In Moscow on 12 February, during the press conference with the head of the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a question was raised concerning the rights of national minorities in Iraq. Joseph Zaya, Vice President of Russian Regional National Cultural Autonomy of Assyrians, stressed that Assyrians, Syrians and Chaldeans are in great need of a special security zone (Â«Safe HeavenÂ») – Autonomy in Nineveh plains.
The head of the Russian Assyrian autonomy did not agree with the assessment of the Minister that the situation in Iraq stabilized, noting a deterioration of the largest national minority of Iraq – Assyrian (Chaldean, Syrian) Christians. J.Zaya also noted that only the territorial autonomy could be a guarantee of the preservation of the indigenous people of Iraq.
The head of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari escaped from the direct answer, saying that “in Iraq there is no discrimination against minorities, including Christians, whose rights are constitutionally guaranteed. The Minister also said that “not only Christians face violence, but all the representatives of the Iraqi people, although he agreed that Assyrian Christians are forced to flee the country”.
At the end of the press conference I. Zaya handed a petition to protect the rights of Assyrian Christians, which contained the demands for autonomy and the demands to proclaim the Assyrian language as one of the national languages, also the right for Iraqi citizenship for all Assyrians around the world and the installation of Human rights commissioner for non-Muslim minorities, who would regular monitor the situation with Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syrians, Armenians, Yezidis, Mandaeans.
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