Assyrians have a voice

FAIRFIELD’S Assyrian community will now have a voice in parliament following the establishment of the Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Election of a board for the group, which was conceived by the Assyrian Universal Alliance, took place last week at NSW Parliament.

Smithfield MP Andrew Rohan was elected the group’s chairman.

Fairfield MP Guy Zangari will serve as deputy chairman and David Clarke MLC was elected second deputy.

“Assyrian people in Fairfield have a lot of issues that we need to work closely with the state government to address,” Hermiz Shahen, deputy secretary general for the Assyrian Universal Alliance, said.

“One of these is to raise the profile of the Assyrian community so people know who we are and know our contribution to Australian society.”

The group will be responsible for advocating for the Assyrian community in western Sydney by working with state MPs.

It will also serve to address the plight of Assyrian people in the Middle East, particularly Iraq.

“These atrocities our people are facing in the Middle East are ongoing,” Mr Shahen said.

“We have refugees in surrounding countries and this is something we want to communicate so we can assist these people.”

Mr Shahen said the group would also act as a forum that could lobby federal politicians and other agencies for assistance.

He said regular meetings would give Fairfield residents of Assyrian descent an avenue to voice their concerns.

“This will bring an element of harmony between members of parliament and the community,” Mr Shahen said.