As part of its intensive campaign to promote the Assyrian cause on the national and international level, a delegation of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) and the Assyrian Australian National Federation (AANF) attended the 2017 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)-NGO forum on Human Rights that was held on Thursday 9 February 2017, at the Australian National Museum in Canberra.
The Assyrian Universal Alliance was made up of Mr Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General of the AUA and Mr David David, President of the AANF. Also in attendance was Ms Elizabeth Kendal representing Christian Faith & Freedom and a representative from the Coptic community
During the meeting, Mr Shahen raised the question of the indigenous Assyrians of Iraq and Syria who are systematically deprived of their basic human rights endangering their survival in the region. He added that Assyrians are increasingly becoming the target of both ethnic and religious attacks since the U.S.-led invasion and the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003.
On his final note he mentioned that ISIL is clearly participating in a conspiracy to destroy a national, racial and religious group. Undertaking an attack against life, liberty or property of members of any group makes them guilty of the crime of genocide. He asked the government of Australia to internationally condemn these acts of terrorism by ISIL, and to acknowledge that these acts of terrorism are acts of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Assyrians, the indigenous and original people of Iraq and their cultural heritage. He also asked that Australia assist the Assyrian nation’s needs for the establishment of a self-governed safe haven in the Assyrian heartland in Northern Iraq (between the Upper Zap and Tigris Rivers) for the Assyrian Christians, Yezidis and other persecuted minorities, so that they can live in peace and security, where they can practice their religion, culture and language in freedom with human dignity, and to safeguard their ancient heritage, history, architecture, churches and sacred land.
Mr Shahen also presented a submission on behalf of the AUA and the AANF to the Chairman of the Forum on Human Rights.
The meeting was attended by the Hon Julie Bishop MP , Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General Senator George Brandis . For more information about the Minister’s speech please follow the link: http://foreignminister.gov.au/speeches/Pages/2017/jb_sp_170209.aspx
Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australian Chapter