by the international community and the truth to emerge and prevail.

Therefore, the WCA has invited distinguished speakers to discuss Turkey’s reluctance to help and recognize its Aramean citizens. On the one hand, ongoing problems and obstacles will be outlined. On the other hand, recommendations, potential solutions and opportunities will be emphasized.

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).

The WCA, until recently called the Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA), is an NGO in Special Consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 1999. It is the leading voice of the Aramean (Syriac) people who are native to Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

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

 

 

PROGRAM

12:00 - 12:10

Opening by Moderator Mr. Johny Messo, President of the 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 Mr. Johny Messo, President World Council of Arameans (Syriacs)

 

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SYRIA’S KIDNAPPED CHURCH LEADERS STILL MISSING AFTER ONE YEAR

Today exactly one year ago, on 22 April 2013, the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, H.E. Gregorius Hanna Ibrahim, and H.E. Boulos al-Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and Iskenderun, were abducted by a rebel group near the Turkish-Syrian border. Their car was intercepted and the Aramean driver was shot dead, during or after the attack.

Click here to download the article in PDF

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Syria's Maaloula Again Besieged: Nuns Kidnapped

Press Release

After the recent attacks by militant Islamic forces against the ancient Aramean towns of Maaloula and al-Raqqa, the world recently witnessed another organized assault against the Biblical towns of Sadad and Hafar. Sadly Maaloula is again the target of the Syrian rebel forces as they aim fire at innocent indigenous Christians and their lands, seemingly with the goal of expunging Syria’s Christian population from their homeland.

Click here to download the Press Release

On 4 September, Jubhat al-Nusra, a terrorist group associated with Al-Qaeda in Syria, had violently entered Maaloula, killing a number of innocent Christians and destroying the town’s historic buildings. At the time, many of the Christians of Maaloula were told by the rebels that they had to convert to Islam or face death, thereby forcing some 3,000 civilians to escape from Maaloula in order to save their lives and those of their families. A month later, seven militant rebel groups joined forces in laying siege on the Biblical town of Sadad. Before the Syrian Army liberated Sadad, Jubhat al-Nusra and the Katibat al-Mahawer brigade of the Free Syrian Army held 1,500 Aramean Christian families hostage for a full week and used them as human shields. Hostages included defenceless women and children and many deaths of the innocent resulted.

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Syrias Maaloula Again Besieged: Nuns Kidnapped

Press Release

After the recent attacks by militant Islamic forces against the ancient Aramean towns of Maaloula and al-Raqqa, the world recently witnessed another organized assault against the Biblical towns of Sadad and Hafar. Sadly Maaloula is again the target of the Syrian rebel forces as they aim fire at innocent indigenous Christians and their lands, seemingly with the goal of expunging Syria’s Christian population from their homeland.

Click here to download the Press Release

On 4 September, Jubhat al-Nusra, a terrorist group associated with Al-Qaeda in Syria, had violently entered Ma’loula, killing a number of innocent Christians and destroying the town’s historic buildings. At the time, many of the Christians of Maaloula were told by the rebels that they had to convert to Islam or face death, thereby forcing some 3,000 civilians to escape from Maaloula in order to save their lives and those of their families. A month later, seven militant rebel groups joined forces in laying siege on the Biblical town of Sadad. Before the Syrian Army liberated Sadad, Jubhat al-Nusra and the Katibat al-Mahawer brigade of the Free Syrian Army held 1,500 Aramean Christian families hostage for a full week and used them as human shields. Hostages included defenceless women and children and many deaths of the innocent resulted.

 

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