Syriacs Demand to be Included in Iraqi Constitution to Secure their Future in Post-ISIS Era

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The indigenous Syriacs (Arameans) of Iraq are deeply concerned about their rights and future in their ancestral land. The Nineveh Plain is close to be reconquered from ISIS, but the Syriacs fear to return home without international protection. The first step to ensure their future in their homeland begins with granting them recognition in Article 125 of the Iraqi Constitution.

Without constitutional recognition, the Syriacs have no legal existence. In addition, the present ID Card even forces them to adopt an identity that is foreign to them, such as Arab, Turkmen, Chaldean or Assyrian. With the lack of a legal status in their native country and the reconquest of the Nineveh Plain in sight, there is a risk that Iraq may lose a critical component of its ancient ethno-religious mosaic.

“This absence of appreciation, acknowledgment and support does not promise much good. Our people are seriously concerned about their future in the homeland and it has led to angry reactions from hundreds of thousands of Arameans in and beyond Iraq who refuse to identify themselves other than Syriacs or Arameans. The WCA urgently appeals to Iraq’s lawmakers to make constitutional amendments and offer the Syriacs perspectives in Iraq’s post-ISIS period,” emphasizes the President of the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs (“WCA”)), Johny Messo.

The Chaldean and Assyrian politicians who were part of the committee that was responsible for the constitutional changes also failed to represent the interests of Iraq’s Syriac Christians. Yesterday, the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Sako, leader of Iraq’s largest Christian community, expressed written support for the demand of the Syriacs, who represent the second-largest Christian group in Iraq.

The WCA calls upon Iraqi lawmakers to rectify this issue without further delay in order to put an end to the ongoing exclusion of the Syriacs from the constitution. The answer to this appeal is critical. They can show that they really care about protecting the right of existence of the Syriacs in their homeland and save Iraq’s rich multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-linguistic heritage, of which the Syriac (Aramean) Christians and their Syriac (Aramaic) language are an ancient but threatened representative.