image0012.jpgMember: Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization (UNPO)

7th August 2008-07-09 Parliament House

Address by Mr. Hermiz Shahen , Secretary of the Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australian Chapter

On behalf of my colleagues, the Board members of the Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australia chapter, It gives me a great pleasure and honour to welcome you all to this sacred day of commemoration, when Assyrians around the world gather to remember their Martyrs. We are deeply honoured to have you with us, and I am so pleased to see such an impressive turnout of people who care about the just struggle of the oppressed nations such as that of the Assyrian nation.

I would like to thank most sincerely the Assyrian Church of the East for their great contribution and support and the Hon. David Clark MLC. for his assistance to hold the commemoration in this esteemed location and for taking the initiative to present the Assyrian Universal Alliance resolution in the State parliament of NSW for recognition of the Assyrian Genocide. I am thankful for the presence of representatives from both Federal and State Governments, I also thank our main speakers for their courageous stand which is disseminated throughout the world to fight the evil of genocide; particularly I would like to welcome Mr. Sabri Atman our scholar from the Netherlands.

The history of the First World War brings memories of one of the worst policies of systematic genocide conducted against the Assyrians. It almost eliminated the presence of all the Christians living in Anatolia – the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks. By 1918, more than half a million Assyrian martyrs of different denominations had fallen victim to acts of genocide conducted by the Ottoman Turks and their servant Kurds

Leaders who have the interest of their nations at heart understand that a safer world has a direct benefit to the prosperity of their countries. In the 21st Century, a vision for a safer and prosperous world cannot overlook the importance of human rights. And I put to you that there can not be a more important issue, or a more binding obligation, other than to prevent genocide, which is a most perverse form of crime against humanity. The true test of a civilised world, or a civilised nation, is in its effectiveness to protect the most vulnerable.

The 7th of August has been designated, by the Assyrian Universal Alliance, as a memorial day for Assyrian Martyrs slaughtered at the hands of the Turkish army during World War One and those who were cruelly Martyred by the Iraqi Army in August 1933, one year after Iraq declared its independence. this Memorial Day does not only remember a dark time in our nation’s history, it speaks also of what is occurring today – and calls for a just intervention by all people and nations who value humanity.

Amnesty International’s recent report reveals terrifying stories of hundred of thousands of Assyrian refugees forced out of Iraq after the so called “Liberation” of Iraq and its adoption of an ugly caricature of “Democracy”.

The International powers who are helping to determine the future shape of the region of Iraq have not heeded the dire humanitarian crisis faced by the Assyrians. The UN’s silence on the plight of the Assyrian nation, is shocking to our nation?

In our refugee communities around the world, we have Assyrians who were alive to see the atrocities committed against our people in 1915 and 1933. We have lost our Assyrian brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, our families have been torn apart and for those who have been fortunate enough to survive, their families have been scattered across the globe.

These are victims whose hopes and dreams were cut off in their forefather’s lands simply because of their Christian religion and Assyrian ethnicity. Our Martyrs cry out for justice before God in heaven and we cry our on their behalf before the nations of the world.

We invite The State Parliament of New South Wales to recognise and condemn the genocidal massacres committed against the Assyrian people. We invite international humanitarian institutions to pressure Turkey to acknowledge and apologise for the atrocities they committed in 1915 against the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks. I am confident that our excellent speakers here today will help us articulate further on this humanitarian issue.

Let us do what is just for the sake of our humanity, which is incumbent of true leadership with a vision for peace and prosperity.
Glory and honour to our Assyrian martyrs

PO Box 34, Fairfield NSW 1860 Australia.