Sydney – 16 October, 2015
The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) – Australian Chapter is pleased to announce the first meeting of the Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group took place on Thursday, 15th October, 2015 , in the Parliament of New South Wales. Members from upper and lower houses of the Parliament attended this meeting along with representatives from many Assyrian organisations in Sydney. The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) delegates included Mr. Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General of the AUA, Mr. David M. David, Regional Secretary of the AUA for Australia and New Zealand, Mr Ninos Aaron Chairman of the Young Assyrians of AUA and our guests from the Iraq, Mrs Galita Jaji, leader of Entity of Abnaa Al Nahrein an Assyrian Political organization based in Iraq, and Mr Essam Youkhana.
The meeting was called to order by Mrs Tanya Davies MP, the new chair of the Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group along with both co-chairs: Dr Hugh McDermott, MP and The Hon. David Clarke MLC. Also in attendance were Mr. Guy Zingari MP and the Hon Fred Nile MLC.
Mr. Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, welcomed the attendees and thanked Mrs Tanya Davies MP and wished her all success as the new chairperson. Mr. Shahen spoke about the tragedies facing Assyrians and other Christian minorities in Iraq Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, saying “the new Iraq, from the time of its liberation, has been a nightmare and has witnessed a huge exodus of Christians in general.”
“The war in Syria is growing increasingly worse every day, and it is affecting every Syrian citizen, regardless of ethnicity or religion. The so called Islamic State (Daash) has grown in strength and extent to now control much of Iraq and Syria, displacing several million people in the wake of its violent spread throughout the region. Specifically, ‘Daash’ targets the Assyrian people and other religious and ethnic minorities in the region with acts of ethnic cleansing. Assyrians, have been forced out of their home and ancestral land of Mosul and the Nineveh Plains in Iraq. 35 Assyrian villages stretching 80 kilometres on the Khabour River in northeast Syria have been attacked, looted and forcefully emptied of their inhabitants. At least 20 Assyrian guards were killed defending their villages. More than 250 Assyrians, mainly women and children were taken hostage from those villages. Just recently, three of those hostages were executed by ISIS on September 23, 2015.” Mr Shahen said
“Assyrians all over the world are calling for the immediate intervention of the United Nations, the international community including the Australian government to endorse the establishment of a selfgoverned safe haven, protected by the International community in the Assyrian heartland in support of the indigenous Christian Assyrians and many other ethnic and religious minorities fleeing the sectarian conflict.” He said.
Mrs Galita Jaji asserted the need for urgent action to the escalating developments in Iraq due to the seizure of many cities including the city of Mosul and its surrounding towns in the Nineveh plains. “The Islamic State (IS) has brought a humanitarian disaster to the Christian Assyrians and other minorities in the region.” She stressed. Mrs Jaji implored the Australian government, the United Nations, and the international community to endorse and to assist in the establishment of a self-administered safe haven in Northern Iraq. This support of the indigenous Assyrians would stop the exodus spurred by sectarian conflicts in Iraq. Mrs Jaji stressed that a first step to the establishment of a self-administered safe haven would be the deployment of international forces to secure the area and ensure the safe return of Assyrians to their homes in the Nineveh Plains and Mosul.
Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australia and New Zealand Region PO Box 34, Fairfield NSW 1860 Australia.
For more information please contact Mr. Shahen on 0407235349