PRESS RELEASE Meeting with Minister for Immigration 29 October 2015

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Sydney – 30 October 2015
On Thursday 29th October 2015, a meeting was organised upon request of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) with The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. The delegation included Mr Hermiz Shahen, the Deputy Secretary General of the AUA, Mr. David M. David, President of the Assyrian Australian National Federation (AANF), Mr Paul Azzo, Senior advisor of the (AUA) and Mrs. Carmen Lazar OAM, Manager and Community Settlement Officer, Assyrian Resource Centre- Assyrian Australian Association.

Mr. Shahen congratulated the Minister on his new appointment and expressed the AUA’s sincere gratitude for the magnificent and tireless efforts by the Australian government in the process of helping the Assyrian refugees stranded in neighbouring countries of Iraq and Syria. He also thanked the Australian government for their decision to bring 12000 Asylum seekers from the persecuted minorities to Australia. He briefed the minister with the latest developments in Iraq and Syria, the neglect of the Assyrian question, the waging of sectarian violence and systematic ethno-religious cleansing that is being instigated by Islamic extremists against the entire Christian population, who is fleeing en masse from threats, kidnappings, rapes and murders.

“As a matter of urgency and importance, we called upon the Australian government to take immediate action and institute lasting measures to address the major humanitarian crisis suffered by the Assyrian refugees. We requested emergency assistance such as food, shelters, education, health care facilities and legal documents for the internally displaced Iraqi and Syrian Assyrians in order to improve their living conditions” Mr. Shahen said.

“An official letter and some detailed reports were handed to the minister concerning the situation of Assyrian refugees and a mounting number of threats facing the Iraqi and Syrian Assyrians”, he said.

Mrs Carmen Lazar, informed the Minister about the round table discussion with the former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. This event was held on the 9th of September 2015 at the Parliament House located in Canberra. In relation to working collaboratively with the Australian Government, to supply UNHCR registration numbers and contact details of refugees currently seeking refuge with in the neighboring countries of the Middle East. Mrs Lazar inquired about the outcome as the Community are waiting anxiously to hear. The Minister stated that it will take some time for the processing of the applications to take place however; we are looking forward to welcoming a number of refugees before Christmas this year and the following year of 2016.

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