Addressed to: AUA Members, AUA followers, AUA supporters, AUA friends and all other interested parties. Sydney – 28 September 2020 Background Information Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) was established in 1968, and it soon became the beacon of hope for Assyrians to fulfil their dream, to be recognised internationally as a free people; and at long last live without fear of capitulating to those aiming to eliminate Assyrians from existence.
The Australian Chapter of AUA was formed by a group of Assyrians who were the Assyrian pioneers arriving Australia in search of a better environment in which to raise their families, without the oppression they experienced in the Middle East.
Since the formation and wide recognition of AUA, Australian Chapter, in pursuit of justice for its people, commenced its calls and appeals to the civilised world, to advance the Assyrian cause, and prevent the Assyrian nation from extinction. This included requesting an end to continued genocides committed against Assyrians and exposing countries which instigated such inhumane acts and heinous crimes in the past.
In 2014, AUA was constitutionally required to hold its congress at which it would also elect a new executive board and a new Secretary General to replace Mr Yonatan Betkolia. Such a constitutionally valid congress did not take place in 2014 and has not taken place since.
The failure to comply with the constitution in calling a congress and for no justifiable reason other than an ineffective leadership, inevitably resulted in all AUA chapters becoming neutralized, thereby operating in each country under the AUA name, acting independently in their respective chapters and regions .
AUA Australian chapter, as well as members of the Board of Advisors attempted on numerous occasions over the last 7 years to remedy the referenced unconstitutional breaches, including through mediation and by constant offering of advice to the previously elected Secretary General, Mr. Yonathan Betkolia and his supporters in the USA particularly of the importance of working within the framework of the AUA constitution. Regrettably, such endeavours were to no avail.
Notwithstanding the above, the previous Secretary General continued to assume his role unconstitutionally after 2014 and became a self-proclaimed leader of AUA.
In the meantime, AUA in Australia moved forward with its strategic initiatives, by becoming proactive in promoting the Assyrian national cause to a number of nations interested in the Assyrian revival. One of the nations which AUA has long established formal communication with are the representatives in Australia of Israel. AUA representatives from Australia went to Israel in November 2019 on a good will mission, to attend a conference of the revival of Assyrian language and to acquire knowledge which may help the fulfilment of Assyrian vision and mission so that one day, like the children of Israel, Assyrians will be able to return to our ancestral homeland as a free and autonomous Nation.
In August 2020, the self-proclaimed leader of AUA in Iran, Mr. Yonatan Betkolia, published an article in an Iranian official Newspaper, under false pretence of being the leader of AUA , and using his previous position in the Iranian parliament, by condemning and falsely accusing Mr Hermiz Shahen and Mr David David of being traitors due to their travel to Israel and by dealing with “Zionists” who he accused of being the worst violators of human rights responsible for the killing of Palestinian children and people.
This betraying and discriminative act by Mr. Yonathan Betkolia has unfortunately resulted in the AUA Australian Chapter to make this declaration, to all AUA members and all other interested parties, and to provide an update on this matter and to clarify profoundly its position on the direction taken to promote its strategic initiatives to achieve its ultimate objectives.
Issues and Concerns
The primary issues and concerns are as follows:
Ø Yonathan Betkolia is an Assyrian Iranian national residing in Iran. He acted against the leadership of AUA in Australia and against Israel posing threats to:
o AUA Leadership in Australia.
o AUA members and supporters; and
o Israeli and Australian nationals whom he mentioned publicly in the major Iranian newspaper, including Mr Hermiz Shahen and Mr David David.
Ø Yonathan Betkolia made continuous unfounded accusations jeopardising the safety and security of the AUA leadership in Australia, AUA supporters in Australia and overseas.
Ø The situation has become even more deplorable because Yonathan Betkolia, used the role of Secretary General (SG) of the AUA, a position which he does not constitutionally hold, and his power and influence as a former member in the Iranian Islamic parliament, issuing a false statement in an official newspaper. His decision to suspend Hermiz Shahen, and David David, obliterated the reputation of an Iranian official government’s journal with a fake script; and as such threatening the safety and security of the Regional Secretary of the AUA in Australia and New Zealand. By his action Mr Betkolia also implicated Iran into this matter, a politically reckless conduct.
Ø Yonathan Betkolia has now placed AUA at the mercy of the mullahs in Iran, having described the AUA leadership in Australia in the most degrading manner inferring that Mr Hermiz Shahen and Mr David David are acting against Iran, an action which inevitably resulted in the AUA leadership in Australia to believe that he is requiring the Islamic government of Iran to punish them.
Ø Notwithstanding the above, Mr Hermiz Shahen and various members of the Board of Advisors, including three former secretary generals of AUA, forwarded letters to Mr Betkolia requesting him to withdraw the decision of suspension simply because he had no such authority as a secretary general whose term had long expired under the constitution and that in any event the purported suspension was on all grounds unconstitutional and invalid.
It has become evident that AUA in Iran is not performing in accordance with the aims and guiding principles upon which AUA was established. And Mr. Betkolia has continued working on his tarnished agenda in collaboration with just a few people, from within the AUA committee, who continue supporting his plans to serve their own personal interests.
AUA in Australian has worked tirelessly to successfully promote and advance the Assyrian cause in Australia and abroad, despite the obstructions and difficulties encountered due to the absence of the AUA leadership, including the unorthodox interferences by the self-proclaimed Secretary General residing in Iran who until April 2020 also served as a member of Parliament in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It should also be noted that members of AUA in Australia have performed all their work voluntarily without remuneration or any form of benefits or self-interest.
Conclusion and Remedial action by AUA in Australia
AUA in Australia is compelled to continue with its work to safeguard the interest of the Assyrian Nation, objectively and independently, without hindrances by Yonathan Betkolia and his followers or anyone who seeks to stifle its efforts.
In consideration of the above, AUA Australian Chapter met and resolved the future of this Chapter. The unanimous decision was that AUA in Australian, based on the invalid suspension of Mr Hermiz Shahen and Mr David David, and the absolute refusal by Mr Yonatan Betkolia to withdraw the said purported suspension, the AUA Australia Chapter will continue to operate as is, namely as AUA Australia Chapter, but disassociated from Mr Yonathan Betkolia and his unconstitutional function, independently and in collaboration with all willing and amiable AUA branches and affiliates in other countries.
The summary of the reasons to reach such an important decision are as follows:
Yonathan Betkolia has considered Iranian interests and Influence in the organization more important than that of Assyrian Interests.
Yonathan Betkolia has continuously made Anti-Semitic and anti- American statements which we very emphatically deplore and object to and do not allow in AUA.
Yonathan Betkolia is supported by some members of the Executive board of AUA who are acting unconstitutionally by being committed for years to Yonathan Betkolia, to keep him in his position of Secretary General without election.
Yonathan Betkolia has worked tirelessly to unsuccessfully keep AUA close to Islamic Republic of Iran and bound by its policies;
Yonathan Betkolia suspended all effective political activities of the AUA for the past eleven years limiting them to matters pertaining to his own program in Iran as a representative in the Iranian Parliament, even though it officially ended in April 2020;
Yonathan Betkolia removed all traces of crimes of genocide against the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks from the AUA website centred in the USA, to hide the truth about the killing of millions of innocent human beings on the hands of the Turks, Iranians, Kurds and the Arabs of Iraq over the past 200 years;
AUA in Australia will therefore continue working nationally and internationally under the AUA banner and constitution, and will collaborate with all the AUA past and present members who are willing to:
support the works of AUA organization in Australia.
establish a committee to revitalize AUA worldwide to work for the benefit of the Assyrian Nation; and
review the AUA constitution and thus work towards appropriate amendments to the constitution which will suitably govern the AUA structure in a clear democratic manner with objectives that comply with democratic principles set out in the United Nations framework for democracy.
Finally, and due to a well-founded fear that the article published by Mr Betkolia in the Iranian Newspaper may incite threat and violence upon members of the AUA in Australia, this matter has been reported to the Australian Federal Police and other governmental agencies of interest who have received the report with much seriousness.
Hermiz Shahen; and
For and on behalf of the Assyrian Universal Alliance in Australia