Member: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)



Member: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)


Sydney – 2nd June, 2009

image003.jpgUnder the theme of “Support the prerequisites demands of the Assyrian people of Iraq for an Autonomous Status in the Assyria region and demands of safe return of all Assyrian refugees to this established Assyria Region” the 26th World congress of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) concluded its meetings that lasted from May 20 -24, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. A total of 60 delegates representing different countries such as Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Russia, USA, Europe and Australia took part in this congress that was chaired by Dr. Wilson Bet Mansour, member of the AUA Advisory Board.

image004.jpgMr. Nenos Khoshaba MP, the State member of Smithfield, was the honorable host for the official opening held at New South Wales (NSW) Parliament House in Sydney on May 20, 2009. The conference room was full with more than its capacity of 200 audiences. About 25 members of Parliament attended this opening including the Premier of NSW the Hon. Nathan Rees MP, Senator Helen Coonan, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Senator Doug Cameron, H.E. Ghanim Taha Al-Shibli (the Iraqi Ambassador and the Iranian Ambassador, H.E. Mahmoud Movahhedi. Also among the guests were representative of Mr. Michel Aoun, leader of the Lebanese Free National Movement.

Media representatives from Ishtar TV, Mr. Mwafaq Sawa from Al-Iraqia Newspaper and Mr. Tony Alkazzi from El-Telegraph newspaper were in attendance. Master of Ceremony was Miss Edora David.

image005.jpgMr. Nenos Khoshaba MP, welcomed all the official guests followed by remarkable speech by his Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia, Archbishop of the Assyrian Church of the East. Miss Eilona Betkolia presented her speech on behalf of the AUA Youth from USA. The Hon. Yonathan Betkolia, Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance and Member of the Iranian Parliament started his speech by welcoming all the guests and declaring the official opening of the congress. Mr. Betkolia thanked the Australian government for their continued support to the Assyrian community and for opening their doors for the congress to be held in Sydney. He also thanked the Assyrian community in Australia for their great support and congratulated the Assyrian Universal Alliance Australian Chapter for their tireless contributions in organizing this congress. Mr. Betkolia urged all the official guests to support the Assyrian demand for an autonomous region in their ancestral land of Iraq.

Mr. Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, in his lengthy speech mentioned that Assyrians’ future in Iraq is dependent on freedom loving countries taking effective measures to resolve our case at an international level. He also requested the support for the rightful demand of Assyrians for a demarcated geographical autonomous region in their ancestral homeland in Northern Iraq. Mr. Shahen asked members of Parliament and Senate to lobby for plans to protect Assyrians and to participate in raising the AUA’s appeal on to State, Federal and/or Senate.

image006.jpgThere were many speeches during the evening by members of parliament supporting the Assyrian demand for autonomous region in Iraq and endorsing the AUA appeal. The Iraqi Ambassador said during his speech that;” one of the most significant tasks for our government is to get our people back home; The Assyrian people in Iraq are one of the most important component of the Iraqi social and political history, they are indeed the people of Mesopotamia; we are proud of the Assyrian community and expect to be vital player in the new democratic Iraq; the last visit of the Prime Minister of Iraq; Nouri Al-Maliki, I would like to stress that as the Senator was saying , Al-Maliki was approached by the Leader of the Opposition on the Assyrian issue , The Prime Minister was very receptive . The Ambassador continued by saying; you are part of Iraq let us work closer”.

The Iranian Ambassador mentioned in his speech that the Assyrians are a great prominent and civilized nation ; “Assyrian contributed a great deal of the formation of the cultural identity and civilization of Iran . Although the number of Assyrian is low but they were allocated a seat in parliament; fortunately the seat has been taken by Mr. Betkolia , who is very respectful and lovable between the people and the government of Iran. On his final remarks he mentioned that; it is not exaggeration if we recognise Iran as a real homeland for all Assyrians of the world” .

During the special award presentation session, Mr. Shahen said “what makes everyone rejoice to be an Australian citizen is the fact that Australia is open to people of all races, colours and beliefs. As Australians, we share the freedom to be who we are, freedom to stand together as proud Australians, while enjoying the liberty to celebrate our individual cultures that help our various communities to prosper and grow.”

Mr. Shahen showed his gratitude to many friends in the Senate, Federal, State and Local government whom for the past 6 years have helped the AUA and Assyrian cause by presenting our case to the Australian government. The AUA Australian chapter called on Mr. Betkolia to present the awards on their behalf to the Hon. Chris Bowen MP, Mr. Nenos Khoshaba MP, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, the Hon. David Clarke MLC and to Rev. Fred Nile MLC. Mr. Shahen then called on His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia to present a special award to Mr. Paul Azzo for his continued support to the Assyrian Universal Alliance and for his extensive efforts and activities to bring the Assyrian community closer to the Australian Federal and State governments.

The Assyrian Universal Alliance meetings continued for three days to conclude on 24th May 2009, with major discussion about supporting the demands of the Assyrians in Iraq and to intensify their lobby and campaign internationally. A resolution was issued at the conclusion of the congress that calls upon many countries in the Middle East and international community to support the Assyrians demands for autonomous region.

To view the AUA resolutions please visit the following address:

Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australian Chapter
PO Box 34, Fairfield NSW 1860 Australia.